Historical Snapshot

DC-5/C-110 Transport

The twin-engine DC-5 was the only DC-series aircraft designed by Ed Heinemann, creator of the A-4 Skyhawk, in the El Segundo plant in California. With its high-wing, the DC-5 was more similar to the DB-7 bomber than the previous DC airliners.

The DC-5 prototype and four production DC-5s were built before World War II. The 16-seat airliner featured innovative tricycle landing gear and was intended for shorter routes, but by the time it entered service in 1940, the war was under way.

Only five civilian DC-5s were built as the Douglas Aircraft Co. turned its attention to military airplanes; William Boeing bought the prototype for his personal use. It later served with the U.S. Navy as the R3D-3. KLM bought the other four airplanes, and these were used to evacuate civilians from Java to Australia in 1942. One was captured by the Japanese, one was scrapped after a landing accident, and two later joined the U.S. Army Air Forces as C-110s.

The DC-5 entered service with the U.S. Navy and seven were built as R3Ds. Three R3D-1s became 16-seat personnel carriers, and the four R3D-2s with the U.S. Marine Corps became 22-seat paratrooper versions of the plane.

    Technical Specifications

    First flight Feb. 20, 1939
    Wingspan 78 feet
    Length 62 feet 2 inches
    Height 19 feet 10 inches
    Operating altitude 23,700 feet
    Range 1,600 miles
    Weight 20,000 pounds
    Power plant Two 900-horsepower Wright Cyclone engines
    Speed 202 mph
    Accommodation 16 to 22 passengers