77 Year Old Aliansa DC-3 Missing – Presumed Crashed

A Douglas DC-3, registration HK-2820, has gone missing in Colombia and is understood to have crashed at Guatiquia canyon, with three people onboard. The aircraft belongs to a regional cargo carrier called Aliansa Aerolíneas Andinas.

Aliansa DC-3
This Aliansa DC-3 may have crashed today in Colombia. Photo: Aliansa Aerolíneas Andinas.

What happened?

The Colombian civil aviation authorities (Aeronáutica Civil) reported on the possible accident. Aeronautica Civil published a statement on Twitter. It read,

“At 07:05, local time, radar and communications contact were lost with the airplane Douglas DC-3, registration HK-2820, of the company Aliansa. The plane had departed at 7:00, local time, from Vanguardia de Villavicencio Airport.

“Immediately, search and rescue personnel from Aeronáutica Civil and other help organizations launched an operation to try to find the aircraft and the people onboard. 

“Preliminary information indicates that there were three people onboard the aircraft, including the crew, all workers of Aliansa.”

According to reports by the local media outlet El Tiempo, the plane was found on a river bed in Guatiquia, Colombia. The aircraft departed Villavicencio on a training flight. There’s no information available about the current status of the people onboard.

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What do we know about the aircraft?

According to its website, Aerolíneas Andinas has a DC-3 cargo fleet. It has three DC-3 and one DC-3TP.

The aircraft HK-2820 was built in 1944, according to the airline website. Aerolíneas Andinas has used its DC-3 fleet for over 25 years now. This particular plane entered Aerolíneas Andinas fleet in 2009, according to data obtained from AeroTransport Data Bank (ATDB.aero).

This very same aircraft had a severe incident in 2019. On August 15, 2019, the Douglas DC-3 suffered a runway excursion after landing at La Chorrera Airport, Colombia. Twenty-two people were onboard the aircraft, including three crew members. There were no injuries related to this incident. Aerolíneas Andinas had another DC-3 runway excursion in 2020.

The probable cause for the runway excursion resulted from a loss of directional control on the ground. The crew failed to release the tail skate during taxiing to the parking position, which limited the aircraft’s maneuverability and turning radius, said aviation-safety.net.

77 Year Old Aliansa DC-3 Missing – Presumed Crashed
The DC-3 is one of the most iconic airplanes in aviation history. Photo: Towpilot via Wikimedia Commons.

A brief history of the DC-3

The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner. Historically, it is one of the most classic airplanes out there. It had its first flight in 1935 after American Airlines personally asked for its development to Douglas Aircraft Company founder, Donald Douglas.

This plane allowed transcontinental trips from Los Angeles to New York to be made in about 15 hours. It introduced reliability, performance, and comfort as no other aircraft had made before.

Throughout its history, DC assembled more than 16,000 DC-3s, both for commercial and military service. As of 2021, more than 300 are still flying.

During World War II, the DC-3 became legendary. Douglas peaked its production of the aircraft in 1944 when it delivered nearly 5,000 units.

Due to its reliability, it quickly gained fame as being able to carry anything, as long as you could fit it through the door.

Through the 1970s and 80s, the DC-3 worked as cargo aircraft but also as an air tanker. In the US, the DC-3 remained on military duty until 2008.

Currently, a few DC-3s continue to operate commercial services. For instance, Finland will use an almost 80-year-old DC-3 plane from Helsinki Airport this year.

What are your thoughts on the accident that happened in Colombia today? Did you ever travel onboard a DC-3? Let us know in the comments.