Douglas DC-2

14 seats » 190 mph

Douglas DC-2

the unique douglas вс-в

Douglas DC-2

One of the early DC-2s poses for the camera.

Tine Douglas DC-1

Only nine months after the $125,000 contract was signed, the Douglas DC-1 made its first flight on 1 July 1933, and was delivered to T. W.A. On 13 September. Jack Frye and Paul Richter flew it to Kansas City, 1,450 miles, averaging 205 mph. The airline operated the unique DC-1 for a few years, even on a few scheduled services, then it was sold to Howard Hughes in January 1936. It eventually passed to Lord Forbes in Eng­land, and finished up as a military transport during the Spanish Civil War in 1938. It crashed at Malaga in December, 1940.

The Douglas DC-2

The DC-1 had 12 seats, two more than the 247’s 10; but T. W.A. and Douglas quickly realized that by adding two more feet to the fuselage, this could be improved to 14. The result­ing Douglas DC-2 first flew on 11 May 1934, went into serv­ice one week later, and the world of airlines was never the same again. It chased the 247s off the main-line U. S. airways, and when, on 1 August 1934, T. W.A. introduced it on the transcontinental “Sky Chief’ service, Jack Frye was more than vindicated in his vigorous initiative. A new era of airline serv­ice began, and as early as September, the Ford Tri-Motors were retired, to be used as freighters, or, in one unusual case, to be used as a floatplane ferry service in New York (page 44).

Подпись: Single-Engined Swan Song

Douglas DC-2Подпись: This Northrop Alpha incorporated Jack Northrop's innovative engineering ideas, including all-metal monocoque fuselage and stressed-skin metal wing. Douglas DC-2

The Northrop Alpha

Jack Northrop left Lockheed, and started his own com­pany, at El Segundo, California, to build his first high-speed aircraft, which incorporated all-metal construction, stressed skin for the wings, and a monocoque fuselage, together with other aerodynamic improvements, such as engine cowling and wing fillets. The main objective was to save weight; but it also improved the strength; and Northrop’s innovations became standard practice. T. W.A. introduced the Northrop Alpha in April 1931. It was a beautiful air­craft, and used only for mail. As indicated in the table below, it must have been difficult for the pilots to handle.

The Lockheed Orion

The wooden Vega (see page 36) was quickly superseded by the metal Lockheed Orion, the first airliner in the world to exceed 200 mph. It was welcomed especially by airlines that competed with the Ford operators, and captured the public imagination with the publicity value of speed.

The Orion was the first aircraft to employ flaps, to reduce speed on descent and landing. Nevertheless, its sur­vival rate was not as good as the new generations of multi­engined all-metal Douglas and Boeing modern airliners.

The Consolidated Fleetster

Also appearing in the early 1930s was the neat Consoli­dated Fleetster, a high-winged monoplane, with clean lines and a speed of 150 mph. But it carried only six pas­sengers, and was used sparingly by T. W.A. Like the Condor, it was recognizably, in the light of the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2 that came on the scene in 1933-34, the last of the generation of airplanes that had been outpaced by the explosive growth of air transport in the early 1930s.

Swan Song

The use of single-engined transport airplanes ended quite abruptly. Their record was not encouraging; and the con­ditions of the McNary-Watres Act ensured their speedy retirement front the commercial airways.


Подпись: Fleet No. Regn. MSN Delivery Date Remarks and Disposal Alpha 1 NC947Y 7 17 Apr 31 Crashed near Roaring Springs, Penn., 11 Dec 33, severe icing 2 NC961Y 8 Apr 31 Sold to China, Jul 35 3 NC942Y 6 13 Apr 31 Destroyed by fire at Mobeetie, Texas, 14 Jan 32 4 NC933Y 5 13 Apr 31 Sold to China, Jul 35 5 NC999Y 4 Apr 31 Written off after emergency landing, Newhall, Cal., 15 Nov 34 6 NC966Y 9 20 Jun 31 Crashed near Steubenville, Ohio, 21 Mar 32 7 NC985Y 10 20 Jun 31 Crashed near Cross Forks, Penn., 26 Feb 33 8 NC986Y 11 24 Jun 31 Crashed 22 Sep 34 9 NC992Y 12 25 Jun 31 Crashed Pittsburgh, engine failure on takeoff, 10 Jan 33 10 NC993Y 16 25Jun 31 Engine fell off, pilot bailed out, aircraft landed by itself near Alton, Missouri, 3 Jul 32. Subsequently written off 11 NC994Y 17 25 Jun 31 Written off after crash landing near Glendale, Cal., after engine problem, 31 Jan 35 12 NCI 1Y 3 27 Nov 31 (N.A.T.) Only surviving Alpha. Donated to the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, 1976 14 NC127W 2 9 Mar 32 Crashed near Portage, Penn., 11 Dec 33, after encountering severe icing Delta 15 NCI 2292 3 4 Aug 33 Crashed near Albuquerque, 12 Nov 33, after engine fire Gamma 16 NR13757 8 Apr 34 Crashed 21 Jan 35 18 NC13759 10 Jul 34 17 NCI 3758 9 Jun 34 Made first transcontinental moil flight on 12-14 May 34 after the cancellation of mail contracts. Set transcontinental speed record, 11 hr 31 m., for mail planes. Subsequently used for high-altitude research by 'Tommy" Tomlinson. Aircraft retired in 1940 Подпись:Подпись: CONSOLIDATED FLEETSTER 20A FLEET
Подпись:“Tommy” Tomlinson, one of the great experimental test pilots of the 1930s,
is seen here with the Northrop Gamma which he used to demonstrate
“over-the-weather” flying. This led to the introduction of pressurized
airliners, the first 307s (see page 44).

Douglas DC-2

In contrast with Northrop’s low wing and Lockheed’s high wing design,
Ruben Fleet’s was unusual. At least the pilot had a good view.