C-41 2019-07-03T09:46:06-05:00

Project Description








Role:  Passenger & military transport

National Origin: United States

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company

First Flight: 1936

Primary User: Commercial Airlines & US Army Air Corps

Number Built: 607

The Douglas C-41 was the designation given to a single transport aircraft produced as a transport for the Chief of Staff of the Army Air Corps, and that was probably the first DC-3 to be purchased for the USAAC.
Most sources state that the C-41 was based on the DC-2 and was similar to the C-39 with the fuselage and outer wing of the DC-2 and the central wing section, engine nacelles and tail unit of the DC-3, but differing from the C-39 in having a standard airline passenger door instead of the cargo door, and more powerful R-1830 Twin Wasp engines which increased its top speed by 10mph, but its cruising speed by nearly 50mph.
However the aircraft itself still exists (complete with the Douglas Data Plate).

Modern photographs of the aircraft (N41HQ) match USAAF pictures of the C-41, and front views of the aircraft show very clearly that it has the rounded fuseage of the DC-3, not the flat sided fuselage of the DC-2/ C-39. Interior shots show that it can fit three seats across, again matching the DC-3, not the DC-2. Its Douglas serial number (2053) comes in the middle of a run of DC-3s (but just before the C-39). The reported Douglas designation for the aircraft was DC-2-253, but the -253 designation was also used for at least one DC-3A. The C-41 is very obviously a DC-3, despite being ordered amongst a batch DC-2 variants (its military serial number of 38-502 is in the middle of the range allocated to the C-39 and the sole C-42 (38-499 to 38-535).

The C-42 was also a staff transport, again said to be based on the DC-2/ C-39 (photographs of this aircraft show the flatter fuselage sides of the DC-2). This would suggest that the C-41 and C-42 were deliberately ordered to test out the capabilities of the DC-3 and DC-2 as staff transports (it is also possible that the DC-2-253 designation was a contemporary typo, or that Douglas used the DC-3 as the basis of the C-41 in an attempt to sell the newer aircraft to the Air Corps).
The C-41 was based at Washington, and for some time was used by General Henry “Hap” Arnold. The second DC-3 to be purchased for the Army Air Corps was designated the C-41A, and was also used by senior staff.

General characteristics

  • Crew: Two
  • Capacity: 21 to 32 passengers
  • Length: 64 ft 8 in (19.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 2 in (29.0 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,045 lb (1,384 kg)
  • Gross weight: 25,199 lb (11,430 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 822 gal. (3736 l)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,100 hp (820 kW) each
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cyl. air-cooled two row radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard 23E50 series, 11 ft 6 in (3.51 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 200 kn; 370 km/h (230 mph) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m)
  • Cruise speed: 180 kn; 333 km/h (207 mph)
  • Stall speed: 58.2 kn (67 mph; 108 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 23,200 ft (7,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft (125 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (156.5 W/kg)