DC -6 Introduced - History

DC -6 Introduced - History

Douglas Aircraft introduced the DC-6 Airplane. The DC-6 was a derivative of the DC-4. It used the same wings as the DC-4 but had more powerful engines and a longer fuselage. The DC-6 could seat 52 passengers. At total of 702 DC-6's were produced in three civilian and two military version of the aircraft.


History of the Cherry Trees

The tradition of celebrating the blooming of cherry trees in Japan is centuries old.

The planting of cherry trees in Washington DC originated in 1912 as a gift of friendship to the People of the United States from the People of Japan.

In Japan, the flowering cherry tree, or "Sakura," is an important flowering plant. The beauty of the cherry blossom is a symbol with rich meaning in Japanese culture.

For more than a hundred years, we have celebrating cherry trees blooming in solidarity.

On This Page - Jump to a Time Period Navigation


Background
When the world's first jet airliner, the De Havilland Comet, was introduced in 1949, Douglas held a commanding position in the aircraft market. Although Boeing had pointed the way to the modern all-metal airliner in 1933 with the 247, it was Douglas that, more than any other company, made the promise a reality. Douglas produced a succession of piston-engined commercial aircraft through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s: 138 DC-2s, 10,928 DC-3s (mostly for military service in World War II), 1453 DC-4s, 537 DC-6s and 226 DC-7s.

Given the success of their designs, Douglas took the view that there was no reason to rush into anything new, as did their rivals Lockheed and Convair. Most air transport manufacturers expected that there would be a gradual switch, from piston engines to turbines and that it would be to the more fuel-efficient turboprop engines rather than pure jets.

In contrast, Boeing took the bold step of starting to plan a pure jet airliner as early as 1949. Boeing's military arm had gained extensive experience with large, long-range jets through the B-47 Stratojet (first flight 1947) and the B-52 Stratofortress (1952). With thousands of their big jet bombers on order or in service, Boeing had developed a close relationship with the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC), and could count on having preference when the time came to replace SAC's fleet of piston-engined KC-97 Stratotankers.

For Boeing, this was a golden opportunity: an aircraft built to provide air-to-air refueling capacity for strategic bombers could be turned into a commercial transport with very little extra effort. Boeing could now plan on building a commercial jetliner &mdash which might or might not sell &mdash but either way the Air Force would pay for most of the development cost.

De Havilland's pioneering Comet entered airline service in 1952. Initially it was a success, but a series of fatal crashes in 1953 and 1954 resulted in the type being grounded until the cause could be discovered. Airlines cancelled orders for it, public confidence in the idea of jet transport plummeted, and it would take de Havilland four years to find and fix the problem. The cause of the Comet crashes was nothing to do with jet engines: it was rapid metal fatigue failure brought on by the stress of cycling a pressurized cabin to high altitudes and back. A new understanding of metal fatigue that the Comet investigation produced would play a vital part in the good safety record of later types like the DC-8.

Air Canada DC-8 at Montréal-Dorval International AirportIn 1952, Douglas remained the most successful of the commercial aircraft manufacturers. They had almost 300 orders on hand for the piston-engined DC-6 and its successor, the DC-7, which had yet to fly and was still two years away from commercial service. The Comet disasters, and the consequent airline lack of interest in jets, seemed to demonstrate the wisdom of their staying with propeller aircraft. Nevertheless, with one eye on the USAF tanker market, Douglas secretly began jet transport project definition studies in mid-year, and by mid-1953 had decided on something very like the final form: an 80-seat, low-wing aircraft with four Pratt & Whitney JT3C turbojet engines, 30-degree wing sweep, and an internal cabin diameter of exactly 11 feet (3.35 m) to allow five abreast seating. Maximum weight was to be 95 tons, and range was estimated at somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 miles (4,800 to 6,400 km).

Douglas was lukewarm about the jet airliner project, but believed that the USAF tanker contract would go to two companies for two different aircraft (as several USAF transport contracts in the past had done). In May 1954, the USAF circulated its requirement for 800 jet tankers to Boeing, Douglas, Convair, Fairchild, Lockheed, and Martin. Boeing was already just two months away from having a prototype in the air. Before the year was out, the Air Force had ordered the first of an eventual 808 Boeing KC-135 tankers. Even leaving aside Boeing's ability to supply a jet tanker promptly, the flying-boom air-to-air refueling system &mdash as first fitted to the KC-97 &mdash was also a Boeing product: developing the KC-135 had been a very safe bet.

Just four months after issuing the tanker requirement, the USAF ordered 29 KC-135s from Boeing. Donald Douglas was shocked by the rapidity of the decision which, he said, had been made before the competing companies had had time to complete their bids, and protested to Washington, but without success. The U.S. Air Force would buy more than 800 strategic tankers over the next ten years, and every one of them from Boeing. In financial terms, the Boeing 707 would have an armchair ride, while Douglas would be short of cash from that time on.

Having started on the DC-8 project, Douglas decided that it was better to press on than give up. Consultations with the airlines resulted in a number of changes: the fuselage was widened by 15 inches (380 mm) to allow six-abreast seating and make it slightly wider than the 707. This led to larger wings and tail surfaces and a longer fuselage. The cost of the program was enormous it was at that time the most expensive venture of any kind ever taken on by a single company. Donald Douglas provided $450 million towards it out of his own pocket.

The DC-8 was officially announced in July 1955. Four versions were offered to begin with, all based on the same 150 ft 6 in (45.9 m) long airframe with a 141 ft 1 in (43 m) wingspan, but varying in engines and fuel capacity, and with maximum weights between 120 and 130 tons. The maiden flight was planned for December 1957, with entry into revenue service in 1959. Well aware that they were lagging behind Boeing, Douglas began a major push to market the product.

Worldwide, piston-engined airliners still ruled. The French 90-passenger twin jet Sud Aviation Caravelle prototype had just flown for the first time, the Comet was still grounded and the 707 was not expected to be available until late 1958. The transition, when it came, looked likely to be one to turboprops rather than turbojets. The pioneering 40&ndash60-seat Vickers Viscount was already in service and proving enormously popular with both passengers and airlines: it was much faster, quieter and more comfortable than piston-engined types. Another British aircraft, the 90-seat Bristol Britannia, was establishing a fine reputation, and Douglas's main rival in the large, piston-engined passenger aircraft market, Lockheed, had committed to the short/medium range 80&ndash100-seat turboprop Electra, with a launch order from American Airlines for 35 and other major orders flowing in. The major airlines were reluctant to commit themselves to the huge financial and technical challenge of jet aircraft. On the other hand, no-one could afford not to buy jets if their competitors did. And there the matter rested until October 1955, when the ever aggressive Pan American placed simultaneous orders with Boeing for 20 707s and Douglas for 25 DC-8s. To buy one expensive and untried jet-powered aircraft type was brave: to buy both was extraordinary.

