Michael S. Prophet’s newly-published book, The Legendary Douglas DC-3, a Pictorial Tribute, involves half a lifetime’s worth of travel and adventure in search of his favorite subject, Douglas Aircraft’s legendary DC-3 and its many, many variants…
Deriving from the technology which the Douglas Aircraft Company developed for their epoch-making Douglas DC-2 passenger plane, the corporation’s DC-3 is generally considered to be the greatest commercial transport in history. When it first flew on December 17th, 1935, the newly-minted design upended air travel to an extent probably unmatched until the advent of the jet age two decades later; much of this revolution involved dramatic improvements in safety. In fact, during 1937, the DC-3’s reputation for reliability allowed air travel insurance to became available to the general public. The DC-3 not only made air travel safer, but it also enabled the emerging airline industry to end its reliance upon postal service subsidies; passenger-only flights finally became profitable. Furthermore, significant numbers of DC-3-type aircraft are still flying eight decades after their initial debut, a tribute to their brilliant and robust design. Indeed, examples of the type will likely continue flying well into the 21st century…
From a young age, Michael S. Prophet held a fascination for aviation (he still remembers drawing WWII aircraft in class during primary school). Born in 1956 on the island of Curacao in the Dutch Antilles, Prophet’s mother introduced him to flying when he was still a baby, taking him aboard a twin-engined KLM Convair 440 for a family visit to Trinidad and Tobago.
After moving to The Netherlands with his parents, Prophet’s love for aviation really kicked off in 1974 when he purchased his first transatlantic ticket, flying a Pan American Boeing 707 jetliner to visit friends in New York. This also triggered an interest in photography. Since those days, he has devoted much of his spare time to aviation – traveling the globe – and to photography.
Fresh out of high school, Prophet started his professional career as a junior aircraft mechanic with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, working on Douglas DC-8s, DC-10s and Boeing 747s. He later moved to Fokker, a legendary Dutch aircraft manufacturer which could trace its roots back to the first decade of powered flight; here he worked as an Interior Design Engineer on several new projects, including the then-new, twin-turboprop Fokker F50 and F100 jetliner.
During the early 1980s, Prophet bought an edition of one of Osprey’s famous Colour Series ‘Skytruck’ books. The book’s author, the late Stephen Piercey, became like a mentor and inspiration for him. He admired the fascinating images in the book and quickly developed his own style of photography as a result. This moment sparked his passion for the dwindling number of classic jet and propeller airliners around the globe, and led him to visit and photograph as many of them as he could .
Whilst on holiday in Hawaii, he captured images of his first real, operational Douglas DC-3 at Honolulu airport. A couple of years later, on the other side of the world, he got his first passenger ride aboard a DC-3, flying with Aero Virgin Island Airways from San Juan, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands… and the rest, as they say, is history!
For U.S. residents interested in purchasing Michael S. Prophet’s book on the DC-3, please click HERE. NOTE: the book will be available from U.S. soil only in January. If you can’t wait and you are willing to pay a slightly higher shipping fee, the book is also available on the Aviation Megastore website, click HERE.
European residents looking to do the same should click HERE.