Military Variants

Military Variants Requisitioned from the Airlines:



C-41 1 made. P&W R-1830-21; 25,000 lbs, otherwise same as C39 procured for General “Hap” Arnold with plush interior and a partial sleeper like the DC-3B with two small upper berth windows above the first and third windows on each side of the forward window. This aircraft has been incorrectly identified in the past as a modified C-39 because it appeared on the C-39 contract.

C-41A 1 made. P&W 1830-21; 26,300 lbs w/DC-3 modified cabin.

C-48 1 made. P&W R-1820-SIC3-G, 25,200 lbs, 12-volt, 21-seat RHD (DC-3 intended for UAL). This was the first of the drafted DC-3 occurring on 27 December 1940. In 1943 this machine was carried on the books with a value of $159,884. After the war this ship went through several different owners and crashed on 13 July, 1958 while registered as CF-QBD.

C-49J 34 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-G202A, 29,000 lbs, 28 troop seats, LHD. 1943 price was $137,786.

C-49K 23 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-G202A, 29,000 lbs, 28 troops, LHD (like C-49J w/minor changes).

C-48A 3 made. P&W R-1830-92, 25,200 lbs, (DC-3As) 18seat. Used for general staff purposes, cabin arranged for 10 swivel chairs, typewriter desk, clothes closet, and separate cabinet for parachute storage. They were also the cheapest DC-3s on the Army’s books. Their value in 1943 was $91,000 each. All three survived the war and went into private use after 1945.

C-48B 16 made. P&W R-1830-SIC3G, 24,390 lbs, RHD entry, former DSTs (most acquired from a UAL order with one taken from a Northwest order). It is believed that these planes, because of the DST berths, were used in the United States as aerial ambulances.

C-48C 16 made. P&W R-1830-SIC3G, 26,850 Ibs, 21-seat (former DC-3s and DC-3As with various door arrangementsfrom various airlines).

C-49 6 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-71, 25,200 lbs (former DC-3s outfitted as high density 21-seat LHD entry ordered by TWA. The 1943 cost of the C-49 airframe and engines was $102,570.

C-49A 1 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1830-71, 25,200 lbs, 21-seat, LHD entry from Delta Air Lines. Cost in 1943 was $97,069. This single C-49A went to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) as a Dakota but flew with the civilian call letters VHCDC. It crashed at sea in Leyte Gulf on November 13, 1945.

C-49B 3 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-71, 25,200 lbs (DC-3s 21-seat, LHD entry were former EAL ships registered NC288386-NC28388). The first and last went to the RAAF as VHCDD and VHCDE.

C-49C 2 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-71, 25,200 lbs, LHD entry, Delta Airlines NC28346, c/n 4814, and NC28347, c/n 4815. 28 trooper/side seats were installed. The 1943 price was $100,186.

C-49D 10 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-71, 25,200 Ibs, LHD DC-3s & DSTs from EAL. Same as C-49C with plywood floor. 1943 value was $104,882.

C-49E 22 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-G102A, 23,400 Ibs, DC-3s LHD entry from various airlines and all were fitted as 14-stretcher ambulance planes.

C-49F 9 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-G202, 25,200 lbs, DSTs & DC-3s RHD entry all equipped as 14stretcher ambulance planes. 1943 cost was $124,261.

C-49G 8 made. Wright Cyclone R-1820-G2E, 23,400 lbs, DC-3s, 21-seat transports from EAL w/LHD.

C-50 4 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-85, 29,300 lbs, 21-seat transports from American Airlines, RHD. One of these became the second Super DC-3 prototype in 1949.

C-50A 2 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-85, 29,300 lbs, 28 troops, acquired from American Airlines. Reinforced plywood floors. One crashed on April 21, 1942 in North Carolina and the second crashed on December 28, 1946 in Michigan City after being returned to American Airlines.

C-50B 3 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-81, 29,000 lbs, 21-seat transport, LHD, plywood floor from Braniff Airlines. They survived the war and went into private ownership after the war.

C-50C 1 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-79, 29,000 Ibs, 21-seat transport, LHD, from Penn Central. Crashed November 12, 1942 while serving with the Fifth Air Force in Australia.

C-50D 4 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-79, 29,300 lbs, 28 troops, LHD, from Penn Central. All survived the war going into private ownership afterward.

C-51 1 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-83, 29,500 lbs, reinforced floor, 28 troops, RHD, (Canadian Colonial).

C-52 1 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 27,700 lbs, 28 troops, reinforced floor, RHD, from UAL. Went back to UAL after the war with an older registration, NC 15586, instead of its original NC34999. The 1943 price was $103,824.

