Model Airplane News
October, 1945

Model Airplane News Cover for October, 1945 by Jo Kotula Douglas C54 Skymaster

Douglas C54 "Skymaster"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for October, 1945
by Jo Kotula
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The Douglas C-54 Skymaster was a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. It was derived from a civilian airliner (the Douglas DC-4).

 The Douglas C54 Skymaster     The Douglas C54 Skymaster

Douglas C54 "Skymaster"

The Douglas C54 Skymaster German flying in the Berlin Airlift      The Douglas C54 Skymaster Berlin Airlift commemorative stamp

The Douglas C54 "Skymaster" in the Berlin Airlift
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The C-54 was one of the most commonly used long-range transports by the U.S. armed forces in World War II. C-54s began service with the US Army Air Forces in 1942. The U.S. Navy also acquired the type, under the designation R5D. 515 C-54s were manufactured in Santa Monica, California and 655 were manufactured in Chicago, Illinois. After World War II, the C-54 continued to serve as the primary airlifter of the new United States Air Force and with the United States Navy. The C-54 was also used by the Royal Air Force, South African Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, the Armée de l'Air, and the armed forces of at least twelve other nations

In late 1945, several hundred C-54s were surplus to U.S. military requirements and these were converted for civil airline operation, many by Douglas Aircraft at its aircraft plants. The aircraft were sold to airlines around the world. By January 1946, Pan American Airways was operating their Skymasters on transatlantic scheduled services to Europe and beyond. Trans-Pacific schedules from San Francisco to Auckland began in June 1946. On July 23, 1954, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster civilian airliner, operated by Cathay Pacific Airways, en route from Bangkok to Hong Kong, was shot down by Chinese Communist fighters off the coast of Hainan Island, killing 10.

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. 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.

Here is a video of the Douglas C54 "Skymaster":

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 070 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Douglas C54 Skymaster

Trading card representation of the Douglas C54 "Skymaster".
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Douglas C54 "Skymaster".

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