The Gooney Bird. Dumbo. The Beast. The Douglas DC-3’s range of nicknames is just one indication of its legendary status as a military and civilian heavy hauler. Introduced in the mid 1930s with American Airlines, the airplane is still in commercial service today in some parts of the world.
Lance Toland owns one of the more than 16,000 that were built. Toland is based at Malcolm McKinnon Airport on St. Simons Island, Georgia, and his serves as a sort of Sunday joyrider. Although Douglas could have never imagined that one of its airplanes would sit in a personal hangar almost seven decades later, Toland says the airplane is a joy to fly on local sightseeing tours. It’s this and his ability to show it off to kids that makes the difficult job of keeping it flying worth the trouble.