Douglas C-124 Globemaster II
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Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

There was little doubt of the load-carrying capability of the C-74 and when, in late 1947, the newly-formed US Air Force decided it needed a heavy strategic cargo transport, discussions between the.USAF and Douglas resulted in development of the C-124 Globemaster II, based on the C-74.

In fact, the prototype YC-124 was basically the fifth C-74 provided with a new, deeper fuselage and strengthened landing gear. Powered by 2610kW R-4360-49 radial engines, it was flown for the first time on 27 November 1949. The type entered production as the C-124A, of which 204 were built, the first of them entering service with the USAF in May 1950. The next, and final, production version was the C-124C, with more-powerful R-4360 engines, weather radar in a distinctive nose radome and, equally useful recognition points, wingtip fairings housing combustion heaters to de-ice the wing and tailplane leading edges and to heat the cabin. C-124C production totalled 243, the last machine being delivered during May 1955.

The fuselage of the Globemaster II had clamshell nose loading doors with an associated built-in loading ramp, an electric hoist amidships which was a carry-over from the C-74, and two overhead cranes (each with a capacity of 7257kg which could traverse the entire length of the 23.47m-long cargo hold. The flight deck, accommodating a crew of five, was mounted high in the nose, over the clamshell doors. When used in a transport role (with two decks installed), the Globemaster II could carry a maximum of 200 fully-equipped troops, or 123 stretcher cases plus 45 ambulatory patients and 15 medical attendants.

Serving with the USAF's Air Materiel Command, Far Eastern Air Force, Military Air Transport Service, Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command, and used in conjunction with Douglas C-133s, the Globemaster Us remained in service until replaced by the Lockheed C-5A Galaxy during 1970. When the Globemaster Is ended their useful, service life; some were acquired by civil cargo operators.

Douglas C-124 Globemaster II

 ENGINE4 x P+W R-4360-63, 2795kW
    Take-off weight84000 kg185189 lb
    Wingspan53.1 m174 ft 3 in
    Length39.8 m131 ft 7 in
    Height14.7 m48 ft 3 in
    Wing area233.0 m22507.99 sq ft
    Cruise speed520 km/h323 mph
    Ceiling6100 m20000 ft
    Range w/max.fuel6500 km4039 miles
    Range w/max.payload1970 km1224 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80 81-100 101-120 121-140 141-160 161-180 181-200 201-220 221-240 241-260 261-280 281-300 301-320 321-340 341-360 361-380 381-400 401-420 421-440
Jack Hoyt, 05.07.2011

Any "alumni" of the 1st SSS at Biggs AFB in early to mid fifties read this? (I don't know if any are still around except for my friend Bob in Scottsdale) It would be interesting to hear from you.

Paul middelhoff, 01.07.2011

Philip Barber is correct. The C-5 replaced the C-133 Screaming Weenie, which at the time was the only bird capable of handling outsize cargo. Then there were all sorts of problems with the C-5. By the tine I got to Osan in 75, the C-5's had all kinds of restrictions on them, and we in traffic, wished we had the 133's back.

Paul Middelhoff, 01.07.2011

I was working at Clark AB when a 124 had a nose gear problem on taxi, and when the engineer went down to check it out, the nose collapsed and crushed him to death. I planned the load on that bird and it was well within CG limits. It was a real tragedy and I still have nightmares about it.
Anyone who was there when this happened, my e-mail is Tis incident occurred in 1969.

Hugh Heiler, 23.06.2011

After completing school I was assigned to Dover AFB 1607 OMS from 1962-1966 I was an engine specialist, but was assigned to be a flight line mechanic when I got there. Other than a few TDY's to Whitman & Charleston I never got out of the states,but I still have many memories.

Bill Crothers, 18.06.2011

Was a pilot on ole shaky from late 60s to early 70s in NCANG. What an interesting bird. Sat 30' in the air in cockpit. Like flying a 3 story bldg. Many 10-12 hr. legs to Cam Ran Bay, Rio, Madrid. She could haul a load. Once took a firetruck to Rio. Main tires taller than me! Quite a change for a 22 yr. old fresh out of T-38s...

Tom Jeffries, 03.06.2011

I was with the 1502 FMS prop shop at Hickam from the early to mid 60's as a very young boot. I have a lot of tales to tell my grand children about flying in Old Shaky to and from a lot of out of the way Pacific Islands. Midway, Johnson, and Fiji come to mind. I still visit Hawaii every couple of years. Old Shaky never let my down.

