JA6 will be a good next step for all members moving up from BW as it is a more forgiving
I agree. You can opt for a "bad" fleet and still survive so long as you do most other things right. With low fuel and staff costs you only need a 40% ish load factor to make a profit anyway.
I agree - avoid the DC3's - they're tempting because of the huge numbers available.
EVERYBODY seems to go for the Dc6 (especially the B model) - these usually disappear within seconds and go for a very high price. People continue to operate them well into the late 60's and they still make money on ceratin routes.
My favourites, and others I've experimented with are:
Initial Short Haul.
Vickers Viking - for the thinnest routes or where you need to grab slots quickly. 32HD seats, 360nm range. A bit slow but cheap to lease and maintain and readily available. A good way to make your presence known quickly and cheaply.
Nord Nortalas - for longer or busier routes (560nm range). 45HD seats and C class is available too.
DC4 - usually readily available but not as good as the above (imo).
High deman short-haul
I like the Viscount - 74 seats in the larger ones and a good range and speed.
Long term replacement for short haul
Fokker 27 (Mk200). Fast, long range, quite big. These you can keep right through the whole game. The only downside is no premium seating allowed. I always seem to end up with at least 100+ of these.
Initial long haul:
DC6B - DC7 if you want to order new ones.
there are others but I've not got much experience as I usually jump straight to jets.
Eventually aim for a large fleet of DC8 or 707 but also I like the VC10 - it can compete better on frequency and is available quite early on with a good long range.
There are many other options and everyone will have their own ideas. Don't overlook the early Russian aircraft - they're (mostly) nowhere near as "bad" as the Jets of the 80's and are readily available at the start.
That first few years is certainly interesting due to all the "unusual" options available to you.