United Airlines chose the DC-8 over the Boeing 707.In the closing months of 1955, other airlines rushed to follow suit: Air France, American, Braniff, Continental and Sabena ordered 707s United, National, KLM, Eastern, JAL and SAS chose the DC-8. In 1956 Air India, BOAC, Lufthansa, Qantas and TWA added over 50 to the 707 order book, while Douglas sold 22 DC-8s to Delta, Swissair, TAI, Trans-Canada and UAT. With KC-135 orders helping defray development costs, Boeing could offer lower prices, and also promise earlier delivery slots &mdash though not as early as expected, because the DC-8 with its wider fuselage had constrained Boeing to take time out to redesign the KC-135 with a wider fuselage again, and the first production-ready 707 did not fly until December 1957.

By the start of 1958 Douglas had sold 133 DC-8s as against Boeing's 150 707s. Nevertheless, the pattern from that time on would be for the DC-8 to sell in modest numbers, while Boeing sold roughly twice as many 707s. The first DC-8 was rolled out of the new factory at Long Beach in April 1958 and flew for the first time in May. Later that year an enlarged version of the Comet finally returned to service &mdash but too late to take a substantial portion of the market: de Havilland had just 25 orders &mdash and in October Boeing began delivering 707s to Pan Am.

Douglas made a massive effort to close the gap, using no less than ten individual aircraft for flight testing to achieve FAA certification for the first of the many DC-8 variants in August 1959. Much had needed to be done: the original air brakes on the lower rear fuselage were found ineffective and were simply deleted as engine thrust reversers had become available unique leading-edge slots were added to improve low-speed lift the prototype was 25 knots (46 km/h) short of its promised cruising speed and a new, slightly larger wingtip had to be developed to reduce drag.

The DC-8 entered revenue service with both Delta Air Lines and United in September 1959. By March of 1960, Douglas had reached their planned production rate of eight DC-8s a month.

On August 21, 1961 a Douglas DC-8 broke the sound barrier at Mach 1.012 or 660 mph while in a controlled dive through 41,000 feet. The flight was to collect data on a new leading-edge design for the wing. The DC-8 became the first civilian jet to make a supersonic flight. The aircraft was a DC-8-43 later delivered to Canadian Pacific Air Lines as CF-CPG.

Despite the large number of DC-8 early models available, all used the same basic airframe, differing only in engines, weights and details. In contrast, Boeing's rival 707 range offered several fuselage lengths: the original 44 m 707-120, a 41 m version that sacrificed space to gain longer range, and the stretched 707-320, which at 46.5 m overall had 3 m more cabin space than the DC-8. Douglas steadfastly refused to create stretched or shortened versions of the DC-8, and gradually lost market share to Boeing. After an excellent start, 1962 DC-8 sales dropped to just 26, followed by 21 in 1963 and 14 in '64, and most of these were for the Jet Trader rather than the more prestigious passenger versions. Despite fair sales for the DC-8 and excellent results from the twin-jet DC-9 program, in 1967 Douglas were forced to merge with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation to become McDonnell Douglas (MDC).

In April 1965, Douglas announced belated fuselage stretches for the DC-8, with not just one but three new models, known as the Super Sixties. The DC-8 program had been in danger of closing with fewer than 300 aircraft sold, but the Super Sixties brought fresh life to it. By the time production ceased in 1972, 262 of the stretched DC-8s had been made. With the ability to seat 269 passengers, the DC-8 was easily the largest airliner available, and remained so until the Boeing 747 arrived in 1970.

All the earlier jetliners were noisy by modern standards. Increasing traffic densities and changing public attitudes led to complaints about aircraft noise and moves to introduce restrictions. As early as 1966 the New York Port Authority expressed concern about the noise to be expected from the then still unbuilt DC-8-61, and operators had to agree to operate it from New York at lower weights to reduce noise. By the early 1970s, legislation for aircraft noise standards was being introduced in many countries, and the 60 Series DC-8s were particularly at risk of being banned from major airports.

In the early 1970s several airlines approached McDonnell Douglas for noise reduction modifications to the DC-8 but nothing was done. Third parties had developed aftermarket hushkits but there was no real move to keep the DC-8 in service. Finally, in 1975, General Electric began discussions with major airlines with a view to fitting the new and vastly quieter Franco-American CFM56 engine to both DC-8s and 707s. MDC remained reluctant but eventually came on board in the late 1970s and helped develop the 70 Series DC-8s.

The Super Seventies were a great success: roughly 70% quieter than the 60-Series and, at the time of their introduction, the world's quietest four-engined airliner. As well as being quieter and more powerful, the CFM56 was roughly 20% more fuel efficient than the JT3D, which reduced operating costs and extended the range.

Legacy
Throughout its production life the DC-8 was often regarded, unfairly, as little more than a copy of the 707, which outsold it by roughly two to one. But in the longer term the DC-8 proved its value. By 2002, of the 1032 707s and 720s manufactured for commercial use, just 80 remained in service &mdash though many of those 707s wound up converted for USAF use, either in service or for spare parts. Of the 556 DC-8s made, around 200 were still in commercial service in 2002, including about 25 50-Series, 82 of the stretched 60-Series, and 96 out of the 110 re-engined 70-Series. Most of the surviving DC-8s are now used as freighters.

Early models
DC-8 Series 10 For U.S. domestic use and powered by 60.5 kN Pratt & Whitney JT3C-6 turbojets. The initial DC-8-11 model had the original, high-drag wingtips and all examples were subsequently converted to DC-8-12 standard. The DC-8-12 had the new wingtips and leading-edge slots inboard of each pylon. These unique devices were actuated by doors on the upper and lower surfaces that opened for low speed flight and closed for cruise. The maximum weight increased from 120 tonnes to 123 tonnes. 28 DC-8-10s were manufactured. This model was originally named "DC-8A" until the series 30 was introduced.

