DC-3 finished | The Museum of Flying

DC-3 finished rear

The Douglas Commercial (DC) Line

Prior to the introduction of the Douglas Commercial (DC) line of passenger airplanes, traveling by air was neither practical nor affordable. Fledgling airlines relied on government subsidies for the delivery of mail to stay in business. The cost of a passenger ticket was beyond the price range for most people. But the Douglas Aircraft Company changed that with the introduction of the DC-1, DC-2 and especially the DC-3. The one-of-a-kind DC-1 proved that a two-engine plane could carry passengers and freight at a wallet-friendly price. By the time the DC-1 went into service in December 1933, Douglas engineers in Santa Monica were busy improving upon the design with the DC-2 and then the DC-3. Some 10,000 of these planes came off Douglas assembly lines, making it possible for passengers around the world to reach their destinations quickly, safely and at prices they could afford. By the early 1950s, more than 90 percent of worldwide air travel took place on Douglas-built aircraft.

Passengers boarding a DC-3 in 1957

Donald W. Douglas holding a prototype model of the DC-8, circa 1955DC-3, DC-4, DC-6 and DC-7

Interior view of a DC-2State of the art cockpit

Douglas During The War Years

When the call to arms came for America with World War II, Donald W. Douglas retooled his assembly lines to produce warplanes. Thousands of A-20 Havocs, C-47s and C-54s took off from the Santa Monica Airport to join the U.S. and Allied Air Forces. Other Douglas factories in El Segundo, Long Beach, Chicago, Tulsa and Oklahoma City turned out additional thousands of aircraft. As many of the men who traditionally would have made up the workforce at these plants had gone into uniform, the Douglas Aircraft Company pioneered the effort to hire women, creating the legend of “Rosie the Riveter.” Working day and night on three shifts, employees delivered to the Armed Services more than 30,000 Douglas airplanes, by some estimates the highest tonnage of aircraft produced by any company during the war years. President Dwight D. Eisenhower remarked that the DC-3 was one of the four reasons the Allies won the war.

Douglas aircraft served many functions during WWII, including transporting injured soldiers

Workers enter Gate 50 at the Santa Monica Plant after their lunch breakEmployee parking, always a premium, was controlled by the War Department

Women entered the work force in large numbers to produce planes needed for the war effortComouflage nets cover the Santa Monica Plant and surrounding Santa Monica streets

Douglas DC-3 ‘Spirit of Santa Monica’

The first flight of a DC-3 took place on December 17, 1935, at the Santa Monica Airport. These aircraft were so successful and reliable that many DC-3 aircraft remain in service throughout the world today. The aircraft on display was built here at Santa Monica Airport and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps as a C-53-DO on February 17, 1942. Its initial role was as a 28-seat paratrooper and glider tug.

Restored 'Spirit of Santa Monica' - December 17th, 2005 in Barker Hangar

DC-3 Restoration 1DC-3 Restoration 2

DC-3 Restoration 3DC-3 Restoration 4

Technical Specifications

  • Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radials with a takeoff rating of 1,050 hp and a maximum rating of 1,200 hp at 7,500 feet.
  • Wingspan: 95 feet
  • Wing Area: 987 square feet
  • Length: 63 feet, 9 inches
  • Empty Weight: 18,000 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 26,000 lbs
  • Maximum Weight: 31,000 lbs
  • Maximum Speed: 230 mph @ 8,800 feet
  • Cruising Speed: 160 mph
  • Stall Speed: 67 mph

History of this aircraft

February 17, 1942:

Delivered to the USAAC as 41-20107

February 21, 1942:

Transferred to the US Navy as a R4D-3 as BuAer No. 05075

August 31, 1946:

Retired from military service, purchased by Nationwide Airlines as DC-3 tail # NC1075M

December 1, 1953:

Purchased by Richfield Oil Company

April 4, 1956:

Reregistered as N6OR

Fall of 1957:

Reregistered as N596AR to Atlantic Refining Company

May 1970:

Reregistered to Atlantic Richfield Company of Philadelphia

By 1985:

Stored at Sonoma County Airport

Spring of 1989:

Displayed at the Museum of Flying, Santa Monica on loan from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

May 1, 1997:

Purchased by David G. Price from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

October 6, 2004:

Donated to the City of Santa Monica by David G. Price

June, 2005:

Restoration team begins work on the “Spirit of Santa Monica”

December 17, 2005:

Ceremony and party for the completed restoration and groundbreaking for the monument

March 21, 2009:

DC-3 “Spirit of Santa Monica” Monument dedication

In Recognition

The Douglas DC-3 Monument has been made possible through the heartfelt commitment and tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers and contributors who gave generously of their time and talents to recognize the singular achievements of Donald W. Douglas, founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company, and to recognize the ingenuity and hard work of the thousands of men and women who were part of Douglas Aircraft Company and helped shape aviation history and the world.


