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
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.

John Way, 02.05.2011

I flew the C124 out of Hunter AFB, Savannah, Georgia during the middle 1960s. "Old Shakey" tended to wear you out on long flights. Crossing the Atlantic and Pacific at 10,000 feet and a relatively slow speed would wear anyone out, but the vibrations of the four Pratt and Whitney engines made it worse. I flew missions to Viet Nam, the Dominican Republic, the Congo, New Delhi, etc. and a tdy at Rhein Mein AFB in Germany. I remember the shock of learning in advanced pilot training at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma that in an emergency (i.e., need to bailout) the aircrew would have to slide down a pole from the aircrew compartment, strap on a parachute, then try to jump. Beginning an emergency at 10,000 feet, no one is going to escape. The plane was so safe it wasn't necessary to even have the pole (or the parachutes), but it was 'thoughtful' for Douglas to include it. I got a little nervous flying into combat zones. The plane was so large anyone taking a shot at it couldn't miss. I recall flying into the Dominican Republic during an uprising it was a little concerning that the 'enemy' and the 'good guys' were landing and taking off at the same airstrip. One such sortie is memorable in that a rebel aircraft took off and immediately returned and 'fired' on the airstrip. My plane was not hit but some around me were. Scary! I had signed up with MATS (later MAC) to see the world. I got to see more of it than I'd bargained. Still, my memories are positive, and I'm glad I had the chance to fly the aircraft and become friends with the members of my aircrews...a great group of competent cohorts.

Dale Casey, 01.05.2011

I was an Aircraft Radio Repairman stationed at Hickam Field from '68 to '71. Anything on a Shakey that wasn't wired down would soon hit the floor or fall off. If you were working on a Shakey when the engine shop was doing a run-up, forget about writing anything down.......impossible. When they would run up those P&W oil slicks, that ole bird would ooze around on those big tires so you had to hold on for the ride. At that time, Hickam had about twenty C124Cs stationed on the base. When Fat Albert (C5A) came into service, all of our 124s were sent to National Guard units. We were sweating bullets getting the last three flyable. They had ghosts that were extremely difficult to find and fix but we finally got'er done. I have many memories of the ole Shakey, some good some bad but they will all be with me. I only had the opportunity to fly on her twice, supporting the Hawaii National Guard for their annual two week stint on the Big Island.

Kurt Gibson, 23.04.2011

I have been trying to find any information of an accident involving C-124 ser# 51-5198 at Hickem that happened on 6 March 1968. This is all I know about it. Can anyone sent me information or even pictures of this ground accident. Anything would be greatly appreciated.

Dan Lucey, 18.04.2011

Not too many of the Old Timers left.I was assigned to the 2nd SS when it was stationed at Castle AFB at Atwater Ca. in 1953. What a surprise to see the airplane that used to fly over the barracks on take off when I was in basic training. Watching them overhead I was puzzled as to how the lack of wing area supported that much fuselage.
I began as all entry levels as a Engine mechanic in the Docks working on #2 engine. Was rather quickly moved to the flight line flying with Walt Datusman, Jack Sugars MSgt Wilson, Squeeky McCwen. C T Williams and I had our own plane. Not to run on, but all that were in a SS sqdn. know the many hours we flew and worked. GREAT AIRPLANE.

Jon Owens, 17.04.2011

This has been great fun reading about how much others enjoyed flying and working on the C-124. Reading the posts has brought back many happy memories, while in the Air Force. You flight crews were the greatest, and I just want to thank you for allowing a young airmen to drink a little of your coffee during those long flights over the Pacific.

Jon Owens, 17.04.2011

Like many, I enjoyed the years of working on and flying in Shaky Jakes all over the Pacific traveling to many locations out of Hickham, AFB, 1502nd FLMS in the early 1960s to assist with an engine changes as a prop mechanic. I was one of the lucky ones being able to get off the "Rock" often.

Gene Ellsworth A/1C, 16.04.2011

Took my basic at sampson, Feb 54 - tech school at Chanute, recip engine specialist and to Dover, 21st air transport sqd. from sept 1954 to sept 1957. I have a model purchased at hill A.F.B. Put small D.C.motors on the 4 engins and l.e.d.lights as needed. I visit Pima air museum in Tucson often to visit one of my old birds. Still in my blood.4/18/11

Don Pfohl, 14.04.2011

I was an aircraft electrician at McChord from January 1958 to June 1961. I was home at McChord on the sending end of the Congo operation. Many of my shop buddies went to France and one to Leopoldville. We have occasional reunions of electricians from that time, but the 7 original members is now down to 4. All of us loved the C-124 and the 1705ATG and the 62nd TCW.

Jim Frazier, 13.04.2011

I was a C-124 driver from 1962 to 1969 based at Tachikawa, Hickam and Hamilton. It was an amazing machine and I have to admit an emotional moment when I delivered an A-model to the bone yard at Davis-Monthan AFB.

JERRY E LAWSON SR, 11.04.2011

I was @ Sheppard afb in sqd-3767 in 7-19-63 for recip-mechanic training & crawled through the wing to engine#2 step down into the nacell & looked @ that big 4360 housed in there ; & then on to engine #1; what a Aircraft!! C-124 .

JERRY E LAWSON SR, 11.04.2011

I was @ Sheppard afb in sqd-3767 in 7-19-63 for recip-mechanic training & crawled through the wing to engine#2 step down into the nacell & looked @ that big 4360 housed in there ; & then on to engine #1; what a Aircraft!! C-124 .

Leonard W (Bill) Riley III, 10.04.2011

As an Air Force navigator I flew over 2,000 hours in the
C-124A and C-124C aircraft, mostly in the Pacific. One of the most enjoyable aircraft I ever crewed. Low and slow and you knew that almost everytime you landed you would crew rest. Wonderful way to see the world. Feel so fortunate to have been able to navigate when skills and judgement were used, not just black boxes.

Leonard W R iley III, 10.04.2011

Have about 2,000 hours flying in the C-124A/C as navigator. Low and slow but we knew almost everytime we landed we would crew rest. Wonderful way to see the world. Those were the days when there was skill to navigation, not just reading a black box. Loved every minute of it.

Dale Smith, 04.04.2011

Although not mentioned above there was also a single YC-124B model which Douglas Long Beach designed and built. The purpose of the plane was to assist in the engineering development of the P&W T34 turboprop installation which was subsequently used in the C-133A. This engine, the T34-P3A version, was quite large for its time. It was a worthwhile effort because a lot of C-133 problems were avoided. I arrived in Long Beach Engineering in mid 1954, after the test program, which evidently was anything but dull.

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