October 7, 2022
5/11/1934: the Douglas DC-2 Takes Flight

5/11/1934: the Douglas DC-2 Takes Flight

DALLAS – Today in Aviation, the Douglas DC-2 operated its maiden flight in 1934. In command was Douglas Test Pilot Carl Cover. 

The DC-2 was a larger, re-engined development of the DC-1. Douglas had developed the latter following a request from Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA). After six months of testing, the manufacturer modified the aircraft, and TWA ordered 20, becoming the launch customer.

According to the airline, legend has it that the deal between Douglas and Iberia for a pair of DC-2s was signed on a cigarette paper in Amsterdam. Photo: Iberia

Making its Mark

When it entered service with TWA on May 18, the type proved very popular with airlines and passengers alike. The airline placed the DC-2 on its “Sky Chief” overnight coast-to-coast flights. It would leave New York at 4 pm and arrive in Los Angeles at 7 am local time. Stops were made in Chicago, Kansas City, Missouri, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

The DC-2 set 19 American speed and distance records during its first six months of service.

KLM would operate 19 DC-2s from 1934 to 1946. Photo: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

MacRobetson Air Race

It also became the first Douglas airliner to enter service with a foreign airline. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KL) entered its maiden example ‘Uiver’ (PH-AJU) into the 1934 MacRobetson Air Race from London to Melbourne.

Uiver flew 9,000 miles (14,484 km) along KLM’s regular route, 1,000 miles (1,609 km) longer than the official route. It carried passengers and mail, got lost during a thunderstorm, and stuck in the mud during a diversionary landing. The aircraft finished in second place after a total journey time of 90 hours and 13 minutes.

Douglas would build 130 civilian versions of the DC-2 and 62 for the US military between 1934 and 1937 before the renowned DC-3 took over.

Featured image: The Douglas DC-2 was developed for TWA but became hugely popular with airlines worldwide. Photo: SDASM Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Writer, aviation fanatic, and Airways European Deputy Editor, Lee is a plant geek and part-time Flight Attendant for a UK-based airline. Based in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

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