Douglas C-124 Globemaster II Heavy-Lift Transport Aircraft
The Globemaster II was a direct post-war design development of the World War 2-era C-74 Globemaster I.
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With the close of World War 2 and the accompanying Berlin Airlift, the United States military saw a need to replace its aged C-74 "Globemaster I" systems with a newer and more capable platform. The C-124 was put forth as a product of the Douglas Aviation Company and accepted as the "Globemaster II". From 1950 to 1974, the C-124 served a pivotal role through two major conflicts in Korea and Vietnam and several smaller engagements along the way. As a cargo hauler, it was the best available at what it was asked to do. And what it was asked it do, the Globemaster II did extremely well.
Visually the C-124 was characterized by its enlarged frontal fuselage and low-mounted wings, each fitted with two engines. Cargo access was accomplished through a front twin door opening (sometimes called a clamshell) just underneath the flight deck. The forward cargo bay opening was also featured with a powered lift while an additional cargo entry/exit position was made available on the aft underside. A single vertical tail surface was mounted atop the empennage. Crew accommodations amounted to six personnel. Power was supplied from no fewer than 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 piston engines of the "Wasp Major" type - powerful engines generating some 3,800 horsepower apiece.
The C-124 saw extensive action in the Korean War and into the Vietnam conflict. the system was quite capable of accomplishing any wartime feat that including the transportation of armor, artillery pieces, construction/engineering equipment, general supplies and ballistic missiles. The C-124 was also versatile enough as a passenger transport or medical patient mover, moving some 200 soldiers or 127 wounded at a time. In the end, the C-124 was an excellent logistical piece for the American military and its many years of service proved just that.
Operating branches of the C-124 system included the United States Air Force (SAC), the Air National Guard and the Military Air Transport Service. USAF C-124's were officially retired in 1974 and, in all, some near-450 examples were produced. Visitors to the United States Air Force Museum are treated to an indoor static display of an open C-124 (s/n 51-0135) to which they can walk up into the cargo hold of the aircraft.