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

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Jim, 15.11.2015

Does anyone have any information on the C-124C that crashed on Jan. 22, 1965, killing all? Registration number of the aircraft was 52-1058; it crashed into Mt. Helmos near Greece and my brother was one of the 10 that died. We never received much information from the USAF and I would really like to know more about this crash. Thanks.

James C. "Speedy" Wheeler, 26.10.2015

Good Morning John,
Thanks for the nice comments. First, the C-124A number 51-158. The timing you gave fits at least very closely with the transfer of aircraft of the 19th Logistics Support Squadron (LSS). I left the 19th in April for a tour at Lajes in the Azores and shortly after is when I believe the 19th updated their aircraft from the C-124A's to the C-124C's.
On my opinion on the fuel question, I took the 4th of more than 60 of the EC-47's from New Hampshire to Vietnam. Of course the aircraft had 4 fuel tanks with a total capacity of 804 Gallons. When we reached California we had 2 250 Gallon tanks installed in the fuselage giving the total of 1304 Gallons. Our longest leg was from Guam to Clark AB in the Philippines of 13 hours and 25 minutes. Normally fuel burn is taken to be 100 Gallons per Hour so you can see we were VERY LOW ON FUEL. Speedy

john Hille, 26.10.2015

Speedy, enjoy all your post as ell as all the others. Seems you have an incredible recall as to the specifics of numbers. We used two bladder tanks when we ferried the C-7s back from Nam, but I sure don't remember the gallons of them. However I do remember in great detail everything we did during engine conditioning, i.e. mag installation, air/valve checks and after phase run ups to check all the systems. I think I could work the engineers panel blindfolded. Some things one never forgets, and I do think the more you enjoyed the things you did the longer you remember those things. Oh, and those planes that flew non-stop Hickham to the East coast--maybe they went to 35,000 feet and caught the jet stream. Well, just saying.

James C. "Speedy" Wheeler, 25.10.2015

I know I have been in here several times but I enjoy the reading as I did serving with the aircraft so I hope you don't mind another comment/opinion.
Whether or not the C-124 could fly from the east coast to Hawaii without stopping for fuel, why would anyone be foolish enough to want to try because if you do you have only two options, Land in Hawaii or in the Pacific.
Not on the C-124 but the old C-47 I took to Saigon, our longest leg was 13 Plus hours flying time with a Max Load of fuel (with 2 extra tanks) of 1304 Gallons, we landed on Fumes Only due to weather/wind changes. I hope you forgive the comparison. J.C. "Speedy"

Reece, 25.10.2015

We took a couple of 124s from Barksdale AFB, LA to Hickham Field in 1970 in support of a Hawaiian National Guard Exercise. We stopped at March AFB, CA both ways to refuel.

John Hille, 24.10.2015

Reading the last couple of comments about flying the ol' bird non-stop from Hickam to the east coast has got to be a figment of imagination, and I'm not implying it's untrue, but the range, with full fuel load is stated as 4039 miles. the distance from Hickam to Charleston is about 4750 miles, as the crow flies. Even with good tail winds flying the extra 700 miles beyond the range is quite a feat. Took us two weeks to get good enough weather to fly some C-7 Cariboos from Hickam to Travis. Actually for the pilot to even attempt to fly that distance took a lot of balls, as the saying goes. That alone would have overloaded the aircraft. We had a pilot try to fly from Rein Main to Donaldson, arrived Donaldson, was told on final to do a go around for some reason. He did not have enough fuel for a go around, but luck was with him, as the Greenville airport was on the same heading just a few miles North, so he continued to make an almost dead stick landing there. He was later charged $500.00 landing fee. So it goes!

Jack Hoyt, 22.10.2015

I served as a copilot in the 1st SS at Biggs in 1953 - 1955. I remember a ship in our squadron that flew non-stop Hickam to Charleston (obviously without refueling)... Note: SAC 124s had disconnected autopilots in those days. Hand-flew them all the way.

Bob Lassiter MSGT USMC, 14.10.2015

MT Dad, John Lassiter was a flight Eng. at DAFB During the 50/60's. Enjoyed the 10 years as a dependent there. Retire as a Msgt in the USMC.

James C. "Speedy" Wheeler, 12.10.2015

This is in reply to the note left by Don Goodfleisch.
Don it has been a long time, 45 years to be exact since I was on the C-124's at Kelly but to the best of my failing memory, the C-124 would not have been able to make it from Georgia to Hawaii without refueling but I could be wrong. Just another stick for the pile. I am now 77 and except for the memory loss I guess I am doing pretty good. Hope you have a great day. Speedy

Don Goodfleisch, 10.10.2015

I am trying to find anyone else who knows that Agent Orange was carried on C-124's to Vietnam. Please e-mail me at Thanks

Don Goodfleisch, 10.10.2015

Don Goodfleisch. I served at Hickam AFB from 1967-1970 as a recip engine mechanic in the build up shop and finally on the flight line doing transient aircraft maintenance. Ron Reier, Curt Roessler were assigned there from Travis and still maintain contact. We often wonder where the others who we worked with are now. We had many good times there. Anyone who can provide info on Tom Reed, Joseph Thibault, or anyone else there from 1967-1970 would be appreciated. I recall a C124 that arrived with a log entry stating all 4 engines over boost on take off from Georgia (I think) requiring all engines r&r. That crew went home via Pan Am. But they got 4 brand new engines, The build up shop at Hickam was rated as the best in the Air Force; can't help but wonder if that crew knew that. Anyway, email me with any info you may have please.