DC-8-32 of Overseas National Airways in Zurich, 1975DC-8 Series 20 Higher-powered 70.8 kN Pratt & Whitney JT4A-3 turbojets allowed a weight increase to 125 tonnes. 34 DC-8-20s were manufactured. This model was originally named "DC-8B" but was renamed when the series 30 was introduced.
DC-8 Series 30 For intercontinental routes, the three Series 30 variants combined JT4A engines with a one-third increase in fuel capacity and strengthened fuselage and landing gear. The DC-8-31 was certified in March 1960 with 75.2 kN JT4A-9 engines for 136 tonnes maximum weight. The DC-8-32 was similar but allowed 140 tonnes weight. The DC-8-33 of November 1960 substituted 78.4 kN JT4A-11 turbojets, a modification to the flap linkage to allow a 1.5 degree setting for more efficient cruise, stronger landing gear, and 143 tonne maximum weight. Many -31 and -32 DC-8s were upgraded to this standard. 57 DC-8-30s were produced.
DC-8 Series 40 The first turbofan-powered airliner in the world, the -40 was essentially the same as the -30 but with 78.4 kN Rolls-Royce Conway turbofans for better efficiency, less noise and less smoke. The Conway was a significant improvement over the turbojets that preceded it, but the Series 40 sold poorly both because of the traditional reluctance of U.S. airlines to buy a foreign product and because the still more advanced Pratt & Whitney JT3D turbofan was due in early 1961. The DC-8-41 and DC-8-42 had weights of 136 and 140 tonnes, the 143 tonne DC-8-43 had the 1.5 degree flap setting of the -33 and introduced a new 4% leading edge wing extension to allow a small fuel capacity increase and a significant drag reduction &mdash the new wing design improved range by 8%, lifting capacity by 3 tonnes, and cruising speed by better than 10 knots (19 km/h). It would be included in all future DC-8s. 32 DC-8-40s were manufactured.
DC-8 Series 50 The definitive short-fuselage DC-8 with the same engine that powered the vast majority of 707s, the JT3D. Many earlier DC-8s were converted to this standard. All bar the -55 were certified in 1961. The DC-8-51, DC-8-52 and DC-8-53 all had 76.1 kN JT3D-1 or 80.6 kN JT3D-3B engines, varying mainly in their weights: 126, 138 and 142 tonnes respectively. The DC-8-53 arrived in June 1964, retaining the JT3D-3B engines but with strengthened structure from the freighter versions and 147 tonne maximum weight. 88 DC-8-50s were manufactured.
DC-8 Jet Trader Douglas approved development of specialized freighter versions of the DC-8 in May 1961, based on the Series 50. An original plan to fit a fixed bulkhead separating the forward two-thirds of the cabin for freight, leaving the rear cabin for 54 passenger seats was soon replaced by a more practical one to use a movable bulkhead and allow anywhere between 25 and 114 seats with the remainder set aside for cargo. A large cargo door was fitted into the forward fuselage, the cabin floor was reinforced and the rear pressure bulkhead was moved by nearly 2 m to make more space. Airlines were offered the option of a windowless cabin, though only one, United, took this up, with an order for 15 in 1964. The DC-8F-54 had a maximum takeoff weight of 143 tonnes and the DC-8F-55 147 tonnes. Both used 80.6 kN JT3D-3B powerplants.

Super sixties
The DC-8 Series 61 was designed for high capacity and medium range. It had the same weights and engines as the -53, and sacrificed range to gain capacity. Having decided to stretch the DC-8, Douglas inserted a 6 m plug in the forward fuselage and a 5 m plug aft, taking overall length to 57 m and giving the aircraft a very long, lean look that was (and is still) unique. Bending forces required strengthening of the structure, but the basic DC-8 design already had sufficient ground clearance to permit the one-third increase in cabin size without requiring longer landing gear. It was certificated in September 1966 and typically carried 210 passengers, or 269 in high-density configuration. 88 were sold.
The long-range DC-8 Series 62 followed in April 1967. It had a much more modest stretch of just 2 m (with 1 m plugs fore and aft), the same JT3D engines as the -53 and -61, and a number of modifications to provide greater range. One-meter wingtip extensions reduced drag and added fuel capacity, and Douglas redesigned the engine pods, extending the pylons and substituting new shorter and neater nacelles, all in the cause of drag reduction. Slightly heavier than the -53 or -61 at 151 tonnes, and able to seat 159 passengers, the -62 had a range with full payload of about 5200 nautical miles (9,600 km), or about the same as the -53 but with 40 extra passengers. 67 were built.
The DC-8 Series 63 was the final new build variant and entered service in June 1968. It combined the aerodynamic refinements and increased fuel capacity of the -62 with the very long fuselage of the -61, and added 85 kN JT3D-7 turbofans, giving a maximum take off weight of almost 159 tonnes and a range with full payload of 4,110 nautical miles (7,600 km). 107 were built, a little over half of them convertibles or dedicated freighters.

BAX Global DC-8-71(F) at Boeing FieldThe DC-8-72 and the DC-8-73 were straightforward conversions of the -62 and -63, replacing the JT3D engines with 98.5 kN CFM56-2 high-bypass turbofans in new housings built by Grumman. The DC-8-71 achieved the same end but required considerably more modification because the -61 did not already have the improved wings and relocated engines of the -62 and -63. Maximum takeoff weights remained the same but there was a slight reduction in payload because of the heavier engines. All three models were certified in 1982 and a total of 110 60-Series DC-8s were converted by the time the program ended in 1986.

Production
Total production: 556 from 1960 to 1972
DC-8-10, 2
DC-8-20, 59
DC-8-30, 52
DC-8-40, 29
DC-8-50, 162
DC-8-60, 262

First flights
DC-8-10 May 30, 1958
DC-8-20 November 29, 1958
DC-8-30 February 21, 1959
DC-8-40 July 23, 1959
DC-8-50 December 20, 1960
DC-8-55 October 20, 1962
DC-8-61 March 14, 1966
DC-8-62 August 29, 1966
DC-8-63 April 10, 1967
(DC-8-61) DC-8-71 August 15, 1981
(DC-8-62) DC-8-72 December 5, 1981
(DC-8-63) DC-8-73 March 4, 1982


DC-3 Commercial Transport

The Douglas DC-3, which made air travel popular and airline profits possible, is universally recognized as the greatest airplane of its time. Some would argue that it is the greatest of all time.

Design work began in 1934 at the insistence of C.R. Smith, president of American Airlines. Smith wanted two new planes &mdash a longer DC-2 that would carry more day passengers and another with railroad-type sleeping berths, to carry overnight passengers.

The first DC-3 built was the Douglas Sleeper Transport &mdash also known as Skysleepers by airline customers &mdash and it was the height of luxury. Fourteen plush seats in four main compartments could be folded in pairs to form seven berths, while seven more folded down from the cabin ceiling. The plane could accommodate 14 overnight passengers or 28 for shorter daytime flights. The first was delivered to American Airlines in June 1936, followed two months later by the first standard 21-passenger DC-3.

In November 1936, United Airlines, which had been a subsidiary of Boeing until 1934, became the second DC-3 customer. The DC-2 had proved more economical than the Model 247, and United assumed the DC-3 would continue that lead. Initial orders from American and United were soon followed by orders from more than 30 other airlines in the next two years.

The DC-3 was not only comfortable and reliable, it also made air transportation profitable. American's C.R. Smith said the DC-3 was the first airplane that could make money just by hauling passengers, without relying on government subsidies. As a result, by 1939, more than 90 percent of the nation's airline passengers were flying on DC-2s and DC-3s.

