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Help Understanding DC-3 Serials?

Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:17 am

G'day all,

I'm wondering if anyone can help me out with this. I have noticed DC-3s have two serial/construction numbers, such as this one below:

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c/n: 15699/27144

I am wondering what the two numbers mean - since Douglas built 10,654 DC-3s, I can't see either being a construction line number...

Thanks for any light that can be shed on this,

"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
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RE: Help Understanding DC-3 Serials?

Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:37 am

Aircraft actually have two numbers assigned to them of official record. One is the manufacturer's serial number and the other is the aircraft's individial ICAO aircraft address code. 15699 may well be the aircraft's construction line number. Douglas had other aircraft models in production prior to the debut of the DC-3 and it may be that other blocks of construction line numbers were reserved for those aircraft.
"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
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RE: Help Understanding DC-3

Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:07 pm

Hi VirginFlyer, Buzz here. There's a DC-3 web site you might ask,, Trev might know somebody who can answer the question. There's a large book by Gradige (not the right spelling) that lists all the serial numbers / tail numbers of the DC-3's. I saw a copy of the book once.
Neither of those 2 numbers make a lot of sense to me. I've worked on a couple DC-3's in the last 10 years. One was serial 1997, she's a pre-WW2 DC-3 (N136PB / NC18121) and the other is a converted C-47, serial number 9040 (N84KB).
There were a few different plants constructing C-47's back then, That one might have been from the Douglas plant at Tulsa Oklahoma. The 2 DC-3 that i know well came from the Santa Monica plant and Long Beach plant.
Buzz Fuselsauage: Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 Crew chief by choice, taildragger pilot for fun
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RE: Help Understanding DC-3 Serials?

Sat Dec 18, 2004 7:43 am

I believe the reason was that accidentally, the same sequence of construction numbers was allocated to C-47s built in two different plants during WW2. In order to regularise matters, a second series of numbers was allocated to the aircraft in one of these batches, to overcome the problem that the duplication had caused.

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