FlightAware Discussions

DC-3 flying with one engine

Im not sure how many members are on this board located in the SouthWest Florida area but I figured it’s worth a try. Yesterday while Northbound on Rt 75 at mile marker 200 at around 1730hrs(Sarasota/Venice area). I noticed a rather large aircraft flying parallel to Southbound Rt. 75 approx. 1500 AGL. As the aircraft approached I noticed no. 1 engine was missing. It was not shut down and feathered but actually missing. I am a 20+ year AF veteran with a couple thousand hours and some change under my belt so I know what missing parts on an airplane looks like. I also know what the regs say about ferry flights,this aircraft looked like a DC-3 so not only would a ferry flight not be allowable ,but probably impossible. I checked news and FAA incident reports for yesterday Sept. 30 but came up empty. If anyone in the locale yesterday saw this or might have some info. on what I saw please let me know.



I can’t imagine getting a ferry permit in that case. I wouldn’t even want one. Can you imagine the weight and balance change, not to mention the extra drag from not having the engine and nacelles in place? Or if the nacelles were in place they would act like a big parachute. I don’t think you could get a DC-3 airborne with one missing. Like you, I would love to hear what it was.

John, on the road in Maputo

Like John, I cannot fathom how this could have been a completely legal ferry flight nor how a DC-3 can even get off the ground on only one engine, especially if still equipped with its original 9 cylinder Wright R-1820 Cyclones. Even if powered by the uprated 14 cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasps offered on later iterations of the DC-3, this only gave you 100 additional HP per side.

There have been many famous tales of one engine takeoffs in DC-3s over the years, usually dealing with “wartime needs”, near empty fuel tanks and completely empty (stripped) aircraft. Is it possible? Probably. Is it legal? I highly doubt it, even given the fact that each FAA office is as near to an independent state as possible given the authority of the local rep.

No offense to the OP, but I have to consider that the aircraft ID might be suspect. That said, I am forced to recall that I have seen some very strange repositioning flights of “suspect” aircraft in FL in years past, especially ones headed for one of the many boneyards that used to exist there, and most of which were flown with a wink from local authority or even complete ignorance.

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