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Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4)

United States (1942)
Picture of Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft
Picture of Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft Picture of Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft
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The C-54 Skymaster was a pivotal American aircraft serving actively throughout the Berlin Airlift.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

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.


Picture of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft
Picture of the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft



Any available statistics for the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




Cockpit picture from the Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft
Douglas C-54 Skymaster (DC-4) Cockpit Picture


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 300mph
Lo: 150mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (275mph).

    Graph average of 225 miles-per-hour.
Relative Operational Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Douglas C-54A (R5D-1) Skymaster's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era Impact
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1170
1170


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Supported Mission Types:
Air-to-Air
Interception
Unmanned
Ground Attack
Close-Air Support
Training
Anti-Submarine
Anti-Ship
Airborne Early Warning
MEDEVAC
Electronic Warfare
Maritime/Navy
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
Passenger Industry
VIP Travel
Business Travel
Search/Rescue
Recon/Scouting
Special Forces
X-Plane/Development
National Flag Graphic
National Origin: United States
Service Year: 1942
Classification Type: Four-Engine Military Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
Production Units: 1,170
Operational Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Aden; Algeria; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Barbados; Belgium; Bolivia; Burundi; Cameroon; Canada; Chad; Republic of China (Taiwan); Colombia; Democratic Republic of the Congo; Denmark; Ecuador; El Salvador; France; Gabon; Greece; Hong Kong; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Ivory Coast; Japan; Kenya; Lebanon; Luxembourg; Madagascar; Mauritania; Mexico; Netherlands; Nicaragua; Niger; Norway; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; South Africa; South Korea; South Vietnam; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Syria; Thailand; United Kingdom; United States; Venezuela
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Douglas C-54A (R5D-1) Skymaster model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
4


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
93.50 ft


Meters
28.5 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
117.45 ft


Meters
35.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
27.56 ft


Meters
8.4 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
38,934 lb


Kilograms
17,660 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
72,753 lb


Kilograms
33,000 kg

Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Pratt & Whitney E-2000-7 "Twin Wasp" air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,290 horsepower each and driving three-bladed propeller units.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
275 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
442 kph


Knots
239 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
3,977 mi


Kilometers
6,400 km


Nautical Miles
3,456 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
22,310 ft


Meters
6,800 m


Miles
4.23 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model 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 "Skymaster" - 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.