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Douglas DC-4 Airliner,
C-54 Skymaster Photos & Information

douglas_dc-3_N96358_photo   douglas_dc-4_prototype

Last modified Aug. 14, 2014

Click on images and links below
1945-46 Chicago & Southern Air Lines brochure on their DC-4 Dixiliners. Eight pages. On the first page you'll see that they brag about the Wright Cyclone 9 HD engine, but I'm sure they operated the standard C-54/DC-4, P&W R2000.
Chicago & Southern operated six DC-4's (C-54's) starting in late 1945, through 1950-51 when they were replaced with Constellations. C&S was acquired by Delta in 1953 (PDF's, you may need to make them smaller)
Check out this 5-cent Air Mail promotion, also C&S (Click on images)
Seven page Douglas news release on their DC-4, promoting it for postwar airline use. Pretty impressive! (When it comes up as a PDF you might want to make the image a bit smaller)
DC-4 factory specs. Lots of interesting stuff here!
We'll start with the C-54 in the Preferred Airparts' 2015 calendar and then go by Douglas SN
All information is subject to your confirmation.
Most of these are from photos, negatives and slides in my collection and are available for purchase..

1943 Douglas C-54A-DO sn 3108, USAAF 41-37317,
at Guam Air Depot, Harmon Field, North Island
American Airlines DC-4 N90413, "Flagship Cleveland"

What a beautiful shot! This is a very sharp old print in my collection. If you're a WW2 history buff you will probably want to know that for the calendar we photoshopped the roof to the left of the sign, to make it longer so the image was proportional for the paper size. The image here is just as scanned from the original

A closeup of the buildings from the original photo, and here's a nice scan of just the nose.
41-37317 was delivered to the United States Army Air Force on 10/30/43 and was sold to American Airlines in 1946, to become their DC-4 NC90413, "Flagship Cleveland." It joined Air France as F-BELJ on 6/13/49; was leased to Air Vietnam in 1969 where it became XV-NUN; was sold to them in 3/74; and was withdrawn from use and stored in 1975.
1939 Douglas DC-4E, sn 1601, NX18100, JA6005

The first DC-4 was not a roaring success. One was built and a total redesign into what we know as the famous "DC-4" followed. The DC-4E was then designated the DC-4E, with "E" for Experimental.

This 2/13/39 photo shows it as NX18100, and in this case the "X" represented "Experimental." It was loaned to United Air Lines for operational evaluation in 5/39, returned 8/39, and sold in Japan in 9/39 where it became JA6005. See Wikipedia for more info.
  Here are close up shots of the nose -- the engines -- and the tail. Let's move on now!
1944 Douglas C-54B, R5D sn 18329, N86582, Eastern Air Lines
ex USAAF 43-17129, USN Bu39114

USAAF C-54B 43-17129 was delivered in 5/44 and transferred to the USN as R5D-2 Bu39114.

After the war it was common for the military to lease aircraft to the airlines, and in 4/46 this one went to Eastern Air Lines to become N86582, Fleet #704. Eastern operated it until 11/51 and returned it.
This photo was shot under a Wright powered DC-3 which, interestingly, has the batteries dropped down. I have an "Underwood & Underwood" 8x10 original. This shot was also made into postcards, as here.
1945 Douglas C-54E sn 27263, NC45344, TWA
ex USAAF 44-9037, later HP-311, VP-LAH, N174DP

TWA's NC45344, Fleet #603, "The Colosseum," was delivered on Feb. 9, 1945 as C-54E-1-DO, Douglas sn 27263, and USAAF 44-9037.

The military C-54E Skymaster was a convertible passenger/cargo aircraft with a gross weight of 73,000 pounds. It carried 3540-gal of fuel in six wing tanks, and had 44 passenger seats.
The date and location of the photo are unknown. TWA became Trans World Airline in 1950, so it was likely then or later, although it still has the NC registration.
Nose: Note the celestial navigation astrodome right behind the cockpit, and the ADF (Automatic Direction Finder) loop antenna on the belly with a manually operated DF antenna behind that. Some sources misspell Colosseum but it is clearly visible in this photo.
Action center: Note the servicing crew; INTAVA refuelers with "Imperial Oil" on the doors; jugs at the bottom of the passenger entrance stairs (de-ice alcohol, water for passengers??) with passenger and cargo doors at the top; and people all over the place getting it ready for the next flight.

