Douglas DC-4 / C-54


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Douglas DC-4 / C-54

In response to the requirements of five major US airlines, Douglas designed and built the large 52-passenger DC-4, which made its first flight on 7 June 1938. This type was not put into production; instead a smaller unpressurised development was ordered by American, Eastern and United Air Lines. This, too, bore the designation DC-4 and the original aeroplane became the DC-4E. The new aircraft flew on 14 February 1942, by which time the US was at war and all 24 DC-4A built were taken by the armed forces.

The DC-4 had a retractable nosewheel undercarriage and was powered by four 820-1,080kW Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasps. It was, for its time, an ideal long-range heavy logistic transport with a payload of up to 9,980kg. The military production version was the C-54. A total of 207 C-54A were built, followed by increased-capacity C-54B, similar C-54D with Pratt & Whitney R-2000-11 radials, C-54E with convertible cargo/passenger interiors, and C-54G with new engines. Nine hundred and fifty-two Skymasters were completed for the USAAF and 211 for the US Navy which designated them as R5D Skymasters.

Used in all theatres of war, none achieved a more impressive record than those operated by the USAAF's Air Transport Command. With this Command C-54 established the first regular transport service across the North Atlantic, averaging for a long period 20 double-crossings per day. One, the VC-54C-DO Sacred Cow, served as President Roosevelt's special aircraft and a C-54B-1-DO was used by Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

After the war Douglas built 79 civil DC-4-1009 and many of the military aircraft became available for airline operation - mostly with 44 seats but later with as many as 86. On 7 March 1946 American Airlines was first to introduce DC-4 on US domestic services, between New York and Los Angeles. However in October 1945 American Overseas Airlines had introduced DC-4 on North Atlantic services.


 ENGINE4 x P+W R-2000-25, 1065kW
  Take-off weight33140 kg73062 lb
  Empty weight20000 kg44093 lb
  Wingspan35.8 m117 ft 5 in
  Length28.6 m94 ft 10 in
  Height8.4 m28 ft 7 in
  Wing area136.0 m21463.89 sq ft
  Max. speed450 km/h280 mph
  Cruise speed365 km/h227 mph
  Ceiling6900 m22650 ft
  Range w/max.fuel6000 km3728 miles
  Range w/max payload2200 km1367 miles

Douglas DC-4 / C-54

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80
Norm Barnhart, e-mail, 12.02.2018 03:45

I was a radioman in VR-24 at Port Lyautey,Morocco from 1951 to1954, This was a great aircraft


Manfredo, e-mail, 09.01.2017 22:39

Hi. does anyone know the logo used in the plane´s tail? a circle with crossed white lines?


Alan Hiatt, e-mail, 31.10.2016 06:09

I have found on Google Earth what looks to be the wreckage of a C-54. I need the width of the fuselage, the distance of the crew door from the co-pilot's back and the width /height of the crew door. Can you help me with these measurements so I can verify this wreckage. It could be the lost U S Air Force C-54 #42-2469 lost January 1950 in the Yukon /Alaska area. Can you help me? Thank You Alan Hiatt


Matt Kennebec, e-mail, 02.08.2015 07:36

I am researching the disappearance of C-54D 42-72469 en route Anch-Gt Falls 1 /26 /50 and have tech questions about the cabin heat, prop feathering motor and several other systems. I would like to hear from anyone who crewed 54s circa 1950. Thanks!


John Johnson, e-mail, 03.07.2015 19:48

My last duty was flying the R5D hauling prospective aviation officer candidates in 1968. These college guys were from local colleges and universities and were picked up at Raleigh Durham and Charlotte on friday. I flew them back to NAS Norfolk. Then returned them sunday afternoon. The college guys were interviewed and tested for a special program called AVROC. I also flew personnel rotating on Pearl harbor duty leaving NAS Norfolk with a partial personnel load and to NAS Alameda where additional personnel were picked up for the trip over to Hickam. We swapped planes at Alameda for a r5d with long range internal tanks. I left the Navy in 1972 and worked for the government until retiring in 2000. Wanted to get this all out as I am in the earliest stage of Alsheimers and can still remember.


