Author Archives: Henry M. Holden

About Henry M. Holden


My DC-3 Adventure

By Marie Martin

My DC-3 adventure began because my aunt was private secretary to some bigwig in the Airlines. Family gossip said she may have been more than just his secretary. I was about four years old at the time and 1 didn’t care if my Aunt went to bed with her teddy bear. What I did care about was that my Aunt always went home to Florida on airplanes. I heard my mother denouncing her scandalous behavior. The scandalous behavior, of course, was flying on airplanes. Continue reading

Ozark Air Lines Fleet

 By Henry M. Holden

September 26, 1950 to October 26, 1968




128D 4815 Built Sept   3, 1941. Intended for Delta as NC28347, diverted to USAAF as C- 49C (41-7721)   To American Airlines as f/s “Akron”. To Ozark as NC12989, date unk.   Still active as N128D, sale reported (12/95). Continue reading

Ozark Airlines

By Henry M. Holden

Ozark Airlines was first certified on Sept. 1, 1943. Their first aircraft were single engine Beechcraft Staggerwings. Their first flight occurred on June 10, 1945. Twin engine Cessna UC-78s followed the Beechcraft aircraft. Following a suspension of service in the late 1940s, Ozark, named for the Missouri region from which it came, restarted its company on Sept, 25, 1950, using surplus WW II DC-3s obtained from a defunct operator called Parks Airlines. Continue reading

Aviation Universities

  • Auburn University Auburn University has been actively involved in aviation education since 1941, and has consistently been a leader in aviation education and research.  Auburn’s aviation programs are accredited by the Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI), the agency responsible for academic accreditation of aviation and aerospace educational programs.
  • A free scholarship and career search service for high school, college, and graduate students. AVSCHOLARS.COM allows students to search for available scholarships, grants, loans, career fields, colleges, flight schools, and internships at one location.
  • Daniel Webster College Daniel Webster College offers one of this country’s best-known, and most respected aviation programs. Graduates consistently find rewarding employment in commercial, corporate, and military aviation; an airline or airport manager; or air traffic controller.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Flight Schools and Flight Training Directory Online A detailed description of flight schools, helicopter training, aircraft mechanic schools, and more.
  • Florida Institute of Technology The School of Aeronautics is one of five schools and colleges at Florida Tech. It is composed of two divisions – the Division of Aviation Studies, and the Division of Flight Training, which conducts the operations courses, including ground and flight training.
  • Future Woman Pilot Program Sponsored by the Ninety-Nines
  • Grants / Scholarships from the Ninety-Nines
  • Henderson State University Arkansas’s only university program that offers a four-year bachelor of science degree specifically in aviation.
  • Institute of Air & Space Law of McGill University The purpose of this site is to offer assistance to students, researchers, government authorities and the aerospace industry in the field of the legal regulation of international civil aviation and of the space applications.
  • Louisiana Tech Professional Aviation Program Over its forty-year history, Louisiana Tech University’s Department of Professional Aviation has established itself as a high-quality Bachelor of Science degree program with a national reputation for outstanding graduates.
  • Minnesota State Mankato’s Aviation Program The aviation program mission is to prepare students for responsible positions in the air transportation industry, including airline operations and management, corporate aviation, airport management, and government operations.
  • Mt San Antonio College Mt San Antonio College located in southern California has 5 aviation degree programs including Commercial Flight, Air Traffic Control, Flight Attendant, A & P, and  World Travel.
  • NASA/Ames Educational Resources Links to NASA educational programs
  • Northwestern Michigan College The Flight Technology Program at Northwestern Michigan College has earned a reputation for excellence in aviation training and our graduates are flying all over the world-as commercial pilots, corporate pilots, freight pilots, and more!
  • Ohio State University The Aviation Programs at Ohio State have been graduating professionals since 1943. We offer a number of degree programs designed to match your interests and abilities and prepare you for an Aviation Career.
  • Oklahoma State University The Oklahoma State University Aviation and Space program offers degree plans at the Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate Levels.
  • Parks College of St. Louis University Cahokia, Illinois
  • San Jose State University The Department of Aviation and Technology is the oldest and largest provider of Industrial Technology and Aviation degrees on the West Coast.  Our Technology programs are as old as SJSU itself, now in its 150th year of providing higher education to the people of this state and the world.  Our programs include a BS (bachelor of science) degree in Industrial Technology with two concentrations, a BS degree in Aviation with four options, and a Master of Science degree in Quality Assurance.
  • St. Cloud University Two undergraduate programs are offered by the Department of Aviation: a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Aviation, which prepares students for professional careers in the aviation industry in Professional Flight, Management, or Operations; and a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree in Aviation Maintenance Management,
  • Texas Women’s University The WASP collection and archival holdings for the Whirly-Girls, Dallas chapter of the 99s, Mercury 13, and WMA.
  • The LeRoy W. Homer, Jr. Foundation The LeRoy W. Homer, Jr. Foundation was established to provide financial support and encouragement to young people, with an interest in aviation, to pursue professional flight instruction leading to certification as a private pilot.
  • The Women of NASA The Women of NASA resource was developed to encourage more young women to pursue careers in math, science, and technology.
  • University Aviation Association The University Aviation Association (UAA) is the voice of collegiate aviation education to its members, the industry, government and the general public.
  • University of Minnesota, Crookston UMC aviation is for students with a mission-specific interest(s) in natural resources, law enforcement, aerial application, and business. If you are looking for a friendly atmosphere of a smaller campus and top-of-the-line technology, and you want to take advantage of our generous scholarship and no out-of-state tuition programs the University of Minnesota, Crookston is for you!
  • Women in Aviation: The Course St. Cloud State University (Minnesota): The first course in collegiate aviation in the United States which deals with women’s issues in Aviation studies



