The iconic DC-3’s speed, range and passenger capacity made the airlines profitable.
Ship 41 is the only remaining Delta passenger DC-3.

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On December 24, 1940, Ship 41 became the first DC-3 to carry Delta passengers. A flight from Atlanta to Ft. Worth, took six hours, made four stops and cost $38.50 one way or $69.30 roundtrip, in today’s dollars that translates to about $643 and $1,158.

A major update in 1950 reconfigured the cabin to seat 24 passengers, added an Airstair door, water fountain, luggage racks and new “white top” exterior paint scheme.

Ship 41 retired from the Delta fleet in April 1958. She later flew for North Central Airlines, now affiliated with Delta through Northwest Airlines.

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View the dramatic transformation of Ship 41 from a cargo plane flying freight in Puerto Rico in the early 1990s, to the award-winning museum showpiece on view today.

Compare “then and now” photos of the exterior, cockpit, engine nacelles or housings, cabin interior and galley after restoration was completed in 1999.

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Ship 41 was restored over five years by a dedicated group of 100 volunteers and Delta employees. The last remaining Delta passenger DC-3 in existence combines 1940's vintage style with modern avionics. No other Douglas DC-3 in the world has been restored with such attention to detail.

Generous donations to the Ship 41 Restoration Project included:

  • Zero-hour engines and accessories from JRS Enterprises of Minnesota.
  • Landing gear and hydraulic valves from Basler of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
  • Radios from Collins.


“Our first DC-3s carried 21 passengers. This airplane became the backbone of all the airlines. It was really what made the airlines.”

A Delta pilot, airport customer service agent and flight reservations agent recall Delta’s DC-3 service in the early 1940s.

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Ship 41’s sister, Ship 40, was christened with a bottle of Coca-Cola and named “City of Atlanta,” by Atlanta-born actress Jane Withers, on November 29, 1940. The name celebrated Delta’s new hometown Atlanta, where Delta officially moved its headquarters in March 1941.

Ship 40 was Delta’s first DC-3 off the Douglas assembly line. It was initially used for pilot training, and so Ship 41 became Delta’s first DC-3 to carry passengers.