In addition to the 455 DC-3 commercial transports built for the airlines, 10,174 were produced as C-47 military transports during World War II. For both airline and military use, the DC-3 proved to be tough, flexible, and easy to operate and maintain. Its exploits during the war became the stuff of legend. Today, more than six decades after the last one was delivered, hundreds of DC-3s are still flying and still earning their keep by carrying passengers or cargo.


Douglas DC-3

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image are the propellers and engines of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more than 56,700 hours with Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the cockpit of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more than 56,700 hours with Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the fuselage of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image are the propeller and fuselage of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the vertical stabilizer of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the vertical stabilizer of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. Highlighted in this image is a tire of the Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the vertical stabilizer of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. Highlighted in this image is a tire of the Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the vertical stabilizer of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. Highlighted in this image is the landing gear of the Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the vertical stabilizer of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. Highlighted in this image is the engine of the Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Featured in this image is the airstair of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more than 56,700 hours with Eastern Air Lines.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlighted in this image is a passenger window from a Douglas DC-3 that flew for Eastern Air Lines.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlighted in this image is the nose of a Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlighted in this image is the nose of a Douglas DC-3.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft's efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlighted in this image is an exhaust valve.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

Twin-engined monoplane in Eastern Airlines livery.

CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is a Douglas DC-3 that flew more than 56,700 hours with Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami.

Douglas DC-3 on Display

Douglas DC-3 on display in former Air Transportation exhibition c.2005.

DC-3 on Display

Douglas DC-3 on display in former Air Transportation exhibition c.2005.

Douglas DC-3 Airstair

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft?s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the airstair of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines.

Douglas DC-3 Window

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft?s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is a passenger window of a Douglas DC-3 that flew more for Eastern Air Lines

Douglas DC-3 Cockpit and Fuselage

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image are the cockpit and fuselage of a Douglas DC-3.

Douglas DC-3 Nose

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the nose of a Douglas DC-3.

Douglas DC-3 Nose

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers. Highlight in this image is the nose of a Douglas DC-3.

Douglas DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 was one of the most successful airliners in history. The aircraft’s efficiency, speed, and safety popularized air travel. It was the first airliner able to profit only from carrying passengers.

Douglas DC-3 in America by Air

First flown in 1935, the Douglas DC-3 became the most successful airliner in the formative years of air transportation, and was the first to fly profitably without government subsidy. More than 13,000 DC-3s, both civil and military versions, U.S. and foreign built, were produced. Many are still flying.

An enlarged variant of the popular 14-seat DC-2, the 21-seat DC-3 was comfortable by the standards of its time and very safe, because of its strong, multiple-spar wing and all-metal construction. The airlines liked it because it was reliable, inexpensive to operate, and therefore profitable. Pilots liked its stability, ease of handling, and excellent single-engine performance.

The airplane on display above flew more than 56,700 hours with Eastern Air Lines. Its last commercial flight was on October 12, 1952, when it flew from San Salvador to Miami. It was subsequently presented to the Museum by Eastern’s president, Edward V. Rickenbacker.

Gift of Eastern Air Lines

Weight, gross: 11,430 kg (25,200 lb)

Weight, empty: 7,650 kg (16,865)

Top speed: 370 km/h (230 mph)

Engine: 2 Wright SGR 1820-71, 1,200 hp

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Co., Santa Monica, Calif., 1936

The development of the Douglas DC-3 was brought about by the commercial airlines demand for an economical passenger-carrying airplane. Up to 1934, airline passenger craft were too slow and carried too few passengers to be really profitable. United Air Lines had ordered sixty of the new Boeing 247s, the first truly modern airliners and had effectively tied up production. The 247 carried ten passengers at 160 mph and made all other transports obsolete. The other carriers were thus forced to find another plane if they wished to be competitive in the passenger-carrying business.

In 1933 the Douglas Aircraft Company designed a new passenger plane, as ordered by Transcontinental and Western airlines, to compete with the Boeing 247. The first model, the DC-1, was soon succeeded by the DC-2 and the start of quantity production. American Airlines, at the time, was using the slow Curtiss Condor, which was fitted with sleeper berths. American needed a new airplane able to compete with the DC-2 and the Boeing 247, but one with sleeping accommodations.

In 1935 C. R. Smith, president of American Airlines, made a direct request of Douglas to build a larger, more comfortable plane which could lure the luxury trade." On December 17, 1935, the Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) made its first flight

The original plane was designed as a luxury sleeper with seven upper and seven lower berths and a private forward cabin. The day plane version, known as the DC-3, had twenty-one seats instead of fourteen berths. The design included cantilever wings, all-metal construction, two cowled Wright SGR-1820 1,000 hp radial engines, retractable landing gear, and trailing edge flaps. The controls included an automatic pilot and two sets of instruments. The original design was so satisfactory that the basic specifications were never changed.

American Airlines initiated DST nonstop New York-to-Chicago service on June 25, 1936. and in September started service with the DC-3. A year later, with the DC-3 in service, Smith stated, "It was the first airplane in the world that could make money just by hauling passengers" This was the beginning of an immortal airplane known the world over. As the success of the DC-3, with its larger capacity for passengers, its speed, and its economical operation, was realized, airlines throughout the world began placing orders with Douglas.

In the United States the big three transcontinental lines were very competitive. With the advent of DST coast-to-coast service by American Airlines, Trans World Airlines obtained DSTs and DC-3s for such flights also. When United Airlines, with its Boeing 247s, saw that the Douglas plane was outclassing its own service, the company purchased ten DSTs and five DC-3s, and began flights on January 1, 1937. In July of that same year United introduced sleeper service between New York and California.

By 1938, 95 percent of all U.S. commercial airline traffic was on DC-3s. Two hundred sixty DC-3s, 80 percent of the number of airliners, were in service in 1942 on domestic carriers. As of December 31, 1969, thirty DC-3s were still being used by U.S airlines.

Foreign companies also began to order the economical Douglas-built plane. KLM was the first European airline to own and operate DC-3s, in 1936, followed by companies in Sweden, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and elsewhere. By 1938 DC-3s were flown by thirty foreign airlines, and by 1939, 90 percent of the world's airline traffic was being carried by these aircraft.

The impact of the DC-3 was felt the world over. In July 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented Donald W. Douglas, head of Douglas Aircraft, with the Collier Trophy. Recognizing the DC-3 as the outstanding twin-engined commercial plane,' the citation read, 'This airplane, by reason of its high speed, economy, and quiet passenger comfort, has been generally adopted by transport lines throughout the United States. Its merit has been further recognized by its adoption abroad, and its influence on foreign design is already apparent."

In 1939 the DC-3 was called on to aid the military fleets of the world. Many commercial carriers in Europe put their DC-3s to use as military transports. The United States ordered new versions of the DC-3 modified for troop transport and cargo carrying. These were designated as C-47s and C-53s. As military versions were built, they were put into operation in European and Pacific theaters during World War II. C-47s initiated the Berlin Airlift in 1948. In military service since 1941, the C-47 proved most useful in many endeavors.

