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The DC3s

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a group of children watching people around a DC-3 aircraft

The DC-3 aircraft were the first ones that were able to carry enough passengers to help the airlines break free of their reliance on airmail and cargo to recover costs. DC-3s could hold 21 passengers in addition to mail and cargo. The airplane's good safety record helped encourage even more passenger traffic.

The DC-3 has been called the plane that changed the world. Able now to make money carrying passengers, airlines swarmed to use the DC-3 and it quickly became the most popular carrier in the United States. 

a group of people boarding an American Airlines DC-3 aircraft
American Airlines helped encourage the construction of the DC-3 aircraft and employed many in its fleet.

The 1,000 horsepower engines could propel the plane from east to west coast in a mere 16 hours.