Sunday 18 August 2019

WATCH: Stunning aerial views of Dublin to Bray from one of the world's oldest aircraft

Donal Corkery & Pól Ó Conghaile

The Douglas DC-3 is a piece of aviation history, and this weekend, one will take to the skies over Bray in vintage Aer Lingus livery.

"The DC-3 is probably one of the most significant transport aircraft of all time," Eamon Power, an aviation historian who has worked for Aer Lingus for 46 years, told in a flight over Dublin this week.

While we got a bird's-eye view of the city and coast, punters at the Bray Air Display ( this weekend will be able to see it passing over the strand and promenade in old-school Aer Lingus colours.

First introduced in 1936, the DC-3 is a fixed-wing, propeller-driven airliner that served as a US military workhorse during World War II and took commercial air transport to a whole new level in the 1930s and '40s.

Its flight over Dublin harks back to another era - as the backbone of Aer Lingus's fleet from 1946 to 1958, DC-3s carried just 21 to 32 passengers.

"A Dublin Paris route was started in 1946 and it took three hours and 20 minutes," as Power recalls. "The same route is done in roughly half the time today on an Airbus A320," he adds by comparison.

At one point, Aer Lingus had 14 DC-3s on its books at a single time, and it operated five of the aircraft up to 1963 - helping it to become a viable airline, and ensuring the DC-3's central role in the story of Irish aviation.

Today, DC-3s are mostly a museum piece, though remarkably some remain in use - as cargo carriers in South America, for example.

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