Douglas C-54D Skymaster

Douglas C-54D Skymaster

Developed as a civilian transport and first flown in 1938, the DC-4E was redesigned and placed into production as a troop and cargo aircraft in 1941. Used extensively in the Pacific Theater, the C-54s assigned to the Air Transport Command made over 79,000 ocean crossing during the war with a loss of only three aircraft. One was fitted with an elevator for use by President Roosevelt, and dubbed ‘The Sacred Cow’. The C-54 was the backbone of the ‘Berlin Airlift’ in 1948-1949.

USAAF S/N 42-72449 is a C-54D-1-DC, one of 380 C-54Ds built by Douglas Aircraft in Chicago, Illinois and accepted on February 5, 1945. It was flown to the San Diego Naval Air Station and transferred to the U.S. Navy as R5D-3 with the Bu. No. 50874, and it spent its entire service life with the Navy. It served with a number of units including VR-1 at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland; VR-8 at Hickam AFB, Hawaii; VR-22 at NAS Norfolk, Virginia; and VR-24 at Port Lyautey, Morocco. Designated as a C-54Q in 1962, its final assignment began in September, 1962 with the Office of Naval Research in Boston, Massachusetts. It was retired to Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona in February, 1970, and sold to Mercy Airlift Inc. as N27MA in September, 1975. The aircraft was painted and flown to the museum by Aero Union of Chico, California on January 23, 1990. It is on permanent loan from the U.S. Forestry Service.


Crew: Five, accommodations for 50 troops.

Power Plants: Four 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engines.


Span: 117 ft 6 in.

Length: 93 ft 10 in.

Height: 27 ft 6 in.


Max. Speed: 265 mph.

Service Ceiling: 22,000 ft.

Range: 3,900 miles.

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