Many names and numbers were assigned to the DC-3. England labeled it the "Dakota" or "Dak." American pilots, during World War II, called it the 'Skytrain," "Skytrooper," "Doug," or "Gooney Bird." The U.S. military's official titles were C-47, C-53, C-117, and R4D. The airlines called it "The Three." Of all the names the affectionate title "Gooney Bird" lingers on.

The normal gross weight for the aircraft was 25,200 pounds, with twenty-one passengers. Many times these weights were exceeded as conditions required. The normal range was 1,500 miles, but this could be extended by adding fuel tanks. The cruising speed varied from 155 mph to 190 mph depending on the load carried and the power used. The DC-3's safety record was better than that of most airplanes, primarily because of its great structural strength and efficient single-engine performance.

Since 1935, 803 commercial transports and 10,123 military versions have been built. In addition, about 3,000 have been constructed under license in Russia (Li-2) and almost 500 in Japan. In service since 1936, the DC-3 is still in use today throughout the world.


Characters

With a hunger for knowledge and a thirst for power, Barbara Minerva unlocked a powerful evil, transforming her into Wonder Woman’s most feral foe.

The Man of Steel's antithesis in every way, this ruthless genius believes his quest to save humanity from an untrustworthy alien makes him Earth's ultimate hero.

For 80 years, this chilling Clown Prince of Crime has brought terror, fear and destruction to Gotham City…all for a laugh.

A ruthless treasure hunter, Black Manta swore vengeance on Aquaman after the King of Atlantis accidentally killed his father. And the waters of Atlantis have been stained with blood ever since…


Contents

Golden Age

Since the conception of Batman, the character was a loner on his crusade against crime. Eventually, Batman creators Bob Kane and Bill Finger alongside their frequent collaborator Jerry Robinson created Dick Grayson as "Robin, The Boy Wonder", a sidekick for their hero and the initial concept for the Batman Family was introduced.

Batman and Robin operated as a solid team for many years. In the initial years of the Golden Age, Batman became a member of the GCPD and Commissioner Gordon became part of the Batman Family. For the most part of the Golden Age, the trio were the only members of the team with occasional collaborations by Linda Page, Bruce Wayne's romantic interest. Shortly afterwards, Alfred Pennyworth, or simply known as "Alfred, the Butler", was introduced as a pivotal figure in the Batman Family, acting as the unconditional supporting character for the team.

Silver Age

Following the Golden Age, comic books fell under pressure of the media thanks to a publication by psychologist Fredric Wertham and as a result, the Batman Family was expanded to include female figures and deter the claims of Batman and Robin's homosexuality. Like this, Batwoman and Bat-Girl were introduced alongside Bat-Mite, the imp and Ace the Bat-Hound.

However, the previous expansion was short-lived and in 1964, editor Julius Schwartz took reigns of the Batman comics and eliminated Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Ace and Bat-Mite, deeming them too silly and unfitting to the new stories he wanted for Batman. Schwartz also decided to remove the figure of Alfred by killing his character, but this decision was also short-lived as the portrayal of Batman in the 1966 TV series showed Alfred alive and he had to be revived in the comics continuity.

Editor Julius Schwartz worked alongside the TV Show producer, William Dozier in order to introduce a new female character to the Batman mythos and Barbara Gordon was introduced as the new Batgirl, improved over the previous version of the character as she became the daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon. For the best part of the Silver Age, the new incarnation of the Batman Family remained unchanged until the ending of the publication era.

Bronze Age

The Bronze Age was defined by radical changes in the narrative of the stories in current publication. Although the "Batman Family" remained unchanged, most of their characters came into the spotlight of their own stories and worked separate from each other. Batman became a loner once again, Robin went to college as the "Teen Wonder" and Batgirl continued her solitary activities.

A notable development of this period was the retroactive stories that showcased characters from the Golden Age and how have they aged in real time. The Batman Family of the Golden Age was expanded to include Batman's former rival, Catwoman as Bruce Wayne's wife, Selina Kyle. From their marriage came their daughter, Helena Wayne, who would go on to become Huntress, following her father's steps. These developments were mostly ignored by the mainstream comics continuity and none of these characters actually became part of the main Bat Family. Other minor characters who played small roles in this age were Man-Bat and Jason Bard, both of which were soon forgotten as the Bronze Age came to an end.

For almost the entire decade of the '70s, the Batman Family didn't play a relevant role and they would come together for rare occassions. By the end of the decade however, "Robin, the Teen Wonder" had become a much important figure of the Teen Titans, as the leader of the team. The creative team developing the Teen Titans comics, needed to move Robin away from Batman's shadow as his sidekick and this caused a disruption in the Batman comics, which had decided to return to the old formula of Batman and Robin. For this reason in the early 80s, Dick Grayson, the original Robin, became Nightwing, the leader of the New Teen Titans and Jason Todd was introduced as the second Robin. Jason was introduced as the new Boy Wonder, but his background was too similar to that of Dick Grayson. This and other issues were eventually fixed after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, which allowed DC to clear continuity mistakes and other errors along the way. Meanwhile, Batgirl disappeared from publications, as the creative team couldn't find a way to update the character for the new generation.

Modern Age

After the Crisis, much of the previous continuity was erased or modified, but the Batman Family remained unchaged for the most part. The background history of Batman and Robin, with Dick Grayson as the first Boy Wonder was untouched and Jason's introduction and origin was improved by the new creative team. Commissioner Gordon and Alfred became more frequent figures as the supporting cast members of the team and Batgirl remained ignored.

Unfortunately, during the late '80s, the Batman Family suffered some major losses when the Joker, Batman's arch-enemy, crippled Barbara Gordon and then killed Jason Todd. The notorious graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke and the storyline Batman: A Death in the Family are often regarded as a turning point in the history of Batman as a whole. Although the loss of such important figures as Batgirl and Robin were important to develop new stories and bring new elements, this wouldn't be permanent and in fact, after these events, the Batman Family has only increased tremendously in later years, in comparison to the first fifty years.

For instance, Barbara Gordon was no longer able to continue her activities as Batgirl as a result of the crippling injury at the hands of the Joker, but nonetheless, she continued her crime-fighting activities as the information broker and cybernetic guru only known as Oracle. Shortly afterwards, a young kid by the name of Tim Drake was introduced in the storyline Batman: A Lonely Place of Dying, in which he figures the real identities of Batman and Robin and tries to make Dick Grayson resume his partnership with Batman. His plan failed, but in the process, he became the third Robin.

