I have to nominate the Douglas DC-3 and its military transport version, the C-47, as the greatest civil airliner of the past 100 years. Consider:
That only speaks of US-manufactured DC-3's, of course, The Soviet Union built over 6,000 of them as the Lisunov Li-2, and Japan built a few hundred under license prior to and during World War II. I'm assuming that most, if not all, of the latter were casualties of war, but the Soviet examples served on for many decades after the war in the Warsaw Pact nations, across the Soviet hinterland, and in China and other Far Eastern nations.
So, with the greatest of respect to the many wonderful aircraft that came later, I don't think any of them can match that track record!
I have to agree. The introduction of the DC-3 marked the point when passenger travel could be profitable, not relying on a supplementary mail service.
I've also heard it said that in some South American areas it had such a profound effect that they went from the donkey to the DC-3 as primary transport in a single step.
Truely a game-changing aircraft.
I'm a conscientious man... when I throw rocks at seabirds I leave no tern unstoned. (Ogden Nash)
Et nom de dieu! C'est triste Orly la dimanche (Jacques Brel)