Select Page

USAEC Douglas DC-3 Skytrain


Model ID#:












H. Davidson

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1962

SKU: Model-0266 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company, which had a lasting effect on the airline industry in the 1930s to 1940s and World War II. It is a low-wing metal monoplane with conventional landing gear, powered by two radial piston engines of 1,000–1,200 hp. The Douglas C-47 is the military version of the DC-3.

Carco Air Service was established in 1947 to operate an air taxi service between Albuquerque and Los Alamos, New Mexico for the Atomic Energy Commission. The carrier used mainly small Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft and as Los Alamos was referred to as “The Atomic City”, Carco was referred to as “The Atomic Airline”. During the World War II years while atomic weapons were being developed, Los Alamos was kept secret and simply known as “the city on the hill”. Carco also flew to many other Atomic Energy Commission cities as needed. In July 1964 Carco was officially certified as a commuter airline. On the companies’ April 25, 1965 schedule, seven daily roundtrips were operated between Albuquerque and Los Alamos. Interestingly, this schedule showed that Los Alamos was observing daylight savings time and Albuquerque was not. Clark Carr who founded the airline, sold it to Ross Aviation in 1969 which continued the shuttle flights until 1995.

Ross Aviation, based in Albuquerque, inherited the commuter airline service of Carco in 1969 and maintained shuttle flights between Albuquerque and Los Alamos. Ross initially started using Piper Aztec and Beech Queen Air aircraft but upgraded to 18-passenger de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters in the early 1970s. Flights operated every two hours from 600am until 1000pm each weekday. By the mid-1980s the carrier began using 50-seat, four engine, de Havilland Dash-7 aircraft on flights with heavier loads. Ross also flew to other cities, particularly in Nevada, using separate aircraft including Douglas DC-9 jets. As government traffic to Los Alamos downsized into the 1990’s, Ross Aviation cut back on flights until all service was discontinued on September 29, 1995. Since then Peacock Air, Mesa Airlines, Rio Grande Air, New Mexico Airlines, and Boutique Air have all flown the Albuquerque to Los Alamos route.

Carco Air Service operated this Douglas C-47 for the United States Atomic Energy Commission (USAEC) for cargo and personnel transfer to the Nevada Test Site in 1962. The aircraft was nicknamed “The Tonapah Taxi”. In 1971 Ross Aviation took over from Carco. The aircraft numbers N709Z, N710Z, N808Z, N810Z and N6387A.

The DC-3s have been a constraint visitor to Albuquerque from its very beginning of service in the 1930s. Many DC-3’s were based at Kirtland AFB with Carco, Ross, military groups, and private companies.

The photo shows a typical DC-3 that was in Albuquerque in the 1980s.