Dave Johnson’s Dakota DC-3

Dave’s 20% scale DC-3 has been seen impressing the crowds at many LMA shows. This page shows some pictures of the model and details of its construction.

In 1934 American Airlines was beginning to consider a US transcontinental air service. To achieve this an enlarged version of the Douglas DC-2 was requested. The DC-3 was developed and first flew on 17th December 1935. It had a long and distinguished career in many fields. It began life as a commercial airliner, but was widely used in WWII to transport troops and cargo. The two main variants were the C-53 Skytrooper paratroop transport and the C-47 Skytrain. For carrying up to 28 paratroopers, the interior was fitted with fold-down bucket seats hinged to the walls. In its cargo role, the interior was fitted with pulleys for lifting and moving up to 6000 lbs of cargo. There were many variations and conversions made to the plane to fit a variety of roles. For example, it was used as a glider tug. The 10000 DC-3 was delivered in 1945. A few Dakotas remained in military service until 1957. In its civilian role it could carry 28 passengers. A few Dakotas are still in use today as both a passenger and transport aircraft.

The plane was built by starting with enlarged Nick Zeroli plans. The construction of the model was started in early 1998 by Dave Baker doing some cutting of foam for the fuselage and wings. The model is predominately foam, but has hardwood spars and is covered in veneer. Solartex forms the final covering which was sprayed in cellulose paint. The model was completed in October 1998 having taken most of the year. The scale retractable undercarriage and fixed tail wheel were built by Ray Smith and Clive Goodier.

The paintwork was originally going to be based on an aircraft from Southern Airlines. However Dave temporarily had Johnson Airlines painted on the plane has has got used to having his own airline!

The specification of the model is:


Doesn’t this look real! (Cosford 2001)


In flight. (Cosford 2001)


Through the door you can just see the box and switches with twin receivers placed on top for easy access.


Dave with his DC3.

Shop online with the LMA

For event tickets, merchandise and more visit our online shop.

Take me to the shop!