For a few years, the new line-up of the Bat Family remained the same until the early '90s, in which the major storyline Batman: Knightfall was introduced. This story introduced a new member to the team in the young man Jean-Paul Valley, whose heroic identity was Azrael. Initially programmed to be an agent of the Order of St. Dumas, Azrael was taken in by Bruce Wayne to be trained and become a force of good. However, Jean-Paul was forced to take over the mantle of the Bat after the criminal power house known as Bane shattered Batman's spine across his knee.

Jean-Paul's tenure as Batman caused a disruption in the Batman Family, as he pushed everyone around him away. Unable to rely on such unstable leader, Tim Drake continued his adventures together and Commissioner Gordon stopped working with Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce's lack of interest in his recovery forced long-time friend, Alfred to resign and leave Bruce Wayne behind.

In time, Bruce Wayne healed from his injuries and took the mantle of the bat back from Jean-Paul, which allowed Gordon and Alfred to return to their rightful positions. Although Bruce had returned, he allowed Dick Grayson to become Batman until he resolved personal issues during the storyline Batman: Prodigal. When Bruce officially returned, Dick Grayson resumed his Nightwing identity and Jean-Paul resumed his original identity of Azrael and occasionally teamed up with Batman to fight various foes. Following this, other costumed vigilantes appeared in Gotham City, such as the new Huntress and Spoiler. Unlike the previous version of Huntress, Helena Bertinelli was not related to Bruce Wayne in any way and instead, she came from a crime family, hating the criminal kind, reason why she put on the costume to fight criminals. On the other hand, Spoiler was Stephanie Brown, the daughter of Arthur Brown, aka the criminal mastermind "Cluemaster". A friend of Tim Drake, Stephanie donned a costume and the identity of "Spoiler" to display her contrary beliefs to that of her criminal father. Both Huntress and Spoiler's activities in Gotham were not sanctioned by Batman, who had the rightful authority to give allowance for vigilantism in his city. This attitude was a bit hypocritical from Batman, considering that he had allowed a reformed Catwoman to operate in Gotham and showed his support to her new activities, although she would eventually resume her criminal ways for good purposes. In a similar fashion, Huntress and Spoiler's activities were supported by Nightwing (Dick Grayson) and Robin (Tim Drake).

When Gotham City was struck by a terrible earthquake and the city was declared a No Man's Land, the entire Batman Family went into action. Initially, Batman abandoned Gotham with all hope, but the figure of a new Batgirl showed up and became the only member of the team to remain active in Gotham, alongside Commissioner Gordon and some of the GCPD. Oracle also remained as an information gatherer, but her participation was not influential. Eventually, Batman returned and organized the Bat Family to take control of Gotham back from the hands of crimials and lunatics that have seized the place. However, Batman soon discovered that the new Batgirl was actually Helena Bertinelli, who realized her Huntress identity wouldn't induce the fear brought by the figure of the Batman. Helena used a make-shift Batgirl costume to resemble Batman, but when she wouldn't stand up to the challenge posed by Batman in order to regain control of Gotham, she was forced to relinquish the mantle and it was given to Cassandra Cain, a highly trained martial artist who had helped Oracle in the initial stages of "No Man's Land". With the new Batgirl, Batman summoned Oracle, Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman and Azrael to take back Gotham City, with assistance from their trusted allies, Alfred, Commissioner Gordon and Leslie Thompkins.

Having successfully recovered Gotham, the Bat Family stood stronger than ever before, with great numbers and skills. The team remained unchanged until the ultimate death of Azrael, which provided a turning point for the heroes. Batman distanced himself from the team and started working with Sasha Bordeaux, Bruce Wayne's personal security assistant and eventually, Batman's crime-fighting partner. When one of Bruce's former lovers was found dead in Wayne Manor, both Bruce and Sasha were found guilty of the crime and sent to prison. Although, Bruce broke out of prison, Sasha wasn't as lucky and she was eventually recruited by the secret organization called Checkmate, in exchange of her freedom. Not long afterwards, a gang war broke out in Gotham and Bruce recruited help from the former assassin Onyx, who provided vital assistance alongside Tarantula, an ally that Nightwing had made during his time in Bludhaven. It was during this gang war that Spoiler was apparently killed.

A shocking revelation eventually came to the Bat Family when it was revealed that Jason Todd, the second Robin, had somehow survived the brutal murder by the Joker and had remained hidden several years, planning his revenge and comeback with the identity of Red Hood in the storyline Batman: Under the Hood. Using violent methods against criminals, Red Hood became a ruthless vigilante who caused trouble to the entire Batman Family. Fortunately, his thirst for revenge was eventually quenched and he stopped wreaking havoc.

Afterwards, Damian Wayne was revealed as Bruce Wayne's biological son with Talia al Ghul in the storyline Batman and Son. Bruce was left in charge of raising Damian, who became a valuable member of the team. However, Batman was soon believed to be dead at the hands of Darkseid during the Final Crisis, but in reality he had been sent to the past and he was tasked to survive all the way to the present in a time-travel voyage that would eventually kill him and destroy the present. In the aftermath of Bruce's death, a battle royale across Gotham took place during the storyline Batman: Battle for the Cowl, in which members of the Bat Family struggled to find the missing Batman while others fought to take over the mantle of the Bat. The final battle between Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake ended up with a victory for Dick, who had to become the Batman in Bruce's absence. Like this, Dick Grayson became Batman once again and he promoted Damian Wayne to Robin, forcing Tim Drake to become Red Robin. Around this time, a new Batwoman was also introduced, different from the Silver Age version.

Afterwards, Spoiler was revealed to be alive and upon her return, she took over the mantle of Batgirl from Cassandra Cain, who relinquished the role under Bruce Wayne's prior instructions. The new Batgirl worked closely with Oracle and upon Bruce's return, they all gathered together to form Batman Incorporated, an international organization, which promotes vigilantes allied with Batman and the Bat Family.

New 52 and Rebirth

The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.

In this new timeline, several details of the Batman mythos have changed. There is a new origin story for the Justice League, establishing that Batman has only been publicly active for five years although he was considered an urban legend before this. Ώ] The GCPD are still hostile towards him as a vigilante, although he maintains an alliance with James Gordon. ΐ] Dick Grayson returns to his role as Nightwing, making Bruce the only Batman again. Α] Barbara Gordon recovers from her wheelchair and becomes Batgirl again. Β] Tim Drake as Red Robin becomes a founding member of the Teen Titans. Γ] Jason Todd as Red Hood forms his own team of mercenaries, the Outlaws. Δ]

Incomplete
There's something missing here. This section of the article is incomplete, and contains information, but requires more before it can be considered complete. You can help DC Database by editing this page, providing additional information to bring this article to a higher standard of quality.


100 Years of Innovation: History of the Electric Drill

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the portable electric drill’s invention. A century ago, the Black + Decker Manufacturing Co. (now Stanley Black + Decker) developed and filed a patent application for a ½-inch portable drill that one person could operate. It had a universal electric motor, which could run on alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) and the pistol-grip handle with a trigger control. Both features have been on electric drills ever since.

