Aviation 101 Douglas DC-4
The Douglas DC-4 is a four engine propeller-driven aircraft developed in the early 1940's. Before the DC-4 could enter civilian service, the entry of the US into World War II caused all aircraft production to be channeled into the US military. The military designation for the DC-4 was C-54 Skymaster which first flew in Feb. 1942. Between May 1942 and Aug 1947, a total of 1245 aircraft were built by Douglas including 79 DC-4's following the war.
- Crew: four
- Capacity: 40 to 80 passengers
- Length: 93 ft 10 in (28.6 m)
- Wingspan: 117 ft 6 in (35.8 m)
- Height: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m)
- Wing area: 1,460ft² (135.6 m²)
- Empty weight: 43,300 lb (19,640 kg)
- Loaded weight: 63,500 lb (28,800 kg)
- Max. takeoff weight: 73,000 lb (33,100 kg)
- Powerplant: 4 × Pratt & Whitney R-2000 radial engine, 1,450 hp (1,081 kW) each
- Maximum speed: 280 mph (450 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 227 mph/197kts (365 km/h)
- Range: 4,250 mi (6,839 km)
- Service ceiling: 22,300 ft (6,800 m)
- Wing loading: 43.5 lb/ft² (212.4 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 10.9 lb/hp (6.6 kg/kW)
Transocean Air Lines DC-4
Find out more about the DC-4 at this link:
LAB Douglas DC-4 Aircraft Fleet
Histories and photos of three aircraft operated by Lloyd Aereo Boliviano
The only photo of LAB DC-4's I can find; two of the three in the fleet
Douglas C-54B-1-DC c/n 10510 / DC241
Built by Douglas Aircraft Co at the Chicago,IL plant Douglas Line No. DC241 1944
USAAF 42-72405 2 Jan 1945
- converted to DC-4
China National Aviation Corp. XT-T06 1946
China National Aviation Corp. XT-105 1947
CNAC XT-T06 ca. 1946 - Photo by TT and Frieda Chen
Historical note: In 1949 when mainland China became a Communist state, 12 aircraft operated by CNAC were flown from their base of operations in Hong Kong to the mainland. The remaining 71 aircraft were sold by the Nationalists to the Delaware-registered Civil Air Transport Inc., in an effort to save them from the Communists. After a lengthy legal battle and diplomatic efforts, the planes, (including this aircraft, the future CP-609), were delivered by the Hong Kong government to CATI in 1952.
Civil Air Transport (CAT) N8346C Purchased 1 Oct 1949 - delivered in 1952
Continuation: As far as I can tell, this aircraft became part of Civil Air Transport (CAT), a Nationalist Chinese airline, later owned by the CIA, that supported United States covert operations in East and Southeast Asia thru the mid 1970's. In 1950 the airline was facing financial difficulties and as a result the CIA formed a private Delaware corporation called Airdale Corp., which formed a subsidiary called Civil Air Transport Inc. (CATI). This provided CAT with an infusion of cash which kept the covert airline in operation. In 1959 CAT was reorganized as Air America. What involvement our aircraft in question (the future CP-609) had in all of this is unknown. What is known is that by 1952 this aircraft was owned by CATI and was either located in the US or in East Asia.
California Eastern Aviation N4837V Feb 1953
Transocean Air Lines - TALOA " 1 Feb 1953
- leased from CEA
California Eastern Aviation " 1954
LAB CP-609 Apr 1955
Accident: " 5 Feb 1960
Fifteen minutes after takeoff from Cochabamba en route to La Paz on a scheduled passenger flight, the DC-4 crashed near Laguna Huanacota, a mountain lagoon. Reportedly one engine had caught fire. A two year old girl survived the impact but died on the way to the hospital. Location: 15 km. south of Laguna Huancota. Fatalities: 59, 4 crew and 55 passengers. - Information from Aviation Safety Network.
CNAC mechanic Bill Sanford with XT-T06 in Shanghai in 1948
CEA N4837V (photo labeled with old USAAF 42-72405 reg) Photo from Dusty Carter via Norman Malayney
Similar DC-4 operated by Transocean Air Lines in the 1950's
LAB CP-610 - Photo from Roll Out - Spotting Aeronautico del Cono Sur
Douglas C-54B-1-DC Skymaster c/n 10538
Built by Douglas Aircraft Co. - Chicago, IL plant l/n DC269
USAAF 42-72433 23 Jan 1945
Reconstruction Finance Corp. " 1946 ?
- converted to DC-4
China National Aviation Corp. XT-T-04 1946 - Shanghai
CNAC re-registered as XT-104 1946
Civil Air Transport N8345C Purchased 1 Oct 1949 - Delivered in 1952 after legal dispute
Note: This aircraft was is the same group of aircraft as the future CP-609 described above.
Transocean Air Lines N4665V Feb 1953
- TALOA - Oakland, CA
- leased from CAT
- aircraft used in "Royal Hawaiian" flights-Oakland to Honolulu
- named "African Queen"
- aircraft used in filming "The High and the Mighty" starring John Wayne
LAB CP-610 28 Mar 1955
Hijacking: " 27 Sep 1956
During Sept of 1956, there was considerable civil unrest in Bolivia with the opposition political party (FSB) protesting against the National Government of President Hernan Siles Zuazo and their MNR party. More than 1000 people had been "detained" by the national security forces. In the lowland city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, so many people had been rounded up that there was no place to put them.
On the morning of 27 Sept a total of 47 "political prisoners" were selected and transported to El Trompillo airport and were loaded onto an aircraft of Lloyd Aereo Boliviano - (CP-610) - to be flown to a government detention center near La Paz.
Minutes after takeoff the prisoners rebelled and took control of the aircraft. One of their group just happened to be LAB pilot Captain Saul Pinto Landivar and he was assisted by three trained flight crewmen. They turned to the south and headed to Argentina, landing in Salta and possibly continuing to Buenos Aires. There they requested political asylum. It is not known what happened to these "rebels", but in 2006 apparently some of them gathered together to commemorate the event that became known as the "Salto a Salta".
A much more detailed account of this interesting affair can be found at the excellent website (in Spanish) Roll Out: Spotting Aeronautico del Cono Sur at this link:
Another good account of the incident- also in Spanish:
Apparently, CP-610 was retrieved from Argentina and continued operating with LAB until 1961.
Purchased by Boreas Corp. N538G Nov 1961
- New York City
Leased to Miami Airlines " Nov 1961
- Greensboro, NC
Leased to Martin's Air Charter PH-MAE 1 Jun 1962
- Martin's Luchtvervoer Maatschappij NV
Bought by Martin's Air Charter " 6 Mar 1963
Bought by Trans World Leasing " ?
All Air (Allgemeine Lufttransport) D-ADAC 6 Feb 1967
- named "Main"
Sold to TF Transportflug " 1967
- West Germany
- ceased operations 1970
Sold to SODEMAC 9Q-CTD 28 Oct 1970
- Belgian Congo (later Zaire)
Transferred to Zaire Air Force " 1971
- wfu and stored 1981
- aircraft was stripped for parts and left derelict
N4665V of Transocean Air Lines - "Royal Hawaiian"
PH-MAE of Martin's Air Charter - Photo at Rotterdam, Netherlands 1967 from Alfred Damon Collection
A similar DC-4 operated by Western Airlines
Douglas C-54B-20-DO c/n 27249
Built by Douglas Aircraft Co. at the Santa Monica, Ca plant Production line # DO 195
USAAF 44-9023 11 Jan 1945
- assigned to Tejgaon Air Field, India 1945
- assigned to the 1346th Army Air Force Base Unit, Air Transport Command 1945
- taxiing accident at Kunming Air Field, China 30 Aug 1945
- Pilot: Warren A. Roth
Reconstruction Finance Corp. N88816 15 Nov 1945
Douglas Aircraft Co. " 1 Dec 1945
- converted to DC-4 #10
Western Airlines " 16 Oct 1946
- purchased for $90,000, financed by United Airlines
- W.A. fleet # 209
Guest Aerovias Mexico XA-MAA 18 Dec 1956
Aerovias Panama Airways HP-256 11 Sep 1957
- leased from Guest A.M.
- re-registered HP-268 1958
Guest Aerovias Mexico XA-MAA 21 Mar 1960
- returned from A.P.A.
The Babb Co. N9326R 22 Mar 1960
- International Aircraft Sales / Services - New York
LAB CP-682 1 Apr 1960
- one yr. lease for $96,000
The Babb Co. N9326R 23 Mar 1961
- returned from LAB
International Aircraft Sales/Services " 17 Jan 1962
- ferried to Paris, stored at Orly airport
Aviation Traders Ltd. - England G-ASHZ 24 Oct 1962
- converted to ATL-98 Carvair - c/n 9 of 21
- car ferry - held 5 cars plus 25 passengers
British United Air Ferries Ltd. - BUAF " 6 May 1963 - name changed to British Air Ferries - BAF Oct 1967
- named "Maasbrug" until 1967
- named "Fat Annie" after 1967 - wfu and stored Jun 1976
SOACO - France " Nov 1976
- Societe Anonmede Construction
- short lease for construction projects in Libreville, Gabon Nov 1976 to Feb 1977
Trans World Leasing " 24 Feb 1977
Returned to British Air Ferries May 1977
- conversion to all cargo configuration " Jun-6 Jul 1977
- damaged by heavy winds Sep 1977
International Red Cross " Jul 1978
- two month lease for disaster relief in Middle and Far East
Returned to BAF " 7 Sep 1978
- wfu 24 Dec 1978
Falcon Airways - Griffin,GA N89FA Jun 1979
Mercantile Texas Corp. " 1980
- repossessed from Falcon
Mercantile National Bank of Dallas " Mar 1980
- ownership transferred from MTC
Nasco Leasing of California - offices in Incline Village, NV 1980
James Blumenthal - Tucson, AZ " Dec 1982
Custom Air Service / Robert D. McSwiggen " 19 Mar 1987 - Griffin, GA
- painted with "Fat Annie - Miss 1944" emblem
Academy Airlines - leased from CAS " Dec 1996
- Griffin, GA
Custom Air Service " Oct 2000
- returned from Academy Airlines
Avignon Inc. / Deems Clifton - Cincinnati, OH " 9 Feb 2001
- purchased for $275,000
- parked at Sherman, TX
Gator Global Flying Service Inc. - Denison, TX " 9 Jan 2003
- name changed from Avignon Inc.
- aircraft parked at Gainesville, TX - participated in skydiving event in Rantoul, IL Aug 2005
- carried 80 skydivers and crew of 5
- last flight ? " Jan 2010 - wfu
South African Air Lease LLC " 13 Mar 2012
- Clayton, OH
- aircraft stored at Gainesville, TX as of 2014
Note: The extensive and wide-ranging career of this aircraft appears to have come to an end. Every source of information that I found contained some of this information, but none listed everything that I have here. Certainly, some errors have crept into this listing and possibly some omissions, if so I apologize in advance.
A similar DC-4
After conversion to ATL-98 Carvair - aircraft #9 of 21: capacity 5 cars and 25 passengers.
G-ASHZ operated by British United Air Ferries - mid-1960's
GASHZ after name change to British Air Ferries - early 1970's - Aerial Visuals
N89FA "Fat Annie - Miss 1944" - Willow Run, MI - 2005 - Photo: Central Imaging - JetPhotos
end of this section - LAB DC-4
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