C-52A 1 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 27,700 lbs, 28 troops, reinforced floor, RHD, from Western Airlines. Was returned as NC19387 and had at least three additional registrations: N97A, N430SF and N518DW.

C-52B 2 made. P&W engines R -1830-92, 27,700 lbs, 28 troops, reinforced floor, RHD, from UAL. Went to Northern Airlines after the war as NC33326 and NC33327.

C-52C 1 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 27,700 lbs, 28 troops, reinforced floor, LHD, from EAL, crashed on September 16, 1942 in Kentucky.

C-52D 1 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-92, 26,850 lbs. This was On 3275 ordered by Swiftlight, Inc. but delivered to the Army as 42-6505 on September 6, 1941. This designation C-52D was canceled and it became a C-48C on March 4, 1942, and given a new Army serial 42-38260. It returned to the airlines after the war and was sold to Indonesia as PK-ZDB in 1968.
C-49H 20 made. Wright Cyclone engines R-1820-G102A, 25,200 lbs, 21-seat transports with mixed RHD and LHD entry.

C-53 218 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 29,300 lbs, 28 troops, 26″ LHD, 12-volt.

C-53 1 made. P&W engines R-1830-SIC3G, 25,200 lbs. This was the Douglas Company demonstrator and executive aircraft N30000, c/n 4809. Paper work and government approval for civilian flights delayed the Douglas executives to the point where they usually could get to where they were going before the government approved the trip. Douglas decided to have the government take title of this machine which it did, assigning a registration 43-36600. Then the company was able to use the aircraft for trips without the paper work necessary for a civilian aircraft. After the war this aircraft went to Hawaiian Airlines as NC33649.

XC-53A 1 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-92, 29,300 lbs, (C-53 + fullspan slotted flaps, & hot air wing deicing).

C-53B 8 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-92, 29,300 lbs, (C-53 + winterized for Arctic, extra fuel tanks and navigating astrodome).

C-53C 17 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 29,300 lbs, 28 passengers, provisions to haul cargo, LHD, 12-volt.

C-53D 159 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 29,300 lbs, 28 passengers, provisions to haul cargo, 30″ LHD, 24-volt.

C-68 2 made. P&W engines R-1830-92, 26,720 lbs, 21seat, LHD. These were the usual 21-passenger DC-3s taken from the assembly line on December 31, 1941 and should not have gotten new designation. There is a mystery as to why these were designated C-68s instead of C-52s. They were on the 1943 books for $139,966. Both were leased to Pan American Airways but went to Europe in March 1942, the first to the RAF as Dakota LR230 and the second went to the USAAF. The Dakota was destroyed in a Japanese air raid in Burma on May 6, 1942, and the USAAF plane returned to the United States after the war.

C-84 4 remanufactured. Wright Cyclone engines R182071, 25,200 lbs, 28 seats, from TWA. Originally a DC-3B (a combination DST/DC-3) with a modified cabin of four berths with their corresponding upper windows. All four were returned to TWA after the war to fly under their original registrations, NC 17312, NC 17314, NC 17319 and NC 18953. They later found new owners but one (NC18953) also got a new registration of N 139D.

C-117A 17 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-90C, 30,000 lbs, superchargers & 24-volt electrical system. Similar to DC-3 except cabin rearrangement and 21 seats.

C-117B 10 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-90D, 30,000 lbs, C-117A w/superchargers removed. Same as C-117A except for engine changes.

C-117C 11 remanufactured. P&W engines R-1830-90C/D, 30,000 lbs, (post war rebuilt VC-47 to DC-3C standards).

C-117D # built unavailable. Wright Cyclone engines R1820-80, similar to C-47H & C-47J except for engines. Had flushed riveting panels, new tail and landing gear, held 35 troops or 30 passengers, or 27 litters. Designated R4D-8 for US Navy.

TC-117D # built unavailable. Wright Cyclone engines R1820-80, equipped with eight navigation tables w/oxygen, for training navigators. Designated R4D-8T.

VC-117D # built unavailable. Wright Cyclone engines R1820-80, equipped for administrative operations, 16 passengers. Designated R4D-8Z.

XCG-17 1 remanufactured. Glider; conversion from C-47.

RHD: Right Hand Door LHD: Left Hand Door Note: not included in this Appendix are the many variations on radio receivers, transmitters, interphones, liaison sets, marker beacons, and radio compasses.

©Copyright Henry M. Holden 1996, 2013

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

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