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Fighter / Attack:
   Bell P-39 Airacobra
   Bell P-63 Kingcobra
   Brewster Buffalo
   Chance-Vought F-4U Corsair
   Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
   Curtiss SB2C Helldiver
   Douglas A-1 Skyraider
   Douglas A-26 Invader
   Douglas SBD Dauntless
   Fairey Firefly
   Focke-Wulf Fw 190
   Grumman F4F Wildcat
   Grumman F6F Hellcat
   Grumman F7F Tigercat
   Grumman F8F Bearcat
   Grumman TBF Avenger
   Hawker Hurricane
   Hawker Sea Fury
   Lockheed P-38 Lightning
   Messerschmitt Bf-109
   Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen
   North American P-51 Mustang

   Polikarpov I-16
   Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
   Supermarine Spitfire
   Yakovlev Yak-3
   Yakovlev Yak-9

Beechcraft AT-11 Kansan (C-45)
   Beechcraft T-34 Mentor
   Boeing / Stearman PT-17

   Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
   Commonwealth CA-1 Wirraway
   DeHavilland DHC-1 Chipmunk
   DeHavilland DH-82 Tiger Moth
   Fairchild PT-19 Cornell
   Hunting / Percival Provost
   Meyers OTW
   Nanchang CJ-6
   Naval Aircraft Factory N3N
   N. Am. BT-9 / BT-14 / Yale
   N. Am. T-6 Texan / SNJ / Harvard
   N. American T-28 Trojan

   Piaggio P149
   Ryan PT-22 Recruit

   Scottish Aviation T1 Bulldog
   Vultee BT-13 Valiant
   Yakovlev Yak-11
   Yakovlev Yak-18
   Yakovlev Yak-52

   Avro Lancaster
   Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
   Boeing B-29 Superfortress
   Bristol Blenheim / Bolingbroke
   Consolidated B-24 Liberator
   Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

   Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
   DeHavilland Mosquito
   Fairey Swordfish
   Heinkel He-111 / Casa 2.111

   Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon / Ventura
   Martin B-26 Marauder
   North American B-25 Mitchell

   Beechcraft C-45 (AT-11)

   Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (KC-97)
   Curtiss C-46 Commando
   Douglas C-47 Skytrain / Dakota
   Douglas C-54 Skymaster

   Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar
   Fairchild C-123 Provider
   Grumman C-1 Trader (S-2)
   Lockheed C-60 Lodestar
   Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Utility / Observation / Special Duty:
   Aeronca L-3 Grasshopper
   Aeronca L-16 Grasshopper
   Antonov AN-2 Colt
   Auster AOP 6/9
   Avro 652 Anson
   Avro Shackleton
   British Taylorcraft I-V
   Cessna L-19 / O-1 Bird Dog
   Cessna O-2 Super Skymaster
   Cessna T-50 / UC-78 Bobcat
   Consolidated PBY Catalina

   DeHavilland U-6A / L-20 Beaver
   Fairey Gannet
   Fairey Swordfish
   Fieseler Fi156 Storch
   Grumman S-2 Tracker (C-1)
   Grumman HU-16 Albatross
   Grumman OV-1 Mohawk
   Junkers Ju 52/3m

   Lockheed P2V Neptune
   Max Holste M.H.1521 Broussard
   Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun

   Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman
   North American L-17 Navion
   N. Am./ Rockwell OV-10 Bronco
   Piper L-4 Grasshopper
   Stinson L-5 Sentinel
   Taylorcraft L-2 Grasshopper
   Westland Lysander

