Each section is heavily illustrated, using colour images where available and technical drawings. The manual ends with appendices the cover a range of related information. It is difficult to avoid praising this manual. Some information could be expanded, and has been in other books covering the history of military DC-3 operations, but it is hard to think of any questions that are not answered in the text and illustration. This is a manual that may prove as popular and long-lived as its subject.
NAME: Douglas DC-3 Dakota, 1935 onwards (all marks, Owners Workshop Manual
CLASSIFICATION: Book reviews
AUTHOR: Paul Blackah, Louise Blakah
PUBLISHER: Haynes Publishing
BINDING: Hard back
SUBJECT: DC-3, C-47, Douglas Dakota, airliner, airfreight, military transport, metal monoplane, paratrooper, Gooney Bird, Dak, BBMF, aviation design, Spooky
DESCRIPTION: For those who have already read Haynes military and aviation manuals, this manual fully comes up to expectations. For those to whom this is a new reading experience, there is a treat to come. The concept behind these manuals was revolutionary when the first were produced, but the publisher has been fully vindicated for introducing this new style of book for the subjects covered. The DC-3 was not truly ground-breaking, following on from its elder sister the DC-2 that was revolutionary. The DC-3 was an engineering refinement of the DC-2 design concept, Both aircraft flew at a time when most passenger and freight aircraft were still fabric covered biplanes and many were flying boats. The DC-3 introduced a new level of comfort and safety for its passengers. A low wing twin engine metal monoplane with retractable undercarriage and leading edge navigation and instrumentation, it is difficult now to fully understand just how much of a leap forward the DC-3 was. With a handful of original 1914-1918 War military aircraft still capable of flight at airshows, it is not that unusual for aircraft built in the mid 1930s to be preserved in airworthy condition. Most preserved aircraft of this period are warbirds and very few passenger and freight aircraft have survived. However, the DC-3 and its military variants are not only preserved in operation in some numbers, but many are still being employed in the roles they were designed to fill, more than 75 years later! Not only has the aircraft survived in service, it has been adapted for new roles long after other designs have passed into history. Through WWII, the DC-3 and its C-47 military configuration served with distinction in every theatre of war, carrying troops and supplies in all climatic conditions and flying over high mountain ranges. As a paratrooper, the aircraft was used to drop paratroops and tow assault gliders, but it was also used to parachute supplies into Drop Zones and Landing Zones to keep airborne troops supplied with food, ammunition, weapons and other supplies. Another vital role was in dropping weapons and equipment at night to partisans operating in enemy-held territory. On more than one occasion the aircraft was used to fly deep into enemy territory to land an pick up German rocket technology recovered by resistance fighters. At the end of WWII, the Dak was used to repatriate POWs and displaced persons. For many aircraft that was really the end of their working lives but the DC-3 was to prove a vital part of the airlift into Berlin when the Russians attempted to starve the West Berliners into submission and evict British, Canadian, American and French occupation troops from this island in Russian occupied East Germany. In the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the DC-3 continued in active service as a front line transport aircraft. In Vietnam it made its debut as a COIN aircraft carrying and array of heavy cannon to strike concentrations of hostile forces. Military forces continued to use the DC-3 long after the younger but long lived C-130 Hercules become available and the DC-3 continues on the strength of airforces into the 21st Century. In civil service, the Dak also continues to be employed, often in the most hostile conditions of the Arctic and the vast
areas of South America and Africa. Its rugged construction and reliable radial engines continues to prove essential to aviation in primitive areas and several DC-3s have been modified to use turbo-prop engines. Instrumentation and navcom equipment, leading-edge when the DC-3 entered service, has been updated and some DC-3s now boast glass cockpits with the latest lcd screen displays. It seems that the aircraft is immortal and indestructible. For the manual, the Dakota flown in the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight has been used as the basis of current maintenance work. The historical Introduction is also very well illustrated with photographs of the earlier career of the DC-3. The manual follows the now established Haynes format, having sections on the anatomy of the aircraft; the owner’s view; the crew’s view, and; the engineer’s view. Each section is heavily illustrated, using colour images where available and technical drawings. The manual ends with appendices the cover a range of related information. It is difficult to avoid praising this manual. Some information could be expanded, and has been in other books covering the history of military DC-3 operations, but it is hard to think of any questions that are not answered in the text and illustration. This is a manual that may prove as popular and long-lived as its subject.