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Piedmont Airlines Douglas DC-3 N44V (Military Serial 42-4545)

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Award Winning DC-3

Few in the aviation community need an explanation of the importance of the Douglas DC-3. This aircraft created the world's first affordable and reliable air transport from its introduction in 1935, and was a key aircraft through the mid-1950s.Universally recognized as one of the greatest aircraft ever built, the DC-3 traces its proud lineage back to the early 1930s.

Boeing had introduced the modern airliner, the Model 247, in 1933. Its availability was initially limited to United Airlines. American Airlines asked Donald Douglas to counter the 247. His response was the DC-2, which quickly evolved into the DC-3 of which one stands before you now. The DC-3 was a significant improvement over its Boeing counterpart in speed, efficiency and passenger comfort and quickly left its rival in the dustbin of history.

Over 10,500 of these remarkable airplanes were built, and over six-decades later, several hundred of these rugged and durable airplanes still fly, many on a daily basis. The Museum's DC-3 is an award-winning classic example that was restored and flown by Piedmont Airlines in original airline configuration to air shows and other public events.

Ex-Military, Restored by Piedmont Airlines

It was built for the United States Army Air Force in 1942 as a C-47 cargo airplane (Serial Number 42-4545), After the war the aircraft was sold as surplus and used to carry cargo by a number of operators (see ownership history below). Then in 1986, Piedmont Airlines acquired the aircraft and restored it to its original airline configuration. During this restoration, Piedmont Airlines added color weather radar and other modern avionics. These modern technologies will enable us to continue to safely and reliably operate this aircraft well into the future. The exterior was painted in the color scheme and insignia used by Piedmont from 1948 to 1963. In the process, the aircraft’s civil registration (N) number was changed to N44V. N44V was the number of the fifth DC-3 purchased by Piedmont Airlines. (Photo: Piedmont Arilines Founder Mr. Tom Davis flying the Museum's DC-3).

After restoration, Piedmont, and then US Air flew this aircraft as a corporate relations aircraft until 1996. The Museum then purchased the aircraft from US Air with the assistance of many sponsors, including many ex-Piedmont Airlines employees. Since then the Museum has continued to fly the aircraft to air shows and for movie work.


Piedmont Airlines - Longest US Operator of DC-3s

Piedmont Airlines was "the" classic example of "the" classic DC-3 operator. For Piedmont, the DC-3 built the airline. On February 20th, 1948, the first flight took off from Wilmington, NC, and continued on to Cincinnati, Ohio, stopping at cities such as Winston-Salem, NC along the way. Eventually, Piedmont Airlines operated 24 of these magnificent aircraft, with the final flight occurring exactly fifteen years to the date of the first flight with the airline.

(Image: Print by Sam Lyon (a well known aviation artist). This print depicts Piedmont Airlines first flight on the first day of operation, February 20, 1949 on it's stop in Charlotte, North Carolina. Everything depicted is authentic. Mr. Tom Davis (in front of the DC-3) is talking with the Purser (flight attendant) and the two pilots at the door.  The ladies are Piedmont Airlines people that were called out for a publicity picture. They are real people that are still around.  All of the ground equipment that is shown is authentic for the time and location. - These prints are available for purchase from our Museum gift shop.)


Air Shows & Public Events

Each year the museum continues to fly the aircraft to a number of air shows and other public events across the eastern United States. Some of our movie work has even taken us as far as Montreal Canada.

(Photo: - Move mouse over photo at left to see second photo - First Photo - DC-3 right side engine in fight over North Carolina. Second Photo: Interior of passenger cabin).

