Book review: ‘DC-3: A Legend in her Time’

Can you believe the DC-3 has been around for 75 years? As celebrations for the anniversary take off this year, you can learn all about the history of the airplane through the pages of “DC-3: A Legend in Her Time” by Bruce McAllister.

McAllister, the author of several pictorial aviation history books, brings forth their stories with elegance and style. The DC-3 epic is divided into 17 chapters, which chronicle the airplane’s development, use by airlines in the United States, remote location operations, foreign airline use, military applications, and its use as a gate guard, billboard, and even a vacation home.

The DC-3 was built by Douglas Aircraft Co. during the Golden Age of Aviation, preceded by models DC-1 and DC-2. The DC-3, as we know it today, rolled off the assembly line in 1935. The airplane was created to meet the rigid requirements of the fledgling airline industry. It soon became popular with both pilots and the general public for its reliability and durability. The book details how the aircraft went together in the Douglas factory. Recognizing the public’s apprehension toward flying, Donald Douglas had a sign up in the factory that read “Build it like you are going to fly in it” and his employees took that mandate very seriously. When you look at the photos of the assembly line, the sheer beefiness of the DC-3 comes to the light.

The book also has several photos of the wrecks of DC-3s. What is so remarkable is how intact the airframes are despite the fact the crash was decades ago.

Pilots liked it because in the air it was relatively easy to fly, but on the ground, if there was a crosswind, taxiing took a lot of skill.

The hard-cover book, which has 256 pages and 250 photographs, is a great read and a must have for anyone who is enamored with the DC-3. The book costs about $50 and can be ordered from Amazon or Round Up Press.


  1. says

    I have been a DC-3 pilot for thirty years and I am still flying them

    except for single engine work gross loaded the airplane has always been

    a dream to fly . Really new pilots can get used to the aircraft in no

    time at all. I will definitely buy the book as soon as it comes

    available in my areas. Keep good books coming.

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