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This Incredible Plane: The Douglas Sleeper Transport (DST) ‘SkySleeper’

How an idea for a more comfortable airliner inadvertently created a legend.

Douglas Sleeper Transport
Douglas Sleeper Transport

The 1930s truly were the Golden Age of aviation design. The increased demand for air travel, improved engines and aircraft systems, and the influence of art deco streamline design combined to produce some of the most beautiful and functional aircraft of all time, like the Boeing 247, Northrop Alpha and Lockheed Electra. However, the development of the iconic Douglas DC-3 is an amazing story all on its own.

Back in 1929, Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) inaugurated the first coast-to-coast air service by combining both rail and air travel. Passengers boarded the train in New York’s Grand Central Station, traveled on to Ohio and then boarded a Ford Trimotor for the daytime flight to Oklahoma. At nightfall, they were back on the train, in sleeper service, to Clovis, New Mexico, where they again boarded a Trimotor for the rest of the trip to California. Two trains, nine flights and 48 hours coast to coast.

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