Willie (Bill) Ross, 14.09.2015

19th log.1962-1966 logged about 150 hrs a month in shaky 2 and 1/2 years,late 63 to end of 65. changed out generater #4 eng. in flight.4 to 5 flights into viet 28 small-arms rounds in the ass-end in 64 (1078).flew everything they requested in (Yes even AO )flew Bodies out to Clark. made crash landing at Tachi (Japan)12 foot visibility 28 days for repairs.Lost all 4 engines coming out of Chianye,green engineer,fogot to hit boost pumps,when he switched tanks,blue stacks and cyls get her going again.Thank about it,alls quite at 9000 ft. on a 124.Iwould love to fly on her again (ALL SMILES)


Walt Martley, 27.08.2015

I am still trying to locate a piece of aviation art that depicts a bunch of crewmwmbers playing cards on the flyaway kit that was stowed back behind the elevator. Anyone with any ideas please scribble to me.

19th Log, 55-56
Engine mech, lowpaid flight mech
Crewed 51-150

John Hille, 22.08.2015

A comment on your post Speedy. Somewhere along the way 51-158 got transferred to Donaldson AFB, SC. I went to Donaldson from Morocco in April of 59 and after working flight line maintenance for about 6 months I was assigned crew Chief on that C-124. The first month I made crew chief of the month, after a ton of work by myself and my assistant to make it the best looking aircraft on the line, and of course generating the least amount of write-ups during the month, but that by the grace of God more than what we did. Douglas made a painting of 51-158 as a presentation gift to whomever they decided to give them to. I found one in an antique shop in NC about 10 years ago, framed beautifully and with the name of who received it. I bought it, and it now hangs over my fireplace in my den. Loved that airplane!!

Reece, 18.08.2015

Thanks for sharing that information, Speedy.

J.C. "Speedy" Wheeler, 16.08.2015

Well this morning I decided to add a little bit more about the first tour with the C-124's and the 19th Logistics Support Squadron (LSS) at Kelly AFB.

We had 13 of the C-124A's with the following numbers. 51-108, 51-109, 51-110, 51-115, 51-150, 51-151, 51-152, 51-153, 51-154, 51-155, 51-156, 51-157 and 51-158. Isn't it amazing I can remember all those numbers and can't remember what I get up and go the bathroom for at night?

Now the odd part; as I began I was going to give a bit of information on the only loss the squadron ever had. That was the loss of 51-156 on 16 August, 1956, 59 years ago today. The crewmen on board numbered 13, the number of men lost was only 1 while the aircraft was totally destroyed and then burned. I have 6 photos of the wreckage should you desire copies.

Personnel at San Salvador AFB, Bahamas were in urgent need of these materials due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Betsy, so two C-124 Globemasters were prepared to fly in supplies.

On departure from Patrick AFB at 05:31 the takeoff weight was 173,741 pounds which is within the limits of 175,000 pounds gross takeoff weight. The first C-124A 51-110 landed at San Salvador on runway 28 following which the pilot contacted 51-0156 to discuss the best direction for landing. The captain of 51-110 advised the crew that landing on runway 10 looked the most favorable as the wind sock seemed to indicate a wind from slightly east of south. San Salvador radio had given the winds as southeast at eleven knots. After a low pass over runway 10, and following the traffic pattern at approximately 07:35 he turned final approach. A crab was established to counter the cross wind from the right. As the C-124 was passing over the approach to the runway, the crew felt a jar on the right gear and thought they had made a hard landing on the right main gear. The captain prepared to make a normal hard landing recovery but the aircraft continued to settle on the right side, sliding down the runway and off the right side, finally stopping with the flight compartment tipped to the right at an estimated 60 degree angle. The aircraft had turned approximately 145 degrees to the right. The crew in the flight compartment escaped through the co-pilots window and to a safe distance.

J.C. "Speedy" Wheeler, 15.08.2015

This is in response to a question by "Mike" on 12/10/2012.
It has been 45 years but I believe the exhaust port on the forward fuselage will prove to be that of a gasoline powered cabin heater mounted in the nose compartment. Anyone else have further, please add your say. J.C.

Fred May, 05.08.2015

Would Ura A Matthews please contact me at

Fred May, 29.07.2015


Leon S, 25.07.2015

@ Speedy Wheeler,I to was at Kelly w/19th Log Oct'59-Aug'60
in the PE dock, Msgt McVey(sic)name comes to mind. Vol. for Japan ended up at Tachikawa '60-'62 w/1503 FLMS, TDY's to
Okie,Korea,Clark,DaNang. Wouldn't change a thing, great times and PPL that I met and worked with.While at Tachi I noticed the flare pistol wrapped in a cloth "bag" and always laying on the floor of the Navigators table, so I sent in a suggestion to mount a 'Holster"on the Navigators table leg for the pistol. Funny thing that a few mounts after I was discharged('62) I received a check from the AF for $50. for the suggestion. That was pretty cool.
Nuff said

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