The Douglas C-54 was the military version of the four-engine, Douglas DC-4 commercial transport. The C-54 was modified over the years into thirteen different variants and 1,084 examples of the aircraft were built for military service. It was never adapted for parachute delivery of either troops or cargo. C-54 Skymasters flew a total of 79,642 ocean crossings during World War II, with only three aircraft lost. The C-54 also participated in operations between India and China over the Himalayan Mountains—flying the ”Hump.” Skymasters transported supplies to both the European and Pacific Theaters during World War II. Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs) operated the C-54 and piloted some of these missions. After World War II, over two hundred C-54s, including this C-54G, hauled coal, food and milk to West Berlin, Germany, during the Berlin Airlift.
Serial Number: 45-0502
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney R-2000-9; 1,450 horsepower each
Wingspan: 117 feet 6 inches
Length: 93 feet 10 inches
Height: 27 feet 6 inches
Weight: 38,930 pounds (empty); 62,000 pounds (normal); 73,000 pounds (maximum)
Speed: 190 mph (cruising); 275 mph (maximum)
Range: 3,900 miles at 190 mph at 10,000 feet
Service Ceiling: 22,300 feet
Armament: None; seats for up to 50 passengers; up to 7 tons of cargo
Cost: $1,180,000 (actual)
During World War II, the repair and overhaul shops at Hill Air Force Base were responsible for maintenance work on C-54 Pratt & Whitney R-2000 engines and propellers. Hill Air Force Base also supported Operation Vittles (Berlin Airlift) in several ways starting in 1948. Ogden supported the Berlin Airlift with engine cradles, pneumatic mattresses, vehicles, kits, parachutes, test equipment, telephones, ground radio equipment, airborne communications equipment and miscellaneous accessories. Hill Air Force Base personnel also repaired propellers for the C-54s during this operation.
The museum’s C-54 is painted to resemble the aircraft flown during the Berlin Airlift, particularly the “Candy Bomber” missions flown during Operation Vittles by Utah native Colonel Gail S. Halvorsen.
The C-54G was manufactured by Douglas Aircraft and delivered to the United States Air Force (USAF) in June 1945. It was chosen to serve the 10th Air Force in Karachi, Pakistan. It left for Pakistan in July 1945 and returned to the US in October.