Power settings from the 1953 Piedmont DC-3 Flight Manual

Flying the DC-3/C-47 “by the Numbers”

Take-Off RPM MP
Take-Off 2700 48″
Climb 2350 36″
Cruise 2050 30″
Descend 1 2050 20″
Descend 2 1700 18″

The DC-3, like all aircraft, should be “flown by the numbers.” To get from one airport to another the pilot must takeoff at the proper speed, climb and descend at established rates and airspeed, maintain desired headings and altitudes, navigate from one airport to another, perhaps perform an instrument approach to an airport, and land in a variety of wind and runway-surface conditions. 

A typical flight has seven segments: 

  • Pre-Takeoff
  • Takeoff
  • Climb
  • Cruise
  • Descent
  • Approach
  • Landing

Always taxi the DC-3 with the yoke pulled back full, this will keep the tail wheel firmly on the ground.

 

TAKE-OFF

TakeOff
  • Pitch Trim:   +3°
  • Flaps:   Zero Degrees (Fully retracted) unless short-field takeoff, then half-flaps
  • Lock the tail wheel when lined up on the runway (Don’t forget to unlock it before landing!)
  • Power Settings:    Full Throttle, High RPM
  • Mixture:   Auto Rich
  • Rotate:    84 kts

Full Power setting for One Minute Max then reduce to Climb power setting

Climb

CLIMB

  • Power Settings:   36″ Manifold Pressure, 2350 RPM
  • Best Rate of Climb:    105 kts
  • Mixture:    Auto Rich

Adjust ‘rate of climb’ to maintain 105 kts Indicated Airspeed. 

Cruise

CRUISE

  • Power Settings:   30″ Manifold Pressure, 2050 RPM
  • Mixture: Auto Lean
Descend

DESCEND

  • Power Settings:   20-22″ Manifold Pressure, 2050 RPM
  • Mixture: Auto Rich

Descend from Cruise Altitude to In Range, set power for 500 fpm and maintain cruise speed

SteepDescend

STEEP DESCEND

  • Power Settings:   18″ Manifold Pressure, 1700 RPM
  • Mixture: Auto Rich

Not higher than cruise speed

 

APPROACH/LANDING

  • Initial Approach speed:   105 kts,  ½ flaps
  • Final Approach speed:     85 kts,   ¾ flaps
  • Over the fence” at:     75-80 kts,   full flaps

Full Flaps for landing unless gusty conditions or strong cross winds.   Land on the front wheels only, no 3-point landings. Hold the tail-wheel off with forward yoke until it gently settles to the runway.

MP vs RPM settings — General

  • Above 140 kts:       MP at least 5 inches above RPM… example … Cruise = 30 inches, 2050 RPM
  • 100 – 140 kts:        MP at least “square” … example … 19 inches and 1900 RPM
  • Below 100 kts:      MP can be reduced to below RPM

 

Flap Extension Speeds — Maximum

  • ¼ flaps:     130 kts
  • ½ flaps:     105 kts
  • ¾ flaps:      99 kts
  • Full flaps:   97 kts

Gear Extension Speed

  • 140 kts maximum

Stall Speeds

  • No Flaps:     65 kts
  • Full Flaps:   58 kts

Cowl Flaps

  • Open only when on ground
  • Closed in cruise configuration