Aviation Historian 1
M.O'Leary - The tragedy of Flight Three
Clark Gable photographed beside Boeing B-17 Delta Rebel No 2
In his distinctive white overalls, a TWA groundcrew member marshals a Douglas DST (note the upper cabin windows) into position, probably just before the entry of America into the Second World War. The airline introduced the DST and its 21-seat non-sleeper variant, the DC-3, into service in the summer of 1937.
A pre-war line-up of TWA hardware at Burbank, California. Nearest the camera is a Douglas DC-3, beyond which is a DST with a DC-2 behind it. All sport the legend “The Lindbergh Line”, the famous aviator having joined one of TWA’s predecessors, Transcontinental Air Transport, in 1928.
With the USA’s entry into the war TWA repainted the fuselages of its DC-3s, replacing the Lindbergh Line legend with exhortations to buy war bonds. The DC-3-362 Lombard was travelling in, c/n 3295, was built as NC1951 but the registration was cancelled on February 7, 1941, the machine becoming NC1946/ “387” in TWA service.
This extraordinary photograph of a DC-3 dwarfed by Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, gives an impression of the sheer scale of the scenery through which aircraft had to pass in the pioneering days of the early American airlines.
With the arrival in Hollywood of the tragic news, Gable chartered a Western Air Lines DC-3 and flew to Las Vegas with a group of the couple’s close friends and studio executives.
The Lombard party was flying aboard a DC-3 arranged in TWA’s Sky Club configuration, which did not have the Sky Sleeper DST’s overnight berths, but instead offered plenty of room and comfortable seating.