• U.S.

Transport: Douglas Double

2 minute read

Great was the fretting of U. S. airlines in 1932. Having coasted through three years of Depression with old planes, they were in dire need of new equipment, knew of none available that was satisfactory. Into this breach jumped young Donald Wills Douglas with a set of radical aeronautical ideas which he persuaded Transcontinental & Western Air to back. Out of that collaboration rose the DC-1, a 9-ton, twin-motored, low-wing monoplane which revolutionized air transport the world over. The first commercial transport plane the 12-year-old Douglas Aircraft Co. had ever built, it and the improved DC2 speedily lifted the company from insignificance to leadership. Simultaneously, the little Douglas factory at Santa Monica, Calif., grew into the world’s largest airplane manufacturing plant.

Last week Douglas again jumped a long step forward. Swamped with enough business to keep it working at full capacity for 18 months, it announced it would immediately double the size of its factory.

This latest Douglas advance has largely gathered way in the past four months. On Oct. 15, Douglas and its subsidiary, Northrop Co., had $4,500,000 in orders. Today they have $15,000,000. About $8,000,000 of this came in Army contracts awarded month ago. Some $3,000,000 more came last week from the Navy in a contract for 114 torpedo bomber planes. The remnant is made up of orders for the DC2 and the new DC-3, better known as the DST (Douglas Sleeper Transport).

The DST, 20 of which are being built for American Airlines, has passed its tests, but is not yet in service. Similar to the DC2 in design, it is slightly longer, much fatter. Whereas DC2 seats 14, DST seats 24, has berths for 16. Cruising at 200 m.p.h., it can carry 24,000 lb. gross load, can fly across the continent with only one stop.

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