The Douglas DC-2 was the production version of the DC-1, and helped to revolutionise the civil aviation industry in the mid 1930s. The DC-1 had been developed in response to a specification issued by TWA, which needed a modern airline to keep up with the Boeing Model 247s then being built for United Air Lines. Douglas responded to this specification with a twin engined low-winged monoplane, and after the prototype aircraft passed the airline’s tests TWA placed an order for twenty improved engines, with the designation DC-2 (Douglas Commercial Two).
The DC-2 was made two feet longer than the DC-1, making room for two more seats, giving the commercial version a total of 14. Over the course of its production run the DC-2 was powered by a variety of different Wright Cyclone engines, with between 710 and 875hp at take-off. It was also available in version powered by the Pratt & Whitney Hornet (DC-2A), while two were given Bristol Pegasus VIs. The DC-2 was a great success as an airliner. When it entered service on TWA’s transcontinental route it cut two hours off the journey time.
Douglas built a total of 193 DC-2s, of which 58 were built for the USAAC and 5 for the US Navy. Another 24 were taken over at the start of the Second World War, while the British Purchasing Commission bought 25.
R2D: Five DC-2s purchased by the US Navy as transport aircraft.
C-32: One standard DC-2 purchased by the USAAC and twenty-four commercial aircraft taken over during the war.
C-33: Eighteen custom built military transports, with a large cargo door
C-34: Two transports similar to the C-32
C-38: One prototype with the larger DC-3 tail
C-39: Thirty-five aircraft with the DC-3 tail and wing centre section
C-41: One transport similar to the C-39 for the Chief of Staff, Army Air Corps
C-42: One transport similar to the C-39, for the Commanding General of the Air Force GHQ
Statistics with most powerful engines
Engines: Wright SGR-1820-F52 Cyclone x2
Power: 875hp take-off
Wing span: 85ft 0in
Length: 61ft 11.75in
Height: 16ft 3.75in
Empty weight: 12,408lb
Loaded weight: 18,560lb
Maximum speed: 210mph at 8,000ft
Cruising speed: 190mph at 8,000ft
Service ceiling: 22,450ft
Normal range: 1,000 miles