Dave P, 30.05.2011

John, Thanks for the info on the rear cabin heater. An aerodynamicist certainly was not consulted on that!! I worked at the USAF Museum on Sunday and I did see the intake on the other side... Thanks again!

Marty Mattson, 30.05.2011

I was a loadmaster at Travis AFB, CA from 1964-66, 85th ATS. I now live in Roseville,Ca near Mather AFB & McCellan AFB. I have been to both and have yet to see anything about "Old Shakey", almost like it never was? Mather Golf Club has all kinds of model planes & pictures, but NO C124, anywhere. I logged 1600+ hours back & forth to Viet Nam. Anyone out there from Travis 85th?

John La Bonte, 27.05.2011

Dave P: That protrusion you speak of is the exhaust vent for the rear cabin heater. If you look on the other side of the strake, you will see the air inlet for that heater. There was also a heater in the nose. Look just under the radome and you will see the air inlet. On the "A" model aircraft, there were heaters for deicing inside the leading edge of the wings. The later "C" models the deicing heaters were mounted on the wing tips.

Michael Groves, 25.05.2011

Any of you 124 people at Clark AB in the early 70's when it was phased out and replaced by the C-9 Nightingale?
Also, Dave P, don't have any info on your question, however I do know that the picture you linked to is one of several 124's that were at Clark AB, I have a few pictures of that aircraft, tail # 21004, that my dad flew in 70-71

Deb, 21.05.2011

I have been interested in this air craft and have communicated with several of you about the crash that killed my father in 1966. I really appreciate all the responses and I thank you all for your service to our country. This may be old news to most of you but I have just come across a you tube video that visually explains to me what my fathers engineer job was all about. The visual really worked for me. I found it on FB c-124 Globemaster "Old Shaky". Pretty cool for me - someone who knows nothing about planes! God bless you all.



Dave P, 17.05.2011

You can see what I'm talking about in this picture, kind of. On top of the fuselage, right of the strake. What is this??

w w w. airplane-pictures. n e t / image134386. h t m l

Dave P, 16.05.2011

I volunteer at the National Museum of the USAF. On our C-124 I see something, just to the right of the vertical stab strake, something on the top of the fuselage. It's white on ours. I've seen it in other pictures. To me it looks like a 4 foot version of the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Can anybody tell me what this is? Nobody at the museum knows, at least nobody that I have talked to.


Jesse Pipkin, 11.05.2011

Navigator, XX ATS, Dover AFB, Jan '61 thru July '65. Many hours, many trips, many memories, from Thailand to Turkey, Thule to The Congo. Longest flight: Okinawa to Hickam, filed for Midway, overflew. Think it was nearly 24 hours!

Michael Baechle, 10.05.2011

I can give you some info re the crash in Spain. The crew was part of my squadron (the 15th Troop Carrier Squadron) at Hunter AFB, Georgia. I knew 2 of the crew, having flown with them on other missions, but I did not know your father.

The USAF was never very forthcoming with details about crashes, so what is known about them usually comes from scuttlebutt from either people who were somehow involved or personally knew someone who was. However, I think what I heard is the true story. The reason I think that is that I was leaving Hunter AFB on the first C-124 the morning after the crash, heading for Rhein Main Germany, and heard about it from our flight engineer, who was not the kind of person to engage in idle chatter. It was a sad day.

First some background. Two B-52's had collided in mid-air off the coast of Spain, and several nuclear bombs fell into the ocean.

The 63d Troop Carrier Wing (of which the 15th TCS was a unit) maintained a Base at Rhein Main, and sooner of later, many of the personnel from one or the other 63d squadrons would be assigned to TDY at Rhein Main. I think--but don't know for sure--that your father's plane was on a TDY rotation at Rhein Main. The Rhein Main crews were over there to deal with whatever came up in Europe, Africa or Middle East.

I do know that when the bombs were lost, it was a major crisis, with all kinds of resources sent to find the bombs (which were eventually recovered by the US Navy).

I do know that your father's plane was sent to support that effort. Whether he departed from Hunter AFB or from Rhein Main I do not know. The accident was never formally discussed around the squadron, to my knowledge. Accident investigation reports for most accidents were posted for all to see and learn from, but I never saw a posting regarding this accident. It is likely that this was a classified mission, meaning it was likely either classified Secret or Top Secret.

