DC-2 Commercial Transport

DC-2 Commercial Transport

Historical Snapshot

Inspired by the technical success of the Douglas DC-1, the DC-2 was introduced less than a year after the DC-1’s first flight.

The new plane was similar in shape to the DC-1 but had more powerful engines, was faster and was capable of longer flights. More important, it was two feet longer and could carry two more passengers — 14 instead of 12.

The DC-2 was an instant hit. In its first six months of service, the DC-2 established 19 American speed and distance records. In 1934, TWA put DC-2s on overnight flights from New York to Los Angeles, Calif. Called “The Sky Chief,” the flight left New York at 4 p.m. and, after stops in Chicago, Ill., Kansas City, Mo., and Albuquerque, N.M., arrived in Los Angeles at 7 a.m. For the first time, the air traveler could fly from coast to coast without losing the business day.

The DC-2 was the first Douglas airliner to enter service with an airline outside the United States. In October 1934, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines entered one of its DC-2s in the London-to-Melbourne, Australia, air race. It made every scheduled passenger stop on KLM’s regular 9,000-mile (14,484-kilometer) route (1,000 miles or 1609 kilometers) longer than the official race route), carried mail and even turned back once to pick up a stranded passenger. Even so, the DC-2 finished in second place behind a racing plane built especially for the competition. After that, the DC-2’s reputation was ensured, and it became the airplane of choice for many of the world’s largest airlines.

In 1935, the DC-2 became the first Douglas aircraft to receive the prestigious Collier Trophy for outstanding achievements in flight. Between 1934 and 1937, Douglas built 156 DC-2s at its Santa Monica, Calif., plant.

    DC-2 Commercial Transport

    Technical Specifications

    First flight May 11, 1934
    Wingspan 62 feet
    Length 61 feet 11.75 inches
    Height 16 feet 3.75 inches
    Ceiling 22,450 feet
    Range 1,000 miles
    Weight 18,560 pounds
    Power plant Two 875-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines
    Speed 200 mph
    Accommodation 3 crew, 14 passengers, 3,600 pounds cargo