The World's Most Reliable Aircraft Teamed With the Most Reliable Engine
In 1976, Missionary Flights upgraded to our first Douglas DC-3, and it was a BIG step of faith.¬† By the same faith we claimed our second DC-3, then a third and fourth.¬† Finally, in January of 2003, Missionary Flights purchased our first turbine DC-3.¬† After a few weeks of maintenance inspections and FAA approval, the turbine DC-3 was placed into¬†service to Haiti and the Dominican Republic in June, 2003.¬† Since then, the aircraft has proven to be an extremely reliable and valuable tool for MFI. ¬†We have transported¬†thousands of affiliated missionaries and their guests and literally tons of personal items, supplies and letters¬†to the mission field.¬† It was soon apparent that MFI needed to upgrade to¬†all turbine aircraft.¬† In 2010¬†we praised the Lord¬†when we were able to¬†purchase a second turbine DC-3.¬† In the fall of 2011 after a year of restoration that second¬†turbine DC-3 was put into service for missions.¬†Now that we have been¬†operating two turbine DC-3's our operation is much more efficient and cost effective.¬†Because the standard piston-engine DC-3's are so much less efficient, we have sold all of them¬†except for one¬†that still needs some additional work before it can be flown again.¬†¬†
The difference is obvious from this angle!
The original DC-3 airplane was designed to operate daily out of unimproved airfields with little maintenance support.¬† For this reason, several companies have converted the original DC-3's by adding a 40" section to the cabin and installing two modern and proven Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turbo-prop engines.¬† This effectively breathes new life into this workhorse.¬† Fully loaded the turbine DC-3 climbs to cruise altitude within minutes and allows for faster groundspeeds, larger¬†capacity, and greatly reduces the maintenance required for each flight.
The turbo-prop engines are a vast maintenance and performance improvement over the original DC-3 radial engines.¬† These airplanes can routinely carry up to 7,000 pounds, a 27% increase in load capacity while averaging close to 40 knots (46 MPH) faster while only burning 30% more fuel.
Modern navigation and communication radios are installed, and of course the turbo-prop engines and associated systems are installed.¬† As you can see from the chart below, there is quite a difference between the two airplanes!