100th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers, December 17th 2003, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Late in the afternoon of December 17th, 2003, our DC-3 was one of less than 30 civilian aircraft that had the honor of flying past the Wright Brothers Monument at Kitty Hawk. Piloted by retired Piedmont Airlines Captain Howard Miller and Scott Edwards (US Airways, former Piedmont Airlines), flew past the monument

Ownership History


Manufactured for United States Army Air Force Serial 42-4545 Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach, California as a C-47-DL, AAF 41-38606. Cost to the Government was $104,314.00

First Flight. Test flown at Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach, California Facility
Flown to Mobile Air Depot Modification Center, Mobile, Alabama
Aircraft assigned to Memphis AP, Tennessee
Aircraft assigned to Selfridge Army Air Field, Mississippi
Aircraft assigned to Pope Field, North Carolina
Aircraft assigned to Dodd Field, Texas
Aircraft assigned to Stuggart Army Air Field, Arizona
Aircraft assigned to Victorville Army Air Field, California
Aircraft assigned to Stuggart Army Air Field, Arizona
Aircraft assigned to Nashville AP, TN
(Official Army Air Force records indicate the aircraft MAY have served in Europe briefly.
Aircraft surveyed at Sedalia, MO
Declared War Surplus – FAA Registration N15585 Assigned


Purchased by Internal Airlines, Chicago, Ill



Purchased by Horace B Baird, Stockton, CA


Purchased by Executive Air Service, Stockton, CA


Purchased by Reg. L Roberts, Houston, TX


Purchased by Vincent & Welch, Inc., Lake Charles, LA


Purchased by Forest Leasing Corp, Bradford PA


Changed Registration Number from N15585 to N1916


Purchased by Forest Oil Co, Bradford, PA


Purchased by Crutcher Resources Corp., Houston TX


Purchased by Crutcher-Rolfs-Cummings, Houston, TX


Purchased by Wayne W Connley, Floresville, TX


Purchased by Crutcher-Rolfs-Cummings, Houston, TX


Changed Registration Number from N1916 to N555CR


Purchased by Aviation Investors, Inc., Nederland, TX


Purchased by James W Webb & Russell Meek (Air Exec Co)


Purchased by Cape Central Airways, Cape Girardeau, MO


Purchased by Basler flying Service, Oshkosh, WI


Purchased by National Aviation Consultants, Breslau, ON Canada


Aircraft registered to Big Bear Services, Inc, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Third emergency window exit installed
Aircraft sold to Basler Flight Service, Oshkosh, WI by Kushniruk Aircraft Sales, Ltd. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Aircraft imported from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Canadian registration C-GQHK removed from Canadian Civil Aircraft Register
Aircraft assigned FAA registration number N46BF
Purchased by Piedmont Aviation, Inc. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
FAA registration number N44V released to Piedmont Aviation, Inc. by Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. This number was reserved by Gulfstream but never used.
Request made to change N46BF to FAA registration number N44V
10/1986 ~ 03/1987
Numerous changes and improvements made to aircraft exterior and interior by Basler Flight Service, Oshkosh, WI and by Piedmont Aviation, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC Aircraft painted in Piedmont Airlines marking by Goodier Brothers, Inc., Mena, AR
Instrument Panel Reworked, with new flight director and radios installed
Aircraft sold to Piedmont Aviation Services, Inc. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Aircraft sold to USAir Leasing & Services, Inc., Arlington, Virginia
Preventive wing doublers installed in accordance with FAA Airworthiness Directive 92-06-15
Aircraft sold to Carolinas Historic Aviation Commission, Richfield, North Carolina
Total Airframe Hours: 14,010


Technical Specifications

 Type: Commercial Airliner

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Corporation


Engine Type :Two Pratt & Whitney R-1820-94

Twin Wasp radials @1,350hp


Wingspan: 95 feet 6 inches

Length: 63 feet 9 inches

Height: 16 feet11 inches

Takeoff wt. empty/max. 16,800 lbs. / 25,000 lbs.


Maximum speed: 230 mph @ 8,500 feet

Cruise speed :173 mph

Range :1,500 miles


21 to 28 passengers

or 14 passengers with sleeping provisions

Production: 10,636

Crew: 4 (Pilot, Co-Pilot & 2 Stewardesses)


Owned and Operated by Carolinas Historic Aviation Commission


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