The authors tout their subject, the Douglas Commercial transport, as ""the best known plane in the world""-- which it probably is. Its most famous name is ""the Gooney-Bird,"" although it is also known as the ""C-47"" by the Air Force and has several civilian sentimental appellations. The DC-3 design has not been improved upon in thirty years. Thousands of them over twenty years old all still airborne. Say the authors: ""The Gooney Bird is in the prime of life, and will outlive us all."" Their stories cover the birth of the aircraft and its effect upon airlines--for this was the first airplane that could make money Just by carrying passengers. During World War II the non-fighter Gooney Birds became legendary as they flew desperately needed supplies into such places as New Guinea, Guadalcanal and Corregidor. (Some transports were used to drop barrels of napalm.) In Europe the Gooney Birds were often flown only in the worst weather, thus avoiding the Luftwaffe. Pilots have great faith in the plane because it can go long distances on one motor, and has even been known to fly with only one wing left. In another emergency one Bird flew on Wesson oil...These are engaging tales told with love.