|Douglas DC-4 of Pacific Western Airlines in 1959|
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Douglas Aircraft Company|
|First flight||14 February 1942 (production series)|
|Produced||1942 - August 1947|
|Number built||80 DC-4 and 1,163 C-54/R5D|
|Developed from||Douglas DC-4E|
Canadair North Star
Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvair
|Developed into||Douglas DC-6|
The Douglas DC-4 is a four-engined propeller-driven airliner developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. It served during World War II, in the Berlin Airlift and into the 1960s in a military role. From 1945, many civil airlines operated it worldwide.
Design and development 
After the abortive DC-4E proved to be complicated to maintain and uneconomical to operate, Douglas responded to the Eastern and United requests for a smaller and simpler derivative. Before the definitive DC-4 could enter service the outbreak of World War II meant production was channeled to the United States Army Air Forces and the type was given the military designation C-54 Skymaster, with US Navy aircraft designated Douglas R5D. The first aircraft, a C-54, flew from Clover Field in Santa Monica, California on 14 February 1942.
The DC-4's tricycle landing gear allowed its fuselage to be of constant cross-section for most of its length, so it could be easily stretched into the later DC-6 and DC-7. A total of 1,163 C-54/R5Ds were built for the United States military services between 1942 and January 1946.
Operational history 
The DC-4/C-54 proved a popular and reliable type, 1245 being built between May 1942 and August 1947, including 79 postwar DC-4s. Several remain in service as of 2011. An example is Buffalo Airways of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Douglas continued to develop the type during the war in preparation for a return to airline use when peace returned. The type's sales prospects withered when 500 wartime C-54s and R5Ds came onto the civil market, many converted to airliners by Douglas. DC-4s were a favorite of charter airlines such as Great Lakes Airlines, North American Airlines, Universal Airlines and Transocean Airlines. In the 1950s Transocean Airlines (Oakland, California) was the largest civil operator of the C-54/DC-4.
Douglas produced 79 new-build DC-4s between January 1946 and August 9, 1947. Pressurization was an option, but all civil DC-4s (and C-54s) were built unpressurized.
Purchasers of new-build DC-4s included Pan American Airways, National Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Western Airlines in the USA, and KLM Royal Dutch Air Lines, Scandinavian Airlines System, Iberia Airlines of Spain, Swissair, Air France, Sabena Belgian World Airlines, Cubana de Aviación, Avianca, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeropostal of Venezuela (1946) and South African Airways in overseas markets. New-build DC-4s were used by several airlines to start scheduled transatlantic flights between Latin America and Europe. Among the earliest airlines to do so were Aerolíneas Argentinas (1946), Aeropostal of Venezuela (1946), Iberia Airlines of Spain (1946), and Cubana de Aviación (1948).
Basic prices for a new DC-4 in 1946-7 was around £140,000-£160,000 per-aircraft. In 1960 used DC-4s were available for around £80,000.
- Main production airliner, post-war.
- Canadair North Star
- Canadian production of a Rolls-Royce Merlin powered variant, plus a single Pratt & Whitney R-2800 powered aircraft.
Notable appearances in media 
A DC-4 appears as the "Amalgamated" airliner that must be piloted by stewardess Doris Day in the 1956 thriller "Julie."
The DC-4 was used for the 1957 thriller Zero Hour!.
Accidents and incidents 
On October 3, 1946, American Overseas Airlines DC-4 "Flagship New England" crashed into a hill after taking off in darkness from Stephenville-Harmon Field in Newfoundland on a flight to Shannon, Ireland. The 31 passengers and 8 crew aboard were killed.
On May 29, 1947, United Air Lines Flight 521 crashed after overrunning the runway during an aborted takeoff from New York City's LaGuardia Airport on a flight to Cleveland, Ohio. A total of 41 passengers and two crew died out of the 44 passengers and four crew on board.
On May 30, 1947, Eastern Air Lines Flight 605 dived into the ground near Bainbridge, Maryland, during a flight from Newark to Miami. The 49 passengers and four crew were killed. At the time this was the deadliest airliner crash in United States history. The cause of the dive was never determined.
On June 13, 1947, Pennsylvania Central Airlines Flight 410 struck a ridge near Charles Town, West Virginia, during a flight from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. The 47 passengers and three crew were killed.
On November 1, 1949, an Eastern Air Lines DC-4 was struck and cut in half by a Lockheed P-38 Lightning while approaching Washington National Airport, falling into and around the Potomac River, killing all 51 passengers and the four crew. This succeeded Eastern's Flight 605 as the deadliest airliner incident in U.S. history.
On June 23, 1950, a Northwest Orient Airlines DC-4 disappeared over Lake Michigan en route from New York City to Seattