The Early Years: 1927-1938

Douglas Aircraft Co. ... Favored by Airlines

The Douglas Co. responded quickly after Boeing could not deliver its Model 247s to Transcontinental and Western Air (later TWA) before the company completed delivery of the transport to the Boeing-owned United Air Lines.

In response to TWA's request for bids for a three-engine transport, Donald Douglas lobbied hard for a twin-engine configuration for the new passenger transport and won. The resulting DC-1 first flew July 1, 1933, and its production version, the DC-2, became the aircraft of choice for many of the world's largest airlines.

In 1935, as Boeing built its four-engine B-17 Flying Fortresses, Douglas began work on its twin-engine B-18 Bolo bombers, based on the DB-1 (Douglas Bomber 1). When World War II began, the USAAF had more Bolos than any other bomber type. Just as Boeing had, Douglas built a giant bomber, the XB-19, which, like the Boeing XB-15, served as an important research aircraft but did not go into production.

A larger derivative of the Bolo was the B-23 Dragon. The Dragons flew anti-submarine patrols. Eighteen became C-67 transports and one was flown by Howard Hughes.

Douglas also built the TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bomber. It was one of the first monoplanes operating from aircraft carriers and had a wing that folded when the aircraft was stored aboard. One hundred TBDs were in service at the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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