By Nancy Warren, Director – United Flying Octogenarians Photos courtesy Nancy Warren

At a time when piloting an aircraft was still considered by some to be a bit unusual for a 57-year-old woman, I was part of a crew flying air freight in DC-3s over most of the eastern half of the United States and Canada. And, loving every minute of it!! For almost four years the shout of “Locks, Chocks, and Pins!” was my call to adventure. Continue reading

Almost Indestructible

By Henry M.. Holden

Almost 75 years after the DC-3/C-47 was first built, its his­tory is a long way from being completed. Stories continue to surface about the almost indestructible Gooney Bird aka C-47, Dakota, or DAK. Years after its opera­tional life was theoretically over, the Gooney Bird continued to see military operational service in some parts of the world. South Africa was no exception.

Over the years, incidents involv­ing C-47/Dakotas have proven be­yond a doubt its indestructibility and survivability. Continue reading

DC-3 / C-47 Dakota Statistics

Five hundred thousand rivets were used in the manufacture of the Douglas DC-3 airplane. The average size used in the manufacture was approximately 3-8 inches long, and if laid end-to-end, the rivets would cover a distance of 15,625 feet or more than three miles.

The lighting system of each DC-3 plane was sufficient to light an eight room house. More than 90 lights were used in each plane. 1,517 watts are required. To light an ordinary room in those days only 100 watts was required.

Approximately 6,000 men and women were employed in building a DC-3.

3,600 blueprints were turned out by the Engineering Department in the development of the DC-3.They covered approximately 28,000 square feet.

The total length of the control cables used on the DC-3 was over 2,850 feet, more than ½ mile.

Material used for sound insulation in the DC-3 and the DST “Sleeper” weighed 240 pounds. Blankets and mattresses weighed another 195 pounds.

3,900 feet of tubing, 8,000 feet of wire and approximately 13,300 square feet of sheet metal were used in the construction of each DC-3.

The heating and ventilation used in the DC-3 dispensed 1,000 cubic feet of air per minute on a warm day. As it took a little more than 15 hours to fly from Los Angeles to New York , 900,000 cubic feet of air passed through the cabin or 60,000 to 75,000 pounds of air were utilized on the trip, depending on the altitude flown.

More than 120,000 BTUs were delivered to the cabin of a DC-3 on a cold day. On a flight to NY from LA, 1,800,000

BTUs were delivered during the 15 hours the plane was in the air. The boiler weighed 17 pounds and evaporated 15 gallons of water an hour. Approximately 225 gallons of water were evaporated from LA to NY. Only six quarts of water are carried in the heating system where it was continuously evaporated and condensed.

