Military Factory
flag of United States

Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Transport (1942)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 6/20/2013

The C-54 Skymaster was a pivotal American aircraft serving actively throughout the Berlin Airlift.

Tweet
Derived from the commercial DC-4 airliner, the C-54 Skymaster was a workhorse transport aircraft for both the United States Army and the United States Navy branches of service. Planned as a technologically superior successor to the DC-3 type, the early DC-4 design suffered through growing pains of burgeoning pressurization technology, proving too much to handle and well ahead of its time. As such, the DC-4 design went back to a simplified un-pressurized version that would become the basis for the C-54 for Army use and the R5D for Navy usage.

Design of the DC-4 type consisted primarily of a sleek fuselage and began as early as 1935, though production elements were not delivered till 1942. Even then, the early models destined for civilian transport use were rerouted and enlisted for military service. Four Pratt & Whitney brand radials were mounted on the low monoplane wing assembly. A single ventral vertical surface was set on the tail section in place of the twin fins found on the early DC-4E models. Crew accommodations amounted to 4, with seating for up to 86 civilian passengers and an additional four in-flight service crew.

The system saw extensive service for both US branches and appeared in a variety of forms, differing in powerplant usage and number of passenger seats. Some dedicated troop and cargo transports existed with US President Roosevelt's own VIP version known as the "Sacred Cow" - utilized as a personal transport throughout the war. Post war service amounted to high utilization during the Berlin Airlift as well as serving in further models as a civil passenger airliner in later years.

Text ©2003-2014 www.MilitaryFactory.com. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Permitted. Email corrections/comments to MilitaryFactory at Gmail dot com.
Picture of Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)
Pic of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)
Image of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)
View All Images (5)

Specifications for the
Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)
Transport


Focus Model: Douglas C-54A (R5D-1) Skymaster
Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1942
Production: 1,122


Crew: 6 + 86


Length: 93.83ft (28.6m)
Width: 117.49ft (35.81m)
Height: 27.49ft (8.38m)
Weight (Empty): 37,000lbs (16,783kg)
Weight (MTOW): 62,005lbs (28,125kg)


Powerplant: 4 x Pratt & Whitney E-2000-7 Twin Wasp radial engines generating 1,290hp each.


Maximum Speed: 265mph (426kmh; 230kts)
Maximum Range: 3,899miles (6,275km)
Service Ceiling: 21,982ft (6,700m; 4.2miles)
Rate-of-Climb: 0 feet per minute (0m/min)


Hardpoints: 0
Armament Suite:
None.


Variants:
DC-4 - Base Series Designation


DC-4E - Pressurized Model to succeed the DC-3; increased range; fitted with 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-2000-2SD1-G Twin Wasp engines; later changed to unpressurized type for technical reasons.

C-54 - United States Army Base Series Designation; 26 passenger type; R-2000-7 radial engines; 26 total examples.

C-54A - Fully militarized US Army type; R-2000-7 engines; 50 passenger seating.

C-54B - US Army version; implemented wing tanks.

C-54D - US Army version; R-2000-11 radials.

C-54E - US Army version; redesigned fuel tanks; dual-role passenger/cargo handler.

C-54G - US Army version; dedicated troop carrier.

R5D - United States Navy Base Series Designation.

R5D-1 - Fully militarized USN type; R-2000-7 engines; 50 passenger seating.

R5D-2 - USN version; implemented wing tanks.

R5D-3 - USN version; R-2000-11 radials.

R5D-4 - USN version; redesigned fuel tanks; dual-role passenger/cargo handler.

R5D-5 - USN version; dedicated troop carrier.


Operators:
United States