The original portable drill, assembled in 1916, is at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Electric drills were in operation long before 1916, but they were large, stationary machines used in industrial and manufacturing facilities. Black + Decker’s drill was the first time an electric drill came as a lightweight, portable tool.

In 1910, S. Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker established a machine shop in a Baltimore warehouse. Gun manufacturer Colt was among the shop’s clients. According to a 1992 Baltimore Sun article, Black and Decker were considering the design of the electric drill they were developing and figuring out how the user could best hold the tool and control the drilling function. Nearby was a Colt handgun. Its pistol grip and trigger inspired the new drill.

In 1917, Black and Decker opened a 12,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Towson, Md., where they made portable electric air compressors, the new drill and other products.

The first drills were intended for industrial use. The new product filled a need, and sales increased, but it remained an in-plant tool because there was no home-improvement market and the cost was too high for general consumers. When plant supervisors noticed employees taking drills home to use on projects, they recognized the do-it-yourself market potential.

Distribution spreads, company changes

By 1921, Black + Decker was advertising locally, and the company even had a full-page ad in the Saturday Evening Post, targeting a national consumer market. Company history cites 1923 as the year it began offering a low-priced, portable electric drill to nonprofessionals. The company created mobile classrooms in buses to teach distributors how to sell power tools.

Like most companies, Black + Decker struggled through the Depression. However, World War II brought government contracts for making war material for America and its allies. In 1946, the company introduced the first line of home power tools, including ¼-inch and ½-inch drills, drill stands and accessories. In 1961, it introduced the first cordless electric drill, powered by a nickel-cadmium battery.

Meanwhile, Black + Decker contracted with Martin Marietta to design tools for NASA, including a zero-impact wrench that turned bolts without spinning the astronaut. Black + Decker later designed a cordless rotary hammer drill for the Apollo space program, which was used to extract rock samples and could operate at extreme temperatures and in zero-atmosphere conditions.

Over the years, Black + Decker acquired a variety of companies, including General Electric’s small appliance division as well as toolmakers DeWalt and Porter-Cable. In 2010, Black + Decker merged with Stanley Works, bringing both companies’ tools under the current Stanley Black + Decker umbrella.

Other manufacturers step up

In the mid-to-late 1920s, electricians and workers in other trades were using Black + Decker tools, and other manufacturers began to develop similar tools for professionals.

In 1924, A.H. Peterson developed the Hole-Shooter, a lightweight, portable drill that a user could operate with one hand. After fire destroyed Peterson’s facility, Milwaukee Electric Tool Co. acquired the product. Milwaukee made the drill more durable and developed more powerful drills, including a right-angle drill and variations to the basic drill/driver in both corded and cordless versions, all designed for professional tool users.

Bosch introduced an electropneumatic, handheld rotary hammer in 1932 and, soon thereafter, produced its first electric drills. Bosch launched the Brute breaker hammer in 1950, and the company introduced its first cordless drill in 1978. The first Bosch cordless hammer drill came to market in 1984.

In 2005, Milwaukee introduced lithium-ion batteries, leading to a fundamental shift in cordless-tool technology. The batteries contributed to a change in form, features and function. Since then, significant advances in tool and battery electronics—coupled with advancements in lithium-ion batteries—have changed the possibilities for drills and other cordless tools. Lithium-ion batteries have significantly improved, and toolmakers aggressively promote their battery brands.

In 2004, Makita developed a brushless motor for a fastening tool for the defense and aerospace industries, and, in 2009, Makita introduced an impact driver with a brushless motor. Manufacturers say tools with brushless motors have as much or more power than tools with conventional “brushed” motors. They also operate more efficiently and are more durable.

This year, Milwaukee unveiled One-Key “smart” tools, including drills. Such a tool can remember settings that achieved the best results, tell the user how it’s performing and how to maximize its potential, and interact with One-Key’s tool management system, so the user can locate it in real time.

Black + Decker and DeWalt

Ultimately, Black + Decker entered the professional tool market in 1991 through DeWalt. The company had acquired DeWalt more than 30 years before, when it was best known for its radial-arm saw. DeWalt continued to add shop and plant tools to its product line. In 1989, DeWalt stopped North American production of its radial-arm saws due to dwindling demand.

“For a time, DeWalt was near dormant,” said Chris Keffer, DeWalt vice president. “In 1991, the decision was made to relaunch the DeWalt brand with a new line of professional power tools.”

Soon after, DeWalt introduced power tools and accessories designed specifically for professionals. Electric drills were a key element in the product line. Also included was the first combination drill/driver hammer drill.

Two years later, DeWalt launched a cordless power tool system with more than 30 new cordless tools that included drill/drivers and the first combination drill/driver hammer drill, along with saws and a variety of other products.

History repeats with new innovations

The history of this tool is full of major breakthroughs.

“The increases in voltages changed the landscape of what drills could do,” Keffer said. “With more power, chuck designs changed, especially for electricians. The lithium-ion battery for tools was a big breakthrough in the cordless power-tool market, and brushless motors provide more power, more run time, and, in some cases, more control.”

Today, the DeWalt Power Tools line consists of more than 200 power tools and more than 800 accessories.

Today’s varied electric drill products range from 12-volt (V) “pocket” drills to powerful 18V drill drivers. Specialty products have evolved, including hammer drills and rotary hammers with built-in LED lights to illuminate the work area. “Smart” drills automatically adjust the power draw to the task at hand and wirelessly communicate information about the tool to the user and cloud-based tool-management program.

While these tools have changed radically over the years, certain design elements have remained the same. For example, Mr. Black and Mr. Decker probably could never have imagined that, 100 years later, even the most modern tools have pistol-style grips and trigger controls.


The Six

One of the last three Douglas DC-6A Cloudmasters off the line in 1958, the airplane known to its present owners as The Six has entered the most glamorous stage of its storied career: an era of flying for admiring crowds and appearing in big-budget movies. It wasn’t always so.

From This Story

The DC-6 with the brass and stewardesses of its first airline. (Eagle Group of Companies Archives) The Six had a role in the movie Bride Flight, having first gotten a new paint scheme. (Henk Boom/KLM)

Photo Gallery

The aircraft got its first major assignment in 1959 with Eagle Airways (later changed to British Eagle), which needed a fuel-efficient workhorse. Working for the airline, the DC-6 had an adventurous youth: It shuttled military personnel home from British H-bomb tests on Christmas Island it carried men and equipment to Australia as part of the United Kingdom’s first rocket programs and it flew some of the first holiday-package air routes, taking skiers to Innsbruck and sunbathers to Nice. “She’s kind of part of every really interesting facet of postwar British society development,” says Julian Firth, a pilot with the airliner’s present owner, Air Atlantique. “She’s got hooks in everything.”

