Being a sturdy workhorse with the ability to take off from semi-prepared airstrips with Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capabilities, the DHC-2 Beaver was de Havilland's STOL utility transport with lots of history since its introduction in 1947. In designing the Beaver a consensus was taken among pilots of what expectations they need for an airplane that will meet their necessities and de Havilland was able to assemble its best engineers to come up with an airplane design which offer extra power and STOL performance as would be expected of a truly dedicated bush plane.
A single engine and high wing configuration characterized the Beaver with the ability to be equipped with wheels (as a taildragger), skis for snow landing or floats for landing and taking off on water as the demand for its varied flight destination may require. It was also built with full sized doors on both sides to allow for easy loading of cargo or drums of fuel when the destination has no access to fuel source for refuelling. Categorized as a light utility transport powered by a single Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial piston engine rated at 936 kW (1,255 hp) it could attain a maximum speed of 262 km/h (163 mph) at 1524 m (5,000 ft). The range with full tank of fuel could reach 1,180 km (733 mi) with a service ceiling of 5,485 m (18,000 ft). The basic type has room for a pilot and a maximum of 7 passengers or 680 kg (1,500 lb ) of cargo.
Reputed as the first all metal bush plane built, it has a monocoque fuselage design that expanded to three versions, the DHC-2 Mk-1 which totalled 1,631 produced until 1969, the DHC-2 Mk-2 where only one was built and the DHC-2 Mk-3 where 60 units of the type was built until 1968. It's excellent performance in harsh conditions, made it the winning choice for both civilian and military in specialized functions.
The Beaver earned the opportunity to be featured on film as a charter aircraft of choice to be crash landed and yet allow its pilot and passenger to fly them back to safety in the 1998 adventure film “Six Days Seven Nights”. Based on the story, Harrison Ford played Quinn Harris, pilot of the chartered DHC-2 plane used in the film utilized by Robin Monroe (Anne Heche), a journalist for a magazine who must leave her holiday to be back at work in an emergency. The immediate need to be airlifted from an island in the South Pacific called for a charter flight and Quinn's DHC-2 took the scene only to be forced to land in the midst of a tropical thunderstorm which became the twist to the story. Harrison Ford, a certified pilot for both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters in real life actually owned a DHC-2 Beaver as part of his fleet of aircraft which includes 6 airplanes and a helicopter. The acquisition of the Beaver was said to have been brought by Ford's encounter in utilizing the same type of aircraft in the film.
pp. 112-113, Aviation Factfile - Civil Aircraft by Jim Winchester