C-54 G “Skymaster”

News, Plane of the Week April 11, 2017

Douglas C-54G-1-DO “Skymaster”
S/N 45-0502

Crew:  Six
Engines:  Four Pratt & Whitney R-2000-9; 1,450 hp each
Wingspan:  117 ft 6 in
Length:  93 ft 10 in
Height:  27 ft 6 in
Weight:  38,930 empty; 62,000 lbs normal load; 73,000 lbs maximum
Speed:  190 mph cruise; 275 mph max
Range:  3,900 miles at 190 mph at 10,000 ft
Ceiling:  22,300 ft
Armament:  None; seats for up to 50 passengers; up to 7 tons of cargo
Cost:  $1,180,000 (actual)

The C-54G was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft and delivered to the United States Air Force in June 1945. It was chosen to serve the 10th Air Force in Karachi, Pakistan. It left for Pakistan in July 1945 and returned to the United States in October.

After returning it went to Tinker AAF, Brookley AAF, and then Morrison AAF. A year later the aircraft was sent to Westover AAF where it departed for three more overseas assignments. In June 1948 the C-54 was assigned to the 520th Troop Carrier Squadron of the Military Air Transport Command at Westover AFB. The next month it was dispatched to West Germany to support the Berlin Airlift.

Through the 1950s and 1960s the aircraft was transferred between various Military Air Transport Service assignments across the world. After years of service the aircraft was declared excess and was assigned in March 1973 to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. It wad dropped from the United States Air Force inventory in November 1974 and Haiti Air Freight in Miami, FL bought the aircraft to use for shipping operations.

The C-54 became part of the United States Air Force Museum System in the early 1990s, and was assigned to Hill Aerospace Museum. In February 1992 the aircraft made its final flight from Tucson to Hill Air Force Base for permanent display. The engines were then removed, and fuel and hydraulic systems were purged. In October 1992 the aircraft was towed to the museum and placed on static display. In 1995 the C-54 was painted to commemorate the Candy Bomber missions flown during ‘Operation Vittles” by Utah-native Col. Gail Halvorsen. Col. Halvorsen is featured in the Hill Aerospace Museum’s Utah Aviation Hall of Fame.

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