New to the collection: Foundation flies Douglas DC-3 for first time

Mar 13, 2013
Courtesy of: James Polivka The Historic Flight Foundation’s DC-3 starts its engines at night at Paine Field.

The Historic Flight Foundation on March 2 launched the inaugural flight of its newest addition.

The nostalgic DC-3 aircraft joins the aircraft museum’s flying collection of military and civilian aircraft from 1927-1957.

The Douglas DC-3 is perhaps the most recognizable propeller-driven airliner in history. More than 16,000 were built and more than 400 remain in commercial service today.

In more than 75 years of flight the DC-3 has carried more passengers, flown more miles, and broken more records than any other airplane in history.

Fully restored, HFF’s DC-3 features a combination of executive-style VIP interior with classic Pan American Airways’ livery, reflecting its varied past.

This DC-3 was built in Long Beach, Calif. by Douglas Aircraft Co. for delivery to the China National Aviation Corporation in August of 1944. It served in the China-Burma-India Theater of World War II, flying critical supplies and personnel across the Himalayas, a route commonly referred to as the “Hump.”

After the war, it flew in China as a regional airliner until the Chinese civil war in 1949. Resolution of a complicated legal battle between the Nationalist and Communist governments allowed its return to the United States in 1953 for conversion to a “Super” DC-3.

It was purchased by the Johnson & Johnson Co. and served as their Chairman’s airplane until 1959. Thus began a series of private ownerships spanning more than 50 years. Following restoration and flight-testing, it was relocated to Historic Flight at Paine Field.

With a full complement of museum supporters on board, the inaugural flight included an orbit around the Space Needle. The plane then flew north over Lake Washington to Husky Stadium and via Lake Union and the locks to Elliott Bay.

For further information about HFF’s DC-3, contact or 425-348-3200.

-Edited by Beacon staff

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