While the DC-6’s tube-with-wings design lacked the shapeliness of its chief competitor, Lockheed’s triple-tail, porpoise-body Constellation, as well as the speed and range of its follow-on, the DC-7, its excellent operating costs and reliable Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines endeared it to airlines. “The DC-6 was the apex of the development of the piston-engine airliner,” says Bob van der Linden, chairman of the National Air and Space Museum’s aeronautics division. “The DC-6 was in service long after the Constellation was out of service, and that’s because of the engines.” Even after jets replaced piston engines, smaller operators continued using DC-6s around 15 still fly today, mostly in Alaska as cargo craft.

Unfortunately, DC-6s also started a few fires. When fuel was transferred between tanks, it could overflow, get sucked into the air intake scoop of the cabin heater, and ignite. After two such fires, the airplane was given a different fuel system.

In 1964, British Eagle sold the DC-6 to Saudi Arabian Airlines. The airplane was later given to Yemen Airways. In 1987 it was sold to Air Atlantique. The company, which had started as a hangar operator, evolved to offer air taxi, oil spill cleanup, and cargo services. By 2004, faced with cheaper competition from Eastern European companies, Air Atlantique withdrew The Six from cargo operations today the company operates a “safari park for classic aeroplanes” in Coventry, England, and offers pleasure rides in vintage aircraft. In 2006, Air Atlantique started a rejuvenation program to help give The Six a new career as well: star of movies and airshows.

Firth estimates that the spruce-up, performed in the Coventry hangar and overseen by vintage-aircraft restorer Ben Cox, took about two years and $1 million. But, he points out, “That’s essentially just maintenance dollars—we’re not talking about a major overhaul here. This is work to keep a good old girl flying.” Some adjustments were made to please a photo-taking airshow audience, like replacing a flap selector valve that leaked, causing the flaps to droop after a few hours on display. Air Atlantique also replaced the horizontal stabilizer and corroded fuselage panels.

Air Atlantique owns a second DC-6 that it can temporarily cannibalize for parts, but Firth says the group still spent time scouring the world for replacements, hoping to keep both airplanes airworthy. Since smaller parts like brake pads and tires are in increasingly short supply, DC-6 operators trade among one another.

The Six made its movie debut in 2006’s Casino Royale, posing in the background as James Bond thwarts a plot to blow up an aircraft prototype. The Six next appeared in 2008’s Bride Flight, portraying a a KLM DC-6 flying a race while carrying young Dutch women from London to New Zealand to be married. The Six also has a burgeoning airshow career. Last summer, it was guest of honor at the British Eagle employee reunion at the Farnborough Air Show. Because 2008  was its 50th birthday, Air Atlantique dressed The Six in its original red-and-white British Eagle livery. Says company archivist Eric Tarrant, “To see the great Eagle symbol airborne again certainly brought a lump to my throat.”

Air Atlantique plans yet another life for The Six: It will fit the interior for about 40 passengers so the aircraft can reprise an older role: as a tourist airplane, perhaps meeting up with the Orient Express train in Italy to fly passengers home.
The aircraft has to be flown by a traditional pilot-copilot-flight engineer crew. Though DC-6 has hydraulics for operating systems like brakes and landing gear, its flying controls are completely manual. Firth, who has flown it for 14 years, says the airplane is easy to fly and “an absolute joy.” The cleanup didn’t change her classic handling a bit. “She’s the same plane underneath,” he says, “and for me that’s the great thing.” 


Batman, a History of Heroics: The Beginning

As Batman marks his 80 th anniversary in comics and entertainment, you’d have to imagine he’s proud of all he’s achieved (if Batman were one to allow himself to feel something so self-congratulatory as pride). Bruce Wayne may have intended his costume to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, but it’s done something far more powerful within those of us who don’t live outside the law—it’s captured our hearts and minds.

Since his debut, Batman has transcended the realm of comics to become one of the most popular and enduring characters in all of entertainment. He’s graced the large screen and small numerous times, in movies, TV, animation and video games. We’ve seen the Dark Knight’s face and logo on t-shirts, hoodies, shoes, hats, leggings and just about every other article of clothing imaginable. He’s inspired toys—from free fast food giveaways to high-end collectibles—and has shown up on nearly every product imaginable. Batman’s been the subject of documentary films, college studies and art shows. He’s inspired memes, comedy sketches and parodies. He’s launched his own unofficial holiday and inspired thousands of cosplayers worldwide. Batman’s transcended his role of a superhero. He’s now part of our shared culture and awareness. People know who Batman is, no matter their age and interests, and regardless of whether or not they follow comics or super-powered heroes.

And yet, this remarkable, unrivaled eighty-year journey began so simply.

In 1939, DC Comics was looking for a new superhero—a character who could build on the wild success of their earlier comic book phenomenon, Superman. Editor Vin Sullivan turned to what then appeared to be an unlikely creative source, gag cartoonist Bob Kane, and asked him to design a new hero. Bob Kane along with writer Bill Finger would go on to conceive one of the most popular and enduring characters of the twentieth century—the Batman.

The very first Batman story, “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” was written by Finger and drawn by Kane. It was published in Detective Comics #27, which hit newsstands on March 30, 1939 (cover date: May 1939).

In his first story, Batman was introduced as uninteresting socialite Bruce Wayne. Donning his iconic costume, he became a merciless crimefighter who dispatched hoodlums with grim satisfaction. “A fitting end for his kind,” Batman announced after knocking a criminal into a vat of acid.

It was a markedly different Caped Crusader than the one we know now—a noir-tinged, street level do-gooder who was more than willing to get his hands dirty in the interest of the greater good. But even in this earliest story, which is only six pages long, his mind for justice was present, as was his secret identity, unknown to his good friend Commissioner Gordon, who also makes his debut here.

Detective Comics #27, despite being continually reprinted, continues to be one of the most highly sought comics among collectors and fans. A copy of Detective Comics #27 sold for $1.07 million in 2010. In 1939, it sold for ten cents, but it moved enough copies to merit more stories featuring the grey-and-black crimefighter.

Batman utilized his utility belt for the first time to store glass pellets filled with gas in Detective Comics #29 (July 1939). The first boomerang-like batarang and the first bat-themed vehicle—the Bat-Gyro, which has a helicopter blade—made their debuts in Detective Comics #31 (September 1939). The Bat-Gyro was replaced by the Batplane, which first appeared in Batman #1 (March 1940).

Batman’s tragic origin story, in which a mugger guns down Bruce Wayne’s parents as the family walks home from a movie, was introduced six months after the hero’s debut, in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939). This seemingly simple origin would continue to be explored and mined for emotional depth for decades to come.

Look for more on Batman’s long history of heroics tomorrow as part of DC’s Batman 80 th anniversary celebration.