   Aero L-29 Delfin
   Aero L-39 Albatros
   Aermacchi MB-326
   Avro Vulcan
   BAC Strikemaster
   Blackburn (BAC) Buccaneer
   Canadair Tutor
   Cessna A-37 Dragonfly
   DeHavilland Vampire
   DeHavilland Venom
   English Electric Canberra
   English Electric Lightning
   Folland Gnat
   Fouga CM-170 Magister
   Gloster Meteor
   Grumman F9F Panther
   Hawker Hunter
   Hispano HA-200 Saeta
   Hunting Jet Provost
   Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
   Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star
   McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
   McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom
   Messerschmitt Me-262
   Mikoyan MiG-15
   Mikoyan MiG-17
   Mikoyan MiG-21
   N. Am. F-86 Sabre / FJ-4 Fury
   N. Am. F-100 Super Sabre
   N. Am. / Rockwell T-2 Buckeye
   Northrop T-38 Talon / F-5
   PZL / WSK TS-11 Iskra
   Saab J35 Draken
   Soko G-2A Galeb
   Temco Pinto & Super Pinto

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Douglas C-54 Skymaster

(Variants/Other Names: R5D; Also see History below)

A Douglas C-54D Skymaster repainted in WWII US Army Air Force markings at Chico, California in October 1992. (Photo by RuthAS, used via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.)

History: When it was decided that the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, should have a personal airplane to transport him to meetings around the world, the aircraft of choice was the US Army Air Corps’ (USAAC) C-54A Skymaster. Dubbed ‘The Sacred Cow’, this was the plane that took the president to Tehran, Casablanca, Hawaii and other less exotic spots in the USA.

The C-54 was the military derivative of the Douglas DC-4, a four-engine long range airliner with a three-man crew and accommodations for up to 49 passengers or 26 troops. Originally designed to a specification from United Airlines, the DC-4 had a maximum speed of 274 mph and a range of 3900 miles. The first 61 civilian orders were followed by a further buy for 71 from the USAAC though, in the end, most ended up in Army service.

To meet the military’s more stringent needs, the DC-4 was given a cargo door, stronger floor, cargo boom hoist and larger wing tanks. First flight of the military C-54 occurred on 26 March 1942. During the war years, 1242 C-54s were delivered with a wide variety of modifications. A few of the major ones were the C-54A, the original, fully militarized model capable of lifting 50 soldiers or 32,500 pounds of cargo; the JC-54D, which was modified for missile nose cone recovery; the C-54E, with larger Pratt & Whitney engines, bigger fuel tanks for longer range and a specially designed cabin for quick conversion between passenger and cargo roles; the C-54M, which was a C-54E stripped out to serve as a coal-carrier during the Berlin Airlift; the EC-54U, a post-war modification as an electronic counter-measures platform; and at least 14 sub-variants built for the US Navy originally called the R5D. There were numerous other variants which performed countless other roles, from VIP transport to multi-engine training.

The C-54 offered sterling service for both the USAF and the US Navy after the war, and was not fully retired until the late 1960’s. Ex-military Skymasters became popular as cargo transports and fire bombers, and many are still in active use around the world in these roles. A lucky few have been acquired by appreciative warbird groups in the USA.  [History by Jeff VanDerford]

Nicknames: The Sacred Cow (FDR's personal transport); Rescuemaster (US Air Force's SC-54D air-sea rescue variant.)

        Engines: Four 1,450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-2000-2SD-13G Twin Wasp radial piston engines.
        Weight: Empty 43,300 lbs., Max Takeoff 73,000 lbs.
        Wing Span: 117ft. 6in.
        Length: 93ft. 10in.
        Height: 27ft. 6in.
            Maximum Speed: 280 mph at 14,000 ft.
            Ceiling: 22,300 ft.
            Range: 2,500 miles
        Armament: None

Number Built: 1000+ (military versions)

Number Still Airworthy: At least 100 

AeroWeb C-54 Specs Page
Air Force Association C-54 Page
Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation -- Operates C-54E / R5D "Spirit of Freedom."
CNAPG DC-4 (C-54) Page
Israeli Air Force Transports
Photovault C-54 Photo Page

Aircraft of the U.S. Military Air Transport Service

Aircraft of the United States' Military Air Transport Service
by Nicholas M. Williams
Hardcover, 192 pages

Published 1999 by Specialty Press

A detailed history of the many aircraft operated by MATS in its heyday (including the C-54).

Price: $27.97





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