70 and counting
Anybody who has spent five minutes with me knows that the DC-3 is Av8rdan’s all-time favorite aircraft. This is the plane that reinvented commercial aviation as we know it today.
In his excellent 1979 book Conquest of the Skies: A History of Commercial Aviation in America, Carl Solberg wrote “One big result of the speed and size of the DC-3 was the reduction in the number of planes needed to carry the nation’s air traffic. Before the DC-3 came along, domestic airlines had 460 planes in passenger service. Five years later, they were operating only 358 planes – 80% of them DC-3s – although the number of passengers had quadrupled.”
To celebrate the –3’s 70th anniversary (this past December 17th), I thought my readers would like to know about Basler Turbo Conversions of Oshkosh, WI., the company that transforms the Gooney into the BT-67, an awesome, versatile and beautiful machine.
I toured a BT-67 while at Airventure a few years ago, and was floored at the craftsmanship of the Basler conversion. They trash the old radials and hang a pair of new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67R turboprops, while replacing the panel’s tired steam gauges with the very latest avionics.
The Basler crew turns a DC-3 carcass into a brand new animal, one that is now in use around the world. With its increased performance, the BT-67 is perfect for chasing drug lords in Columbia, fighting fires in Wyoming, or hauling food into African villages. It would also do me just fine as a personal party plane. A dozen of my budds and a flight plan to Vegas…now that is flying!
FYI, the guys at the DC-3 Museum in Corvallis, Oregon could use a hand. Check out their website here.