Colosseum was operated by TWA from 8/46 to 3/58. One source indicates they used the C-54 for freight only. In January 1947 they commenced a weekly freight run to Lydda, Israel, via New York, Gander, Shannon, Paris, Geneva, Rome, Athens and Cairo. TWA operated a total of 14, C-54B, E and G aircraft.

It's history is somewhat typical of C-54/DC-4 aircraft: Transcontinental & Western Air bought it 5/15/46; renamed Trans World Airlines in 5/50; leased to Flying Tigers in 1958; sold to California Airmotive 6/59; leased to Associated Air Transport 11/60; sold to Aerovias Panama Airways 3/61, became HP-311; sold to Universal Trading Corp. 1966 and became N45344 again; sold to Coastal Aircraft Machine 8/66; sold to Seagreen Air Transport 3/71, registered in Anguilla as VP-LAH; leased to R&W Caribbean Enterprises 7/74, became N174DP; sold to Tundra Leasing ltd. 5/75; leased to L&N Enterprises 5/75; and sold to Interamerica Air Lease 6/75.
Its demise came on March 4, 1977. Interamerica Air Lease was the operator, and someone was doing some naughties. Reports say that the pilot attempted a landing on "unsuitable terrain" near Monroe Station, FL with 3720-lb. of marijuana on board. It was wet, soft ground in an open area in the Everglades, and the nose gear collapsed. It may have been a stolen aircraft or an unauthorized flight. Here's the NTSB report and that on ASN.
1945 Douglas C-54E sn 27284, N96358
ex USAAF 44-9058, USN Bu90397
There's not many active C-54's these days but this one sure is! Alaska Air Fuel Inc. of Palmer, AK is serious about their DC-4 aircraft! When I took these photos there in 2013 they had one in operation and more in the works.
Those P&W R-2000's are good engines but with four per airplane, and flying a lot of hours, you'd better get pretty good at changing them. I'm sure they will be doing some in the dead of winter!
  Here's another shot from the front, and from the rear. That's a pretty airplane!
History: sn 27284 was delivered to the USAAF in 3/45 as C-54E-5-DO, 44-9058, and transferred to the Navy as R5D-4R Bu90397. It was withdrawn from use and taken to Davis Monthan for storage in 4/70. Interair Leases bought it in 1/75 and sold it to International Air Leases in 12/75. In 1977 it was owned by Gerald Wilson in Lewiston, ID; then to Aero Flite in Chester, CA who flew it as Tanker 160.
Brooks Air Fuel of Fairbanks, AK then used it for flying fuel out to Alaskan villages, and more recently it and others were bought by Alaska Air Fuel, of Palmer. The photos below show it over the years. I also saw it at Brooks in Fairbanks in 2008.
Dec. 1976
Oct. 1991
June 1997
The crew let me go inside and take some shots, and here they are:
Many of the remote Alaskan villages are totally dependent on aircraft for supplies, including fuel of all kinds. The '4 has four of these 830 gallon tanks, which were formerly used in a military aerial refueler of some kind. We used similar tanks in our C-47's for spraying. .
Making our way forward - there's even a place to hang some cloths. Between working on these things and handling fuels, a "clean change" is probably needed along the way sometimes! Note the gray tank down on the bottom right corner.
That is the 50-gallon reserve tank for engine oil, with a selector valve to direct oil out to the engine that needs it!
Approaching the flight deck now; pilots side of the panel; a close up; F/O's panel; and lots of levers to keep things hot and cold, and going up and down as needed!
Barrels of something - and if I know anything it's engine oil! And yes, it would be properly lashed down before taking off.
And oh wow - - what a beauty this old '55 Cessna 310 is! There's just something sweet about those old birds and when you park it alongside a DC-4 you have a real combo!!.
  I have old 8x10 black & whites, and slides on nearly 100 more C-54/DC-4 aircraft, military and civilian, including some very interesting ones. I hope to post more but have other priorities first! Click here for info on my aviation collection for sale.
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