The Spirit of Santa Monica
Between 1920 and 1975, Donald Douglas’ company—and a southern California city—helped shape aviation history.
- By The Editors
- Air & Space magazine, April 2012
Courtesy Bill Wasserzieher
His name is synonymous with transport aircraft, and Donald Wills Douglas built some beauties: the 12-passenger, all-metal DC-1; the DC-2, for which Douglas was awarded the Collier Trophy in 1935; and the DC-3, the aircraft that made commercial air travel popular—and profitable. But the engineering genius was also known for his love of the arts, and for idiosyncracies like playing bagpipes around the office, in honor of his Scottish heritage.
Forty-five years ago this month, Douglas Aircraft Company and McDonnell Aircraft merged to form McDonnell Douglas (which many years later merged with Boeing). In recognition of the Douglas Aircraft Company and the many men and women who worked there, the Douglas White Oaks Ranch Trust has published Douglas: The Santa Monica Years. See the gallery above for more photos from the book. All images and text used by permission.
Above, a Pacific Northern Airlines (later Western Airlines) DC-3 flies over snow-capped peaks.