Douglas DC-2

The Douglas Aircraft Company commenced production of the Douglas DC-2 in 1934.

This twin-engined airliner had a passenger capacity of 14 and was designed to rival the Boeing 247.

The following year, Douglas introduced an enhanced version of the aircraft, known as the DC-3, which went on to become one of the most prosperous aircraft in aviation history.

In the early 1930s, concerns regarding the safety of wooden aircraft structures prompted the United States aviation industry to develop all-metal airliners.

United Airlines was granted exclusive rights to the all-metal twin-engine Boeing 247, while rival TWA issued a specification for an all-metal trimotor.

The Douglas response was considerably more radical.

The prototype DC-1, which first flew on July 1, 1933, featured a robust tapered wing, retractable landing gear, and two 690 hp (515 kW) Wright radial engines driving variable-pitch propellers.

It had a seating capacity of 12 passengers.

The first test flight of the DC-2, which was longer than the DC-1, had more powerful engines, and carried 14 passengers in a 66-inch-wide cabin, was flown by Douglas test pilot Carl Cover on May 11, 1934.

TWA was the launch customer for the DC-2, ordering twenty.

The design impressed American and European airlines, leading to further orders.

Although Fokker had purchased a production license from Douglas for $100,000, no manufacturing was carried out in the Netherlands.

Those intended for European customers, such as KLM, LOT, Swissair, CLS, and LAPE, were purchased via Fokker in the Netherlands, built and flown by Douglas in the US, sea-shipped to Europe with wings and propellers detached, and then erected at airfields by Fokker near the seaport of arrival (e.g. Cherbourg or Rotterdam).

Airspeed Ltd. also obtained a similar license for DC-2s to be delivered in Britain and assigned the company designation Airspeed AS.23.

However, despite reserving a registration for one aircraft, none were built.

The Nakajima Aircraft Company in Japan also obtained a license, but unlike Fokker and Airspeed, Nakajima built five aircraft and assembled at least one Douglas-built aircraft.

A total of 130 civil DC-2s were built, with an additional 62 for the United States military.

In 1935, Don Douglas stated in an article that the DC-2 cost approximately $80,000 (about $1,780,000 in 2022) per aircraft if mass-produced.

Military Variants
Modified DC-2s built for the United States Army Air Corps under several military designations:
(DC-2-153) One aircraft, powered by two 750 hp (560 kW) Wright R-1820-25 radial piston engines, for evaluation as a 14-seat VIP transport aircraft, one built, later used by General Andrews as a flying command post.

Designation for 24 commercial DC-2s impressed at the start of World War II

(DC-2-145) Cargo transport variant of the C-32 powered by two 750 hp (560 kW) Wright R-1820-25 engines, with larger vertical tail surfaces, a reinforced cabin floor and a large cargo door in the aft fuselage, 18 built.

(1x DC-2-173 & 1x DC-2-346) VIP transport for the secretary of war, basically similar to XC-32, later designated C-34, two built.

The first C-33 was modified with a DC-3-style tail section and two Wright R-1820-45 radial piston engines of 975 hp (727 kW) each.
Originally designated C-33A but redesignated as a prototype for C-39 variant, one built.

(DC-2-243) 16-seat passenger variant, a composite of DC-2 and DC-3 components, with C-33 fuselage and wings and DC-3-type tail, centre-section and landing gear.
Powered by two 975 hp (727 kW) Wright R-1820-45 radial piston engines; 35 built.

The sole C-41 was a VIP aircraft for Air Corps Chief Oscar Westover (and his successor Hap Arnold).
Although supplied against a C-39 order it was not a DC-2 derivative but in fact, a DC-3-253 fitted with two 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-21 engines.

(DC-2-267) VIP transport variant of the C-39, powered by two 1,000 hp (750 kW) Wright R-1820-53 radial piston engines of 1,000 hp (746 kW) each, one built in 1939 for the commanding general, GHQ Air Force, plus two similarly converted C-39s with their cargo doors bolted shut were converted in 1943.

(3 x DC-2-125 & 2x DC-2-142) 710 hp (530 kW) Wright R-1820-12-powered transport similar to the XC-32, three built for the United States Navy and two for the United States Marine Corps.
14 passengers
61 ft 11.75 in (18.8913 m)
85 ft 0 in (25.91 m)
16 ft 3.75 in (4.9721 m)
Wing area
939 sq ft (87.2 m2)
NACA 2215
NACA 2209
Empty weight
12,408 lb (5,628 kg)
Gross weight
18,560 lb (8,419 kg)
2 × Wright GR-1820-F52 Cyclone 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine,
775 hp (578 kW) each
3-bladed variable-pitch metal propellers
Maximum speed
210 mph (340 km/h, 180 kn) at 8,000 ft (2,400 m)
Cruise speed
190 mph (310 km/h, 170 kn) at 8,000 ft (2,400 m)
1,000 mi (1,600 km, 870 nmi)
Service ceiling
22,450 ft (6,840 m)
Rate of climb
1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)
Wing loading
19.8 lb/sq ft (97 kg/m2)
0.082 hp/lb (0.135 kW/kg).
McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company 1st 75 Years Aviation Book-McDonnell Douglas.
McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920, Volume 1-René J Francillon.
San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
Douglas DC-2-DC-1, DC-2, DC-2K, R2D-1, C-32, C-32A, C-33, C-34, C-38, C-39, C-42-4+ Publication No. 4+018-Stanislav Dudek, Michal Ovčáčík, Karel Susa.
The Douglas DC-1/ DC-2/ DC-3, 75th Anniversary Edition, Volume 3-Jennifer Gradidge.

Share on facebook