Friday, October 21, 2011

From Santa Monica to South America

With the overwhelming success of the Douglas DC-1 (see last week's post), TWA immediately ordered 25 DC-2s. The subject of our post today is DC-2-112 NC13719 (c/n 1245), which was the nineth DC-2 built. Like the DC-1 photos featured last week, this image came in a stack of vintage Douglas photographs, presumably from the estate of a Douglas employee.

The DC-2 is seen here at Clover Field, in Santa Monica, the home of the Douglas Aircraft Corp. Because she was delivered to TWA on July 20, 1934, this photo of it at Santa Monica was probably taken sometime just before that.
TWA operated NC13719 for about three years, where it wore fin number 309, and then sold it along with several sister aircraft, to Braniff on July 29, 1937, where it was assigned fin number 409.

With WWII in full swing and the need for air transportation assets at an all-time high, NC13719 was one of 24 commercial DC-2s that were "drafted" by the Defense Supply Corp. in June 1942 and almost immediately transferred to the Army Air Corps; there it was designated a C-32A and assigned the serial number 42-61096. A year later, she was back at TWA, since the carrier had contracted with the Army Air Corps to provide pilot training using Army aircraft.

In September 1944, with newer aircraft now available, the DC-2 was considered surplus, and started hopping from one South American airline to another. First, it was sold to Transportes Aéreos Centroamericanos (TACA) in Mexico, and then in August 1945 to Aerovias Brasil S.A. Empresa de Transportes in Rio de Janeiro. In April, '46 it was transfered to its final owner, Aerovias S.A. Belo Horizonte. On February 5, 1947 the venerable DC-2 crashed at Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, although without any fatalities.

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