The view: My older sibling and me just having arrived back in Durango, CO (KDRO) after a flight from Durango to Farmington, NM, a total of about 45 air miles, and return!
The pilot: unknown – passenger Michael Kosta, Erie, Colorado
The airplane: DC-3 circa 1958 or 1959
The mission: To experience airline travel in a DC-3 before they were replaced by Convair 580 turboprops.
The memory: My Dad, in his aviation wisdom, wanted us to experience airline travel in a DC-3. I still remember the flight as it was my first in an airliner. We sat on the left side, towards the back and the Stewardess (as they were known then) came down the aisle with her tray of chewing gum for us to use to help keep our ears from popping with the change in altitude. Unexpected bonus: chewing gum! I’m not sure on that short flight we got up THAT high! After the flight, the Captain came out and gave us both a “First Flight” certificate and a set of small plastic wings! Those were the days! This was probably circa 1958 or 1959.
- Friday photo: last of the frontier DC-3s - April 7, 2023
My first flight in a DC3 was from Seattle Boeing Field to Juneau AK in 1944. Then a skud running float plane flight to Haines AK. A fun trip for a 9 year old.
Wow! That sounds like quite the trip! A little bit further than my little “remember this” jaunt! That must have gotten you interested in aviation! I was interested for as long as I can remember. My first GAC flight was in a Twin Beech flying over the mountains of Colorado looking at my Dad’s uranium claims. He had a variety of interests…!
My first flight was at age 4 in a Super Connie. Dad was in the Army and had been assigned to the UK. My Mom made the flight with me and my older brother to join him in 1954. We returned to the States three years later aboard the SS United States!
Oh, I envy THAT flight! And a return trip on an ocean-going vessel! Must have impressed you at age four! We were pretty fortunate back then. Things have changed….a little…..
Then, at age 12, Dad was assigned to Greece and Mom took me and my two brothers on a DC-3 from Monterey, CA to SFO, then our first jet ride (a 707) on an overnighter to NY. After a two night stay in NY, we took another 707 to Germany, and then a DC-6 to Zurich and, finally, a DC-8 to Athens. That was the start of my ‘Flying Bug Bites’ that led both me and my older brother to become pilots.
Daughter was “stewardess”. We stopped in Djibouti where mom served lunch, and then reborded to go on to Addis. Those were the days
Those WERE they days! Great to have those memories! We didn’t know it so much at the time but were pretty fortunate to be able to travel like that! Those days are lost in time, unfortunately. Kids today get in the window seat and pull the shade down so they can see their laptop better…..
Amazing journey! Your Monterey to San Francisco was similar to my first DC-3 flight. 707! Amazing! Yes: I can see how that trip would cement your interest in aviation! I was the only one in my family who “caught the bug”. Bitten hard, too!
A DC-3 was the FIRST airplane in which I sat in the pilot’s seat. It was an Open House at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs — my brother sat in the CP seat and we touched every knob and instrument we could reach. My LAST flight in a Gooney Bird was in Vietnam when I rode in a C-47 (aDC-3 in uniform).
What a great airplane!
I was employed by Frontier Airlines in Denver, Co. I started in 1966 as a ships cleaner. The airline operated DC3s, Convair 580s and later DeHaviland Twin Otters, Boeing 727s and 737s. I upgraded to aircraft mechanic and years later I became a Ground School instructor teaching the pilots the Convair 580. I left shortly before the company went bankrupt. It was a GREAT company to work for. It felt like one big family.
Yes: things were SO different back then. I would bicycle the 15 miles up on the Mesa in Durango to the airport to watch airplanes come and go. I have pictures of the 580’s in Frontier garb and was amazed at TURBO power! The Twin Otters seemed like a step down to me but the -27s and -37s made me think they were a REAL airline! Not many people I talk to in the business now think it is so much a family. Another great thing lost in time…… I was talking to a United mechanic yesterday and didn’t know anyone I knew who worked for them….at the training center! One would think that would be a small community…..
Loved Frontier and the CV 580 out of C Springs. My first airplane ride on a Continental Viscount non stop C Springs to LAX. I was 8 years old. Came home on DC-6. As a farm kid even at 8 I had been around quite a few engines, I wasn’t real comfortable with all the belching and farting of those radials. We must have been IFR in engine smoke fog 30 seconds.
Ah, yes! Starting a radial is much different than starting other engines! But you can’t beat the magical SOUND of a radial engine spooling up! C Springs to LAX was over the Mountains! You must have been thrilled!
Great memories. While in pilot training at Webb in 1965 I flew with my mother on her first airplane flight from College Station to Houston to visit my brother who worked for NASA. I remember the climb up to our seats and the tiny airscoop in the window for ventilation (it was a bumpy 30 minute summer flight at around 3,000 ft.) She loved it. Later in 1967 returning from SEA I was assigned to the 33rd TFW. Still recovering from an F-4 ejection I flew C47s with base ops for a while. Wonderful old reliable aircraft.
Oh, yes! I well remember the climb up to our seats, even in the back! And that tiny window vent! Yes: reliable old airplanes that are STILL in service to this day! Says something about the original design!
Well, I guess we need to know about your hasty exit from and F-4……….! It got you into the C47, which is a little bit of a change!!
Enjoyed the article. I went to work at Frontier in Dec 1967 as a co-pilot on the DC-3. Enjoyed it so much as I had been flying the C-46’s previously. Great group of people to work with. Based in MKC (Kansas City downtown). When the decision was made later in 68 to park them the last flight was from MKC to Joplin,Mo to MKC. Douglas sent representatives and all kinds of fanfare being the last Part 121 Air Carrier DC-3 flight. I am know there still are 3’s out there and I would love to be flying one.
I was furloughed because of the “downsizing” of FAL, however continued flying for 3 more companies flying jets.. The 3 will always be at the top of the list though.
Bob, don’t know if you remember me. Three years flying DC-3s and C46s in Alaska. Frontier in 1966, DC 3 based
in PHX. CV 580/B737 Capt. in Den. Last flight home GTF/DEN 1986. Neighbor, current FL Capt. has a DC 3
in his hangar at our Air Park CO-12 Fly’s off our 4,200 runway., interesting ! Blue Sky’s
Terry, thanks for the reply. I was on the Curtis commando flying contract for the gov in the lower 48 and so America.
When I got furloughed I went to Denver and did a winter flying the 3 and DH Herron. Kept my hand in the DC3 world for a while. Had a lot of fun and interesting times with them.
Would love to get out there and see your neighbors.
It is amazing to me that there are so many -3’s still flying but not surprising as the airplane was so well designed and built! It blows my mind to see turboprop engines now hauling that “ancient” airframe around! Basler out of OSH is pushing them out as fast as they can build them! I need to convince someone that I need to pilot one sometime. I’ve flown a B-17 and Ford Trimotor. DC-3/C-47 also needs to be on that list!
A friend recently sent me a picture of a C-47 with the following script: “When the last 747 is flown to the boneyard, a C-47 will be there to fly the crew home.”
I responded; “True DAT!”
Now THAT’S funny! And SO TRUE!! I believe they will be flying until there is no more avgas to burn….!
Well, even then the turbo conversions will still be flying burning, probably, some sort of “green” Jet-A!
My first flight was on an airliner when I was 10 years old. The flight was on March 3, 1961. My family emigrated from Argentina to USA. The journey consisted of boarding a DC6B in Buenos Aires Argentina which made stops in Santiago Chile, La Paz Bolivia, Lima Peru, Panama Panama and Miami USA. The journey on the DC6B took over 33 hours. The last flight from Miami to our destination, Buffalo N.Y was on a Vickers Viscount.