  • Employees Community Fund of Boeing California
  • City of Santa Monica
  • David G. Price
  • The DC-3 Founders Wall consisting of personal contributions from more than 1000 individuals, employees, retirees and special friends of Donald W. Douglas and the Douglas Aircraft Company.


  • Andresen Associates Architects
  • John B. and Nelly Llanos Kilroy Foundation
  • Morley Builders
  • Santa Monica Air Center / Barker Hangar


  • Santa Monica Airport Association
  • Santa Monica Acura
  • FedEx Express
  • The Rotary Club of Santa Monica
  • The Rotary District 5280 Foundation Grant

Steering Committee

  • Kristina M. Andresen, Monument Architect
  • Judi Barker, Santa Monica Air Center / Barker Hangar
  • Mark Benjamin, Morley Builders
  • Beverly A. Hoskinson, Executive Director, Employee Community Fund of Boeing California/Douglas White Oaks Ranch Trust
  • Joseph Loving, Barker Hangar
  • Charlie Moynagh, Crescent Oil Company
  • David G. Price, Chairman, American Airports Corporation
  • Daniel J. Ryan, Museum of Flying
  • Robert D. Trimborn, Airport Director Santa Monica Airport

Monument Site

  • Provided by the City of Santa Monica, Ken Genser, Mayor

DC-3 Airplane

  • Donated by David G. Price


  • Donald Wills Douglas and his dog Wunderbar “Bar”
  • Sculptor: Yossi Govrin – Yehudain
  • Commissioned by the Employees Community Fund of Boeing California, Beverly A. Hoskinson, Executive Director with funding provided through the Douglas White Oaks Ranch Trust.
  • Special appreciation to Victoria Douglas Thoreson for her insights and guidance on behalf of the Douglas family.

Special Acknowledgements

  • Ryan Hupf, Project Manager, Morley Builders
  • Patricia M. McGinnis, Archivist
  • James T. and Jean McMillan, Vision
  • Sandi Nizetich, Program Officer
  • Susan L. Stamberger, Development
  • Bill Wasserzieher, Historian and Editorial
  • Chad Slattery, Photography
  • Micheal R. Viessman, Webmaster
  • The Santa Monica Historical Society Museum
  • Mark Collins, FedEx

DC-3 Restoration Volunteer Team

  • Ted Walters – Team Lead
  • Bill Eyre (Co Lead)
  • Mark Galloway (Co Lead)
  • Matthew Majoli (Operations/Noise Manager)
  • Torrey Larsen (Structural Engineer)
  • Darold Dinsmore (Lead Electrician)
  • Norman Atchison (Volunteer Photographer)
  • Bob Lench (West LA College Foundation)
  • Harry Grace (Electrician)
  • Becki Walker (DC-3 Website)
  • Jerri Bergen ( Nose Art Painter)
  • Andrew S. Goldman (Digital Light Photography)
  • David Smith (Principal Mechanical Engineer)
  • Larry Sacco (Risk Control Officer)
  • Mark Collins (Supplies Manager)
  • David Axelrod
  • Jay Becker
  • Larry Bouchez
  • Robert Chandler
  • Michelle Chiang
  • Joe Chizmadia
  • Rick Conrad
  • Robert Convey
  • Bill Davenport
  • Rick Doan
  • Robert Drake
  • Vladin Elakovic
  • Peter L. Foster
  • John Gilbert
  • Marco Grillo
  • Bill Heard
  • Debbie Kilmartin
  • Kelly Kilmartin
  • Harvey Klein
  • Ken Krueger
  • Judy LaPatka
  • Jeff Lichtig
  • Alan M. MacHardy
  • Pete Machin
  • George Maldonado
  • Margarita Malonado
  • Tom Marshall
  • Mamood Meschi
  • Chas Moynagh
  • Ali Safai
  • Lili Sandor-Troy
  • Christopher W. Turen
  • Manny Vesa
  • Bob Young
  • …and the more than 100 students who volunteered from the Civil Air Patrol, Westwood College of Aviation Technology and West Los Angeles College of Aviation