For aircraft enthusiasts, Dec. 17th, 1935 was a very special day at the Santa Monica Airport, for it was the day the Douglas DC-3 made its maiden flight.
Home of the DC-3 in more ways than one, the now-extinct Douglas Aircraft Plant produced 10,000 of the fixed-wing propeller-driven airplanes. Where the plant used to be, an industrial park now stands. The once-innovative plane is now only used here and there as a cargo aircraft but its reputation in the aviation world lives on.
To honor the rugged airliner that revolutionized the airline industry in the ’30s and ’40s, a DC-3 accompanied by a statue of Donald W. Douglas and his dog Wunderbar is displayed near the Museum of Flying. Douglas was the designer of the plane and his likeness stands proudly next to his creation, both man and plane with noses pointed to the sky.
The DC-3 is best to see at night, when the landing lights, navigation lights, and rotating beacon light up the display of the aircraft that changed the world of flight as we know it.