I imagine you have heard as often as I have the expression, “they don’t make them like they used to.” Reading about the DC-3s still flying passengers and freight to out of the way parts of Colombia reminded me of this saying. The ones mentioned in this article in the Washington Post were probably built as C-47s, the military version of the DC-3, because so many more were produced. (British and Commonwealth forces named it the “Dakota”, an acronym based on DACoTA for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft.)
In the Washington Post article, I learned that some parts of Colombia are so inaccessible that one either has to take a river steamer to reach certain parts of the country, which can take weeks, or fly in a DC-3 over the impenetrable jungle and land on a dirt runway. Mechanics scavenge for parts and keep the engines functioning long after their projected design life. These are sturdy planes that’s for damn sure. I remember flying in one of these as a lad when very small airlines in the US like Southern and Piedmont and Republic still flew them. If you have never flown in one I can tell you that the noise from the engines is such that you can barely hear what the person next to you is saying.
If you want to hear what a DC-3 sounds like when it starts its engine, I’ve included a cool video below.
[Source: Washington Post.]