John Mapelli, e-mail, 25.06.2015 23:33

Was stationed in Japan with the 36th Air Rescue Sq. from 1961 to 1964. We had 3 HC-54D's.I was an Eng. Mech.


Nev Hunter, e-mail, 17.06.2015 04:57

Flew them with TAA Mid 65 till 1969. About 4 freighters and one could have seats fitted. They were all 6 tank instead of the original 8. Did a non stop Lae to Melbourne in 12 hours. Two crew unless on long tours when 3 carried for extra duty time. Perth to Cocos (Keeling ) Islands was a fairly long trip.


Bill case, e-mail, 17.05.2015 23:55

Flew as radio operator on the Navy R5D with VR23 out of Atsugi NAS Japan in 1957 and 1958, Flew all over the Pacific it was a very reliable aircraft. Enjoyed every hour of flight time.


Paul McLatchy, e-mail, 28.02.2015 04:59

I was a a&p mechanic andI worked on them in 1948 in rein main frankfurt germany in the berlin airlift we was on call 7 days a week I remember working 32 hours straight we changed three engines I fell asleep on top of engine 2 I waS 18 at the time it was a great aircraft


Aiden Naughton, e-mail, 02.10.2014 21:48

In 1958 I flew as a passenger in a Trans Canada Airlines version of the DC4 that was powered by 4 Rolls Royce Merlin engines. TCA had a trade name for this version but I do not remember it now.


Brian Nobbs, e-mail, 20.05.2014 14:49

I had the pleasure as a young licenced Aircraft maintenance engineer, Radio, to Install new kit and maintain DC-4's (all C-54's I think) for Trans Australia Airlines (TAA), Australian National Airlines (ANA) and QANTAS. Out of Sydney, Melbourne and Port Moresby. I am now 76 years and belong to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society which owns a C-54E. This a /c is at present located at HARS Hangar at Albion Park, Regoional Airport, 50nm south of Sydney. It is under restoration and I pray for the day it will get on it's way into the wide blue yonder.


james cartwright, e-mail, 11.05.2014 04:08

I was with 36th air rescue sq, in Japan HC-54D , 42-72666 I WAS CREW CHIEF 1965-1966 I AM LOOKING FOR A PICTURE OF THIS OLD BIRD


Jerry Walterreit,MSgt,Retired,, e-mail, 01.09.2013 03:23

I was assigned to the 36th Air Rescue Sq, Johnson Air Base, Japan in 1959 as a Instrument Repairman. Enjoyed my time on the SC-54.


charlie scholl, e-mail, 13.08.2013 22:47

1 was station there from 1963 to 1966 i was in sams a crew chief a c-54 045 then i think about 1965 sent me over mats on c-131 and c-118 medvac


Vincent Jochum, e-mail, 25.07.2021 charlie scholl

I was a weather radar depot level changing the weather radar in the far east. the radar was cps-9 and what I did was replace drive system from hydraulic to electric. We had the pedestal
and other parts in the c-54 and flew out of tachi japn to wake, phillpines, guam etc do you know the airplane


ROBERT LANG, e-mail, 29.07.2013 02:21



ROBERT LANG, e-mail, 29.07.2013 02:15



loomas marshall, e-mail, 24.12.2012 15:09

I was assigned to base flt sect at Rhein Main AB Germany and ew c-54 9099 a Vip model which we obtained from the navy in naples. it was VC all the way. a stainless steel gally and a bed for the Vip in a privats room. It was low time and flew very well. please feel free to contact me an swap war stories of which I have many.




Julie Godwin, e-mail, 14.12.2012 07:49

How can I order a diecast C54 model of Eastern Airlines and how much does it cost? Look forward to your response; thanks in advance.


Ken Thomson, e-mail, 06.12.2012 01:32

I was a Flight Engineer in the 57th Air Rescue Squadron, Lajes Field, Azores 1960-1962. Great memories almost daily. Great old airplane.


Chuck, e-mail, 10.11.2012 21:26

My Father flew the R5D, Navy designation, a C-54 Air Force designation. During the Berlin Airlift of 1948-1949, he was in VR-3 but transferred to VR-6. He flew from Rienmien to Tempeltorf Airfields in Germany. The Navy Units received the Navy Commendation award for actions during the Berlin Airlift


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