Over 60 years ago, DC-3s landed regularly at the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in South Carolina. Their mission was to safely transport commercial airline passengers to their destination of choice. DC-3s have
been doing just that since 1936 when American Airlines convinced Douglas Aircraft to increase the size of their DC-2, which held 14 passengers, to accommodate 21 in a newly designed DC-3. This allowed American to feasibly fly enough passengers so that the funds from these fares would generate enough income to justify the flight without having to rely on income from the government's air mail service. Before World War II most commercial air travelers flew in DC-3s.
During WWII, the DC-3 was equipped with a larger cargo door and stronger landing gear so they could be used in military missions. The Army called their altered version a C-47, and the Navy a R4D. After WWII many C-47s were seen coming in and out of Greenville Army Air Base. But that was also long ago...
The Flagship Detroit, NC-17334, is the oldest flying DC-3 in the world. It was manufactured in early 1937 and American Airlines accepted delivery of the Detroit on March 2, 1937. American Airlines flew the Detroit in regular passenger service until 1947 at which time it was sold. Since the airplane was not conscripted into military service during World War II, American used this airplane for a considerable amount of print advertising during the early 1940's. Since the Army Air Corps did not have a dedicated airplane for the President during this time, the Detroit had the distinction of carrying Eleanor Roosevelt on several occasions. She always sat in the same seat (the rear seat on the right side, just forward of the entry door) because, it has been said, she always wanted to be the last person boarded and the first person deplaned.
This month Greenville residents will once again see a DC-3 in their sky.
Become a member the Flagship Detroit Foundation, 501(c)3 organization, for just $100 (tax deductible) and you can ride in this historic aircraft. Only 21 seats available on each flight!
The Flagship Detriot DC-3 Is owned and operated by the Flagship Detroit Foundation and is in no way affiliated with American Airlines, Inc. Flagship Detroit Foundation is a non-profit (501c-3) organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of one of the most popular aircraft in American Airlines history. For more information please visit https://www.flagshipdetroit.org/index.htm