What is it that some things give you that feeling of butterflies in your stomach? No I don't mean woman (even if mine has the same effect on me),  I mean things like cars, boats, planes. I guess you probably have to be a man to appreciate what I am talking about.  
Let me tell you how the DC-3 virus got into my system.
My father was an avid angler. When I was about 10 years old my father went on a fishing trip to Ireland with some of his fishing buddies. He flew with the  then recently formed charter airline Martin's Air Charter, MAC, now known as MartinAir in Holland, flying out of Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. He flew to Ireland on a DC-3. When he returned he told me about the plane. The interior was covered in wall paper, the stewardess couldn't get the door shut, so he had to help her close it and he was baffled by the fact that the compass was hanging on shoelaces above the dashboard. I loved that story and it stuck in my mind. I collected pics and other items from the numerous airline companies in Amsterdam and took frequent trips to Schiphol to take pictures. I have a large amount of scrapbooks from that period ( 1970's ).
When I was in the military service I was trained as a paratrooper and jumped the Fokker F-27 Troopship, the military version of the F-27 Friendship. I started sport-jumping after my military service and jumped a number of small planes, Cessna 182 and 206, Britten Norman Islander, Pilatus Porter. The Dutch Skydiving operation on Texel Island organized a 1 week Skydiving "boogie" which jumpers from all over Europe attended. The main attraction was an Air Atlantique DC-3, making it possible to jump big formations. A DC-3 in Holland to jump from was a first and I went there.
Walking around on the airport platform and seeing the DC-3 close-up for the first time got my blood pumping. The virus woke up. I managed to talk my way into the cockpit during each take-off and observed in awe how these pilots had to work to get this beautiful old lady skyward. I loved the sound and smell of this aircraft and I especially loved the way the plane was designed. Simple, rugged, purpose-build and beautiful all at the same time. There is no angle on this plane, both inside and out that doesn't look good. I knew it right then and there, this is the most beautiful plane in the world !
The next year there was another dc-3 from Air Atlantique on Texel and again I went. In those 2 years I made 41 jumps from these planes and to this day I am not sure what I liked most; the jumps themselves or the flight up there.
There was one flight that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I may be prejudice, but it wasn't for the fact that I was in a DC-3, I probably wouldn't be able to tell this story.
On take-off I was in my favorite place, right between the pilots. The captain powered up the engines and let go of the brakes. The plane started to slowly gather speed and drove over the mile long grass airstrip. Somehow it took a little longer than usual to get the tail up and I saw the pilots exchanging glances and checking the instruments. Normally we would lift of at about 2/3's the length of the runway. When we approached that point the pilot tried to ease back the yoke to get us of the ground. I could see that met with a lot of resistance and the pilots were startled and  started talking to each other. The end of the runway was getting nearer and all of a sudden the captain put his feet up on the instrument panel to brace himself and started pulling on the yoke with all his might.  He was a very small, thin man, but I could see the power he had in him. The copilot adjusted the throttles and kept them as far forward as possible and together they tried to shout and coax the plane airborne. I was nailed to the cockpit floor and saw the red and white doghouses that mark the end of the runway grow bigger and bigger. The gully, public road and sheep filled pasture just behind the end of the runway also looked uncomfortably close. I heard the engines scream, and suddenly felt a small judder go through the plane and the wheels left the ground. We passed over the doghouses and a car on the public road with inches to spare. The sheep in the pasture fled away as we came thundering low over them.
The captain managed to get the plane in a shallow climb, app 100-150 ft/min, which wasn't much. Luckily the land around the airport is flat with hardly any obstructions, apart from the odd farm and of course sheep. After reaching 1000 ft the captain left his seat and thundered into the pax cabin where all the anxious skydivers sat on the cabin floor. He started counting heads and got more upset the more he counted. The DC-3 was certified to carry 40 fully equipped skydivers. The payload of a DC-3 is higher but putting in more skydivers means moving the center of gravity backwards as well, which could make the plane unflyable.
The captain counted 52 skydivers!!!
After I had made my jump I saw the plane come in to land and the captain got out, raced to the organizer, a big, broad man, and gave him hell. I was a sight to behold; that small pilot shouting and jumping up and down and giving the big man hell. After that episode no flight left with more than 40 skydivers. I think I owe my life to that pilot off course but also to that wonderful airplane.
Later I quit skydiving and  started to fly. Small single engine planes, nothing like a DC-3 unfortunately. I quit flying about 7 years ago when my first child was born. Flying is expensive as is a family. The minimum 10 hours of flying a year to stay proficient actually isn't enough. I personally feel that you have to fly at least 20-30 hours a year to keep up the bare minimum skills. That proved to be to expensive so I quit flying. But the virus was still there.
About 6 years ago I decided I wanted to have a DC-3 propellor for our new house. My wife fortunately understands the beauty of the design of a polished Hamilton Standard 3 blade prop. I found one on Ebay, had it shipped to Holland, polished it and hung it in my house. I live in a converted shipyard building so I have the space to put up something big like a propellor.
About 3 years ago I started looking for a very nice big model of a DC-3. I couldn't find what I was looking for and decided to build my own.
While surfing the internet looking for a model I ran into all kinds of DC-3 stuff. One thing I found was a DC-3 instrument on Ebay. I bought it and that started a secondary madness; collecting DC-3 cockpit parts.
Please make a choice above for either the SAS model pages or the full size C47 pages.
Enjoy !
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