Here are some photos Robert took of Douglas C-54D Skymaster s/n 56498 taken at North Weald in June 2006 and this is the favorite plane of the author.

Douglas SkymasterAirplane show very simple but effective color scheme, typical for the time when it served. The sample on the images served in the United States Air Force Air Transport Command. 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. The USAAF accepted a grand total of 1,162 C-54’s. Specifically, the C-54 program comprised 24 C-54s, 252 C-54As (56 to the Navy), 220 C-54Bs (30 to the Navy), 1 VC-54C specially modified to serve as Presidential transport for President Roosevelt (SACRED COW). 380 C-54Ds (86 to the Navy), 125 C-54Es (20 to the Navy) 162 C-54Gs (13 to the Navy) another 235 C-54Gs were cancelled after VJ-Day. President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which created the U.S. Air Force, on board “Sacred Cow”, the Presidential C-54 which is preserved at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. More than 300 C-54s and R5Ds formed the backbone of the US contribution to the Berlin Airlift in 1948. They also served as the main airlift during the Korean War. After the Korean War, the C-54 was replaced by the Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, but continued to be used by the U.S. Air Force until 1972.

The C-54 was the personal aircraft of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Douglas MacArthur, and Winston Churchill (along with an Avro York). The C-54 was also used by the Royal Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, the Armée de l’Air, and the armed forces of at least twelve other nations.

Robert Hodgson