Douglas DC4 C-54 Skymaster

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Honourably banned
Mar 26, 2007
DC4-E NX18100 Registration Details For NX18100 (Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF)) DC-4-E - PlaneLogger United Airlines

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Actually, pre-war DC-4E (for Experimental) was developed at the same time as the DC-3. Though quite advanced, and backed by the major airlines, in service trials (many carrying passengers, including Orville Wright), it and the R2180 Wright engines proved difficult and costly to maintain.
It was sold to Nippon Airlines, and was used as a model/prototype for the Nakajima G5N "Liz" bomber, which was not produced beyond 6 prototypes. The DC-4E was given the Allied code name of "Trudy."
Douglas ignored the prior use, and the simpler DC-4/C-54 Skymaster served with distinction in military and post war civil garb.
... also, two DC-8s.

The first was a twin engine, counter-rotating pusher prop. Like the DC-4E, it was projected to be higher performance, but more of a maintenance hog.


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This was an artist conception of a civilianized XB-42.
Actually, a new design with very few parts commonality. If you compare the two, not only is there a big size difference, but none of the component parts are the same, and wing is low wing, vs. shoulder wing.

It was well advanced in the design process, with pre-production tooling started.

The sky was the limit in that era. Consider the Boeing 306 and the Northrop N100 flying wing airliner. The latter even had a cabin mockup, and a nuclear powered design study with a 12,000 mile range ... enough to connect any two points on Earth.


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Wisdom of the day: How do you tell a DC-6 from a DC-7?

The DC-6 has four engines and three bladed props, while the DC-7 has three engines and four bladed props! (referring to the propensity of the early R3350s to have one shut down before arrival.)
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Nr 415 USMC Marine

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Note in this USMC C-54 (actually R5D when pix was taken) that there is a pole dangling from the tail skid.
These hooked into a hole in the tail skid, and were there to keep C-54s from flopping over on their tails.
At the end of a flight when tanks were empty and cargo/baggage in aft compartment not yet unloaded, the CG shifted aft, and passengers would have to remain seated until the crew chief put that pole in place. Otherwise, the mass of passengers moving to the rear to deplane would turn the C-54 into a temporary tail dragger!
The further it rotated, the more the mass shifted behind the main wheels, and they would sit there, waving the front gear in the air.
Even with tanks filled and on the ramp, those poles (usually painted yellow or red/white barber stripes) would be kept in place to keep gusty winds from suddenly having the DC-4s adopting a nose high attitude.
Even when a nose wheel needed changing, the balance was such that two men hanging from the tail skid would elevate the front gear ... actually safer, as the weight loading was delicate enough that "falling off the front jack" incidents were common during wheel changes.
I forgot to mention: Note that the landing gear all rotates forward when retracting, so when lowered for landing, the CG shifts aft, further helping the C-54s adopt a tail dragger stance.
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