What we were told by our flight engineer the morning after the loss of your father's plane is as follows: The C-124 was flying at night, and in the dead of night, the plane hit a mountain just below the crest. We were never told whether the navigator filed an incorrect flight plan or whether the C-124 was off course.

In any case, if it is any comfort, nobody aboard that plane ever had a moment of fear or pain--one instant they were alive on a routine mission, and an instant later they were with God Almighty.

If you are curious about the unit your father belonged to, it was a distinguished unit. It was later "redesignated" as the 15th Military Airlift Squadron. If you do a search under that heading, you can find out more about the unit.

Also, there may be a reference to the crash on the Aviation Safety Database, which you can search by aircraft type and by date.

Last, you might like to know that a C-124 flight engineer had very complex responsibilities. I can send you pictures of what the airplane looked like, including a picture of the flight engineer's control panel.

Also, if you would like, I have a spare shoulder patch we wore on our flight suits, and would be the same as your father wore. I would be happy to send it to you.

Michael Baechle, 10.05.2011

To Rich Ragucci---I remember the Drifter's Reeef quite well. I have never had a better diaquiri anywhere else than I always got there; I used to fly to SEA just to stop at Wake. I preferred SEA trips not only for the beauty of that part of the world, but also because we only had to laod once going out, and usually flew home empty.

Michael Baechle, 10.05.2011

I was a C-124 loadmaster before transitioning to C-130's. Flew Europe, Middle East, Africa, S America, SEA. In 1300 hours on the C-124, I had three engine shutdowns, one blown exhaust stack, a runaway prop and a prop that was about to run wild. In 1965, after a C-124 lost the outboard one-third of a wing flying local over Dover AFB, killing all aboard, wing spar corrosion grounded the entire fleet briefly pending inspections and some repairs; we were restricted on airdrops after that, but continued to fly international missions. One loadmaster from my squadron reported seing a crack in the spar open and close when the wings flexed in turbulence. One plane from my squadron had a navigational error and flew into a mountain in Spain, killing all aboard. The C-124 was like a big ship. Every crew position--except perhaps piloting-- required skills that became less necessary as the USAF transitioned to turboprops and jets. The modern planes of today don't usually carry Navs or FE's. Loadmasters today deal primarily will roll-on cargo, whereas it took 4-5 hours to laod a C-124 with general cargo, using cranes, ramps and winches. The C-124 flew low and slow and there was a crew rest every 10-12 hours at whereever it landed to take on fuel. It took two weeks to get to SEA and back, from my base on the East Coast. C-130's flew higher and faster, but were cramped and boring. The C-124 was an exciting airplane.

Bill Reader, 10.05.2011

I will have to disagree with Philip Barber.The C5 did replace Shakey.I was a FE on shakey, 141s and 5s.The 141 was a great airplane but wasn't wide enough to carry the out size cargo the other two airplanes could carry.When they closed out shakeys at Hickham they based 4 124s at Clark with the 20th OPs sq flying them.I was based there and can remember in 1970 makeing a trip to a small air base in Nam to pick up a fire truck and bring it back to CamRon bay so a C5 could bring it back to the states. The c5 was bran new and I think this first trip the Third sq made to Nam with the C5.

Phillip Barber, 04.05.2011

I just visited this site again and saw where the text indicates the C-124 was replaced by the C-5A. This is not true. The C-124 was replaced by the C-141. I flew with the 85th ATS at Travis AFB from Oct 1963 until June 1966 and the 60th MAW got the first C-141's from the factory in late 1965 I think. I believe the 75th ATS was the first squadron to get and fly the C-141. I was assigned to 22 AF HQTRS and attached to the 75th for flying currency, but not flying the line as a regular crew member. The C-5 didn't come into the inventory until years later. I left AD was Civ Disaster Prep Off at Yokota Japan, but stayed in the reserves and Guard. Transferred back to CONUS to Barksdale and flew Ole Shaky with the 917th at Barksdale and with the OKANG at Tulsa and OK City Will Rogers then transferred to C-141's at Charleston then finally to C-5's at Dover. I would love to hear from any 85th ATS or 75th ATS members or 22nd AF HQTRS or any folks from any of the other bases named...if there are any left.

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