Ship 41 in Dallas, 2004
Delta Air Mail 24 logo

Delta Douglas DC-3 Ship 41


Only Delta passenger Douglas DC-3 in existence. Carefully restored by team of volunteers and Delta employees from 1995 to October 1999, to combine 1940 vintage style with modern avionics. No other DC-3 in the world restored with such attention to detail. See Restoration Photo Album.

Delta Service

Second-delivered DC-3 of Delta's order for five new planes from Douglas Aircraft Co. The first-delivered DC-3, Ship 40, named “City of Atlanta,” was being used for pilot training, so Ship 41 became the first DC-3 to carry Delta passengers. Entered scheduled service on December 24, 1940.

Delta gave Ship 41 a major update in early 1950s: added airstair door, moved galley forward of passenger door, moved lavatory to forward bag bin area, increased seat capacity from 21 to 25 passengers. New “white top” exterior paint scheme included Delta’s Flying D logo.

North Central Service

Ship 41 also flew for another airline in Delta’s family tree—North Central. 

Ship 41 retired from Delta service in April 1958, and was purchased by North Central Airlines, later part of Northwest Airlines. After leaving North Central, Ship 41 flew for many owners in continuous service over the next 35 years.


In 1990, a group of retirees led an effort to locate one of Delta's first five DC-3s. They were looking for an iconic plane to be part of a future Delta museum that would also showcase the Travel Air and artifacts from the Delta Archives.

They discovered Ship 41 in Puerto Rico, registered as N29PR and flying cargo for Air Puerto Rico. Delta acquired the plane in June 1993, and flew it back to company headquarters in Atlanta for restoration.


Generous donations to the restoration project included:

  • Zero-hour engines and accessories from JRS Enterprises in Minnesota
  • Landing gear and hydraulic valves from Basler of Oshkosh, Wisconsin
  • Radios from Collins


Flew to EAA's AirVenture in 2000, and won Judges' Choice “Lindy” Award for outstanding restoration. In 2001, first aircraft to earn National Trust for Historic Preservation award. 

More Information

Fox 5 NewsVirtual 360-degree 3D interior and exterior tour of Ship 41 in 2015

FlickrPhotos of Ship 41's restoration from airliner to museum showpiece

Air & Space Magazine: Article celebrating Ship 41, "Delta Queen: The world's most extensive restoration of a DC-3," May 2000

DC-3 Delta Ship 41 Fan Page: Stories, photos and owner history of Ship 41

YouTube: Video of Ship 41 in Los Angeles, during its Western Tour in 2000

YouTube: Video of Ship 41 take off in 2001


Delta DC-3 Ship 41

 Model: Douglas DC-3-357
Registration No.: NC28341
Serial No.: 3278
Manufactured Date: December 23, 1940
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company of Santa Monica, California
Wingspan: 95 ft.
Length: 64 ft., 6 in.
Height: 16 ft., 4 in.
Range: 1,400 statute miles
Cruise Speed: 170 mph
Occupants: 21 passengers and 3 crew
Maximum Weight: 25,200 lbs.
Engines: Wright Cyclone GR-1820G-202A with 3:2 reduction gearing
Thrust: 1,200 hp
Propeller: Hamilton Standard with three 6153A-18 blades with 23E50 hubs
Fuel Capacity: 822 gallons
Materials: Aluminum frame and “skin”; fabric-covered ailerons, rudder and elevators
Price when New: $115,000
Douglas Aircraft logo & Delta Ship #41
Ship 41 cabin before restoration