Jet-Propelled Gooney Birds

Long before jets turned world travelers into day-trippers, there was the Gooney Bird, or DC-3. Slow and snub-nosed, more than 10,000 propeller-driven DC-3s made by Douglas Aircraft transported troops to victory in World War II and then re-entered civilian life to lure an entire generation to the skies. More than half a century after its debut in 1935, the Gooney Bird now has a second wind: Warren Basler, an air-freight operator and pilot in Oshkosh, Wis., has started outfitting refurbished DC-3s with turboprop-jet engines that will enable the planes to compete with modern aircraft.

Basler's business has more to do with...

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