Sunday, January 06, 2008

DC-3 Performance and Type Ratings with Dan Gryder

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64 feet long. 95 feet wingtip to wingtip. 17 feet tall at the tail. 18,300 lbs. empty and more than 25,000 lbs. max gross. Two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-series engines generating 1,200 horsepower each. Manufactured in 1937. A gorgeous airliner and an unmistakable emissary from the golden age of aviation.

It’s a Douglas DC-3 and, unless you count the C-47 Skytrain, there’s nothing else like it. Few of these workhorses of the cargo and passenger operations of the 1940s remain. But you can fly one. In fact, you can get a type rating in one. That’s right. A type rating in an airliner.

Dan Gryder is a 757 and 767 pilot for a major airline. He has more than 11,000 flight hours and type ratings in numerous large aircraft. He’s been a flight instructor for more than 25 years and is a CFI, CFII, MEI , ATP GOLD SEAL and AGI. But the most interesting thing about Dan is that he’s the pilot of the Herpa Miniature Models DC-3.

No, the DC-3 that he flies isn’t a model, unless you count 1:1 scale as a model. But it’s painted in the Herpa livery and you can get a darned fine smaller version from Herpa.

And, even cooler, Dan will move over to the right seat and train you to fly this icon of American aviation.

To say that we were intrigued would be an understatement. So we called Dan and asked him to join us here on Airspeed to talk about the DC-3, where you can see it at airshows, and how one goes about getting a type rating in the aircraft. We caught him late at night after he had spent most of the day out in the Three with several students.

[Interview audio.]

Contact Dan:

The DC-3 NET
147 Sky Harbor Way
Griffin, Ga 30223
Training Page:

Contact Herpa:

Herpa Miniaturmodelle GmbH
Leonrodstreet 46-47
90599 Dietenhofen

Herpa Miniaturmodelle Douglas DC-3 (

the image that leads this entry is used by permission.

1 comment:

Rick Marriner said...


(Sorry for the slew of comments, it is a slow day in the office and my head is in the clouds and nose in the FAR/AIM.)

Thanks for the podcast regarding the DC-3. After that episode, I was rooting around my wallet for a spare $14,000 to go get my "tail dragger" rating in that beauty. No luck just yet. But, boy-o-boy that would about do it for my "hanger cred" if I had that rating in the back of my log book. In reality, I need to take one thing at a time, but boy that would be sweet to be in the left seat of that old bird. I liked your off the cuff comment about, "Yeah, I have a tail-dragger rating... in a DC-3."

Thanks again,

Student Pilot Rick
Houston, Texas

Current Logbook:
70 landings
13.0 flight hours