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Aircraft Make & Model:
Douglas C-47
MTOW:
25,200
Range:
Speed:
173 mph
Seats:
Length:
Wingspan:
Height:
Engines:
HP or Thrust:
No. flown by DL:
3
RoutesFlown:
All-cargo flights in 1947 initially between Atlanta, Cincinnati and Chicago.
Advantages:
Drawbacks:
First Delivery:
November 6, 1945
First Scheduled Service:
1946
Reason Aquired:
Cargo capacity for Delta's new air freight service.
Last Retirement:
1957
Reason Disposed:
Not enough capacity to remain competitive.

Narrative:  Douglas C-47 1946-1957

Modified version of the Douglas DC-3 with a reinforced fuselage floor and large cargo door. Delta acquired these "Flying Freighters" to support new cargo services. 

Delta established a Cargo Department in 1945. Became the first airline to fly living vegetable plants with an experimental shipment of 160,000 live tomato plants in an "unconverted military freighter." Cargo bins of passenger DC-3's bulged with express shipments of newspapers, shrimp and small packages.

Once wartime restrictions eased, Delta officially launched its air freight business on August 15, 1946, and scheduled C-47 all-cargo flights started in 1947. With initial service between Atlanta, Cincinnati and Chicago, Delta offered the first all-cargo scheduled service between northern U.S. and Atlanta. Frequent early shipments included magazines, shrimp, mushrooms, flowers and car parts.

By mid 1950s, the C-47 was too small for Delta's cargo service which had grown 724% between 1947 and 1956. Replaced in 1957 by all-cargo Curtiss C-46 freighters with double the payload capacity of the C-47.

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