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Monarch Air Lines Douglas DC-3


Model ID#:












Frontier Airlines

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1946

SKU: Model-0256 Categories: ,

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The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company, which revolutionized the airline industry in the 1930s to 1940s and more importantly World War II. It was developed as a larger and improved 14-bed sleeper version of the Douglas DC-2. The DC-3 is a low-wing metal monoplane with conventional landing gear and was powered by two radial piston Wright R-1820 Cyclone engines. Later civilian DC-3s used the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines. The DC-3 has a cruising speed of just over 200 mph and a capacity of 21 to 32 passengers or 6,000 pounds of cargo, along with a range of 1,500 miles. The total production of DC-3’s, including all military variants, ended after 16,079 aircraft were made. As of 2023 it is estimated that about 150 DC-3’s are still flying around the world.

Monarch Air Lines was based in Denver, CO and commenced operations on November 27, 1946 with a route from Denver to Durango, CO stopping at Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Alamosa, and Monte Vista, CO. By April, 1947, a second route was established between Salt Lake City and Albuquerque with stops at Provo and Price, UT, Grand Junction, Cortez, and Durango, CO, and also Farmington and Gallup, NM. The flights would meet at Durango simultaneously so that transfers could be made between the two routes. A third route was also operated between Denver and Salt Lake City with stops at Canon City, Gunnison, Montrose, and Grand Junction, CO. All flights were operated with 21 passenger Douglas DC-3 aircraft. By 1948 Monarch had partnered with Challenger Airlines, also based in Denver, with routes from Denver to Billings, MT and Salt Lake City, UT, making numerous stops throughout the state of Wyoming and also using DC-3 aircraft. Monarch had then purchased the assets and operating certificate of Arizona Airways, based in Phoenix, and on June 1, 1950, Monarch, Challenger, and Arizona were merged to become known as “Frontier Airlines”.

Monarch Air Lines began service to Albuquerque in December, 1946 using 21-passenger Douglas DC-3’s on a route to Salt Lake City. The route made multiple stops at Gallup and Farmington in New Mexico as well as several more cities in Colorado and Utah. On June 1, 1950, Monarch was merged with Arizona Airways and Challenger Airlines to form Frontier Airlines. The first DC-3’s to serve Albuquerque included NC64421 thru NC64424 and NC66610.

A Monarch Airlines DC-3 is parked at the old Albuquerque Municipal Airport terminal.