A radiator capable of heating air from 4 degrees F. to 200 degrees F. was installed in every DC-3. The air passed through the radiator at a speed of 3,000 feet a minute and since the radiator was only a foot long it took only 1/50 of a second to heat the air from 4 to 200 degrees. The radiator weighed 36 pounds.

Heating a DC-3 in the air was the equivalent of heating a building in a 200 mph wind at a 35 degree outside temperature .

The DC-3 wing area is 987 square feet

Approximately 700,000 parts were used in the construction of the DC-3. This is exclusive of instruments and engine parts and exclusive also of the 500,000 rivets used on each plane.

The engines powering the DC-3 weighed 1,275 pounds each or a total of 2,550 pounds. This weight alone is a striking contrast to the payload available on some of the early airmail planes flown which was around 250 pounds.

At a cruise speed of 180 mph at 10,000 feet each engine developed 550 hp. Ninety-one gallons of fuel were used each hour giving approximately 2 miles per gallon.

©Copyright Henry M. Holden 1996 20013

C-47 By Any Other Name

For every use found for the C-47, someone discovered there was usually a new nickname. Many were affectionate names, and a few were unglamorous ones. It accumulated more than two dozen nicknames rivaling someone on the FBI’s “Wanted List.”
Americans called it the “Gooney Bird,” “Doug,” “ Dumbo ,” “Old Fatso”. “Charlie 47,” “ Skytrain ,” “ Skytrooper ,” and “Tabby.” The British called it the “Dakota” and the “ Dak .” The RCAF called one squadron of Dakotas , “The Flying Elephants.” The Russians called it the “PS-84,” and the “Li-2.” The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gave the Russian Li-2, the code name, “CAB.” The French Navy called it, “The Beast.” It even enjoyed the fleeting nickname, “Biscuit Bomber,” after dropping 5,000 cases of rations to General Patton’s troops in France .
Civilian pilots called it the “Three,” “Old Methuselah,” “The Placid Plodder, “The Dowager Dutchess ,” “The Flying Vagrant,” and the “Dizzy Three.” In Vietnam , it earned the sobriquets “Puff the Magic Dragon,” “Puff,” “Spooky,” and “The Dragon Ship.”
In October 1941, the U.S. government adopted the British practice of identifying airplanes with a name. The C-47 was the first airplane given a name by the Army “ Skytrain .” The intention was to mask the development information of a new type from getting into the enemy’s hands. Of course most war-time names for the C-47 were forgotten.
Most people remember and still call it the “Gooney Bird.” There are several versions of how it got that name. Some say the name came from the South Pacific where small atolls were the home of the wandering albatross, the giant seagull-like bird noted for its powers of flight, and sometimes unflattering but safe landings. Some GIs said the C-47 looked like the bird, with a heavy body and long wings, and mimicked the bird in its struggle to get off the rain-soaked dirt fields.
The Albatross, aerodynamically should not be able to get off the ground. People say the bird is so stupid, it doesn’t realize this and flies anyway.
Others say “Gooney Bird” comes from the definition of stupid, or goon. Pilots called the C-47 stupid, because they said it didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be able to do the things it did.
Another source claims long before the C-47 lifted off the ground, the C-39s were nicknamed Gooney Birds by the Tenth Transport Command, at Patterson Field, in Dayton , Ohio.
©Copyright Henry M. Holden 1996 2013

For the complete story on the Douglas DC-3 see: “The Legacy of the DC-3″

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Birth of the AC-47 Gunship

By Henry M. Holden

 The airborne gunship was a totally new weapons system. Gunships are generally considered side-firing airborne weapons platforms. The concept of the gunship originated in 1926 with a .30-caliber Lewis machine gun mounted on the wing of a de Havilland DH-4 It flew “pylon turns” to keep the gun on target.

Stories of a missionary who had been able to air-deliver mail and supplies to remote villages by lowering them in a weighted pouch. The pouch remained stationary over a point on Earth at the end of a long rope as he flew pylon turns around the point. The straight line of the rope could translate into a straight line of gunfire at a single point on Earth if the gunship were flown in a similar pylon turn Continue reading