Workhorses of the Rainforest: Douglas DC-3 Operations in Colombia

The DC-3 has long been a lifeline to communities in the Colombian interior, although the aircraft’s numbers are diminishing. Dr Andreas Zeitler joined a flight on the famous type to experience jungle flying.

Douglas DC-3s at Villavicencio with stunning scenery in the background.
All photos Dr Andreas Zeitler

Colombia’s populated vast lowlands and sparsely stretch south and east of the Andes Mountains, covering a vast area. The main city supplying this area is Villavicencio, or ‘Villavo’ as it is known by the locals, which lies approximately 56 miles (90km) south of the capital Bogotá. The aircraft that fly south and east from Villavicencio to remote rainforest areas provide vital links and are the best option for transporting people, medical supplies and goods from and to villages. Just compare a daylong trip on dirt tracks or via boat with a flight that will at most take a few hours. Like the trucks that shuttle between Villavo and Bogotá, the ‘truck’ that can penetrate the wilderness of the jungle is the Douglas DC-3.

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