Douglas DC-4 / C-54
1942
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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.

C-54A


Specification 
 CREW4
 PASSENGERS40-44
 ENGINE4 x P+W R-2000-25, 1065kW
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight33140 kg73062 lb
    Empty weight20000 kg44093 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    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
 PERFORMANCE
    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
Ann, 28.01.2012

My mother was a War Bride. She flew on American Overseas Airlines N90906 in Oct 1948 from Rhein Main to La Guardia via Shannon and Gander. Glad she did. I'm here 'cause of it. :)

Joseph Hammer, 16.11.2011

I was a flight engineer with the 58th Air Rescue Sqdn. in Tripoli from 1960 thru 1962. Great airplane, the SC 54 would always get you there and back though it was a bit slow. Around Labor Day of 1961 we escorted a MATS connie with one engine out and we had trouble staying with her.

Gerald Wintermute, 21.07.2011

I was A FLIGHT ENGINEER ON SC 54 IN AIR SEA RESCURE sQ.IN ANDERSON A.F.B GUAM 1958,60 79 TH. ARS.

Les "Robbie" Robbins, 16.07.2011

A great airplane. In 20 years flying as a radio operator, I spent several different tours on C-54s and enjoyed allof them. Flew on TC-54D EWO trainers at Keesler AFB, MS from April 1961 til Aug '62 (Aircraft Ops, 3380th ABG), then the same TC-54Ds at Mather AFB, CA Aug '62 -Jan '64. Ferried some C-54s to the boneyard in Arizona from PACAF bases (TDY to 444oth ADG) while at Mather. Then flew HC-54Ds while in the 58th Air Rescue Sq, Wheelus AB, Libya from Feb '64 tilthey were replaced by HC-97G's, which were later replaced by HC-130H's. I left there in Feb '67, and later flew on VC-54G 50491 in Rio de Janeiro from June '70 to Feb 73 when it was replaced by VT-29D 25816. Flew that one til I left for 2ACCS at Offutt in June 74. A lot of different experiences on the C-54, but I guess this isn't the place to get into all of them.

I saw mention of an all enlisted aircrew earlier in the comments; I saw the same, it was an USMC C-54 that came to Howard AFB from a Marine Corps base in Virginia, I think it was in 1971. The pilot was a USMC E-9, and the rest of the crew were all NCOs as well. I thought it was great. I did get a lot of left seat time while in Brazil (I hold a FAA Commercial/Instrument rating).We didn't carry a Navigator,that was my job as well. Really loved the C-54.

Russ Bateman, 13.07.2011

This Air Craft was also called a Navy R5D. In 1949,we were flying in a cargo version between Kodiak Island, Alaska and Adak,Alaska. We hit a major Weather Front that took out the R5D's hydraulic control system and we made a forced landing at Umnak Island. Only weeks before the Bombing of Dutch Harbor, The Army built an Secrete Air Strip on top of the Unimak Trundra and stationed about 40 P-40 Fighters. The Japanese surprised by all these fighters gave up invading Dutch Harbor and on invading Dutch Harbor and instead, invaded Attu and Kiska.
The Army named it Air Field as Fort Glenn Army Base. At the time we landed there, the base was mostly deactivated with only a skeleton crew. It took about three days for the Navy to fly in mechanics and material to repair the Air Craft and we flew on to Adak.

willard wilkinson af retired, 01.07.2011

i worked avionics(radio-radar)on the sacred cow,while stationed at bolling afb in Washington DC from 1959-1962

, 17.06.2011

polo

Everett Livingston, 17.06.2011

During 1952-1955 was PC on R5D 72003 VR22, NAS Norfolk,VA.

charles WITTMER, 03.06.2011

in my previous mail I meant C54 and not C47 sorry for that

charles WITTMER, 03.06.2011

Would anybody know if the commercial C47/DC4 had round or oval passenger windows?
thank you.
Charles

Hal Maynard, 23.04.2011

I was a nav at Wheelus AB, Tripoli Libya in the 58th Air rescue Squadron. I have a picture of 49033.

Betty Jo Streff Reed, 03.04.2011

After the WASPs were deactivated Dec.44, I returned to Douglas Chicago Plant. After being on a mech. team several mon., the Flt Off needed a dispatcher for a later shift. Eventually Col.Randolf Holiday Checked out LT.Oswald as a !st. pilot so needed two more co-pilots. Ellen W. and I had been Eng. Chc.Pil. so asked if we would want to study and of course. Have list the planes I flew Co-pilot on. That was the pride of my life at 22yrs. Later flew Corp. Kingair and Mu-2. Some of this disappeard at the beginning.

Gerry Foley, 30.01.2011

I was recalled to active duty at the start of the Korean war and was sent to Hadena AB in Japan and I was assigned to the 1273rd Air Transport Sq. Our mission was to fly daily missions to and from various bases in Korea with troops and cargo inbound and wounded and deceased personnel back to Japan. I was a mechanic and later a crew chief on C54M model aircraft. These aircraft were configured as medical evacuation aircraft. Spent a year there and if you are familiar with this operation, I would like to hear from you.

Bob Thompson, 24.01.2011

I saw the DC-4E when it was in Dayton for several weeks in 1939. Orville Wright took a ride in it.

loomas marshall, 15.01.2011

RE: C-54 #590 We departed Dover AFB the next day. After a routine preflt and run-up I noticed a funny noise coming from #1 eng. However everything looked good so off we went down the runway. Just at lift-off a fire light came on for #1 Eng. I alerted the pilot, Capt Ikes and he looked out the window and stated he didn't see any fire. I said we don't want to see any fire, as I had my finger on the feather button, I urged him to feather the engine The Col in the right seat finally said "Better punch it out Les" at which time he said feather # 1. After the shut down and return to base as we were taxing in the aforementioned Sgt from the transit alert truck struck.We were still a VC54 with a code 7, however this time we were parked out in the boonies,in the trees ,out of site. We all had a laugh about this. This tale continues if you're interested.

loomas marshall, 15.01.2011

RE: C-54 #590 We departed Dover AFB the next day. After a routine preflt and run-up I noticed a funny noise coming from #1 eng. However everything looked good so off we went down the runway. Just at lift-off a fire light came on for #1 Eng. I alerted the pilot, Capt Ikes and he looked out the window and stated he didn't see any fire. I said we don't want to see any fire, as I had my finger on the feather button, I urged him to feather the engine The Col in the right seat finally said "Better punch it out Les" at which time he said feather # 1. After the shut down and return to base as we were taxing in the aforementioned Sgt from the transit alert truck struck.We were still a VC54 with a code 7, however this time we were parked out in the boonies,in the trees ,out of site. We all had a laugh about this. This tale continues if you're interested.

loomas j marshall, 14.01.2011

Upon landing at Dover, we were escorted to the VIP spot as a VC-54 with a code 7. The Transit Alert Sgt said'" What is this crap VC-54" after seeing the condition of the bird and the plywood floor, I flipped hi the forms and said There's a code 7 as the Col stepped out of the cockpit. more on this flight later.

loomas j marshall, 14.01.2011

I was stationed at Rhein-Main AB Germany from Aug 68 thru july72. Base Flt had 2 c-54s, 9099, a VC model which we received from the Navy in Naples where it served an Admiral for some years. The cabin had a private room for the VIP with table and chairs and two beds. It only had room for 13 passengers. It was also equiped with an electric ladder for remote exit and entrance. The AC was very comfortable to fly.
The other 5 assigned was an old timer 40-590 with 35,000 hrs. which at one time in the past was a PAN AM bird because their logo could be seen faintly over the entrance. When we received the bird it was designated a VC. However we striped the cabin and installed a plywood floor for cargo. Higher Headquarters would not change the VC designation so we were stuck with it. Around 1970 the bird was to be transferred to Davis-Monthan Az for salvage. I was assigned as the Engineer with my favorite pilot, Col James H Newton and my direct OIC Capt Les Ikes. The AC Was na8 tank model but it had a discrepancy: only three fuel gauges worked! The Col had a funny look when I told him but I said "Col I can keep up with the fuel if you want to go." He thought for a second and said OK. walked across the ramp to a C-141 and borrowed a Form -52 Fuel log and off went to Torrejon Spain. After an overnight we departed for the Azores. I refueled the bird and topped off all the tanks to the rim. 3540 Gallons. The Fuel Flow gauges worked just fine so I kept a close count of the fuel remaining and range. We had filed a flt plan for Argentia Newfoundland. Approaching Argentia, The Col asked How much fuel we had remaining and I said 9hrs and forty minutes. He said it's only six hrs to Dover. I said fine, turn left and proceed..
After 13:40 hrs flt time we arrived with 530 Galls of fuel and enough for another two and half hrs flying time. More on this flight later.

Ira Nehring, 06.01.2011

In 1948, my squadron packed all of our equipment into C-54s and flew from Tachikawa, Japan to Weisbaden, Germany, with a stop in the USA to winterize the aircraft. I was a propeller specialist when I arrived at Weisbaden, but after a few check rides I became a crew chief and flight engineer. We moved on up to Celle, in the British Sector and flew coal into Berlin. My aircraft was due for major maintenance in the states at the time I rotated back to the states, so I flew home on it. It was a great aircraft!

Jerry Reed, 29.12.2010

I was a flight eng and crew chief on the SC-54D for Air Rescue in Bermuda and also on CIA loan in Alaska for nav. aid to the U-2's flying over Russia. We had extra bladder fuel tanks and could stay up 14 hours plus special Nav aids.

1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80

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