After nearly four weeks of battles, the Douglas DC-3 beat out the F4U Corsair by a vote of 1,255 to 919 to win this year’s AOPA Best Aircraft Showdown, sponsored by Aero-Space Reports.
The DC-3, which came out of the Eastern bracket, faced stiff competition from general aviation favorites including the Cessna 172, the Beechcraft King Air, and the Spitfire.
In the Southeastern bracket, the Corsair beat out aircraft including the PBY Catalina, the Beechcraft Baron, and the de Havilland Beaver. The Corsair was the definitive winner in every round.
In the “Four on Final,” round the DC-3 managed to beat out the Piper J-3 Cub by 258 votes, while the Corsair overtook the Cessna 182 by 225 votes, leading to the final showdown.
Commenter Conor Dancy summed up the competition thusly: “These are my two favorite airplanes. If I won the lottery I'd buy both.”
But Anthony Clark took exception with the final two picks. “What a ridiculous matchup! [It] should be the Bonanza and the 182 in the final round. We're talking general aviation, right?” he asked. “A Corsair and a DC-3 are only general aviation in fantasy land.”
Alexa Kovnat came out strong for the DC-3. “I have the greatest respect for the two principal American single radial-engine fighters of WWII, the Corsair and P-47 series Thunderbolt. Yet I voted for the DC-3 because I believe it to be one of the most versatile airframes ever made,” he stated. “Not until the C-130 series Hercules, did we see as good an airframe for so many purposes.”
E. James Harrison rooted for a Corsair win. “Although I've logged lots of hours in a 182, the Corsair gets my vote. My father-in-law was a mechanic on the F4U Corsair (in the Marines) during the Korean War and spins lots of yarn about this venerable old airplane,” he wrote. “It gets my vote out of respect for the man and the machine.”
The DC-3 now joins the P-51 Mustang in the Best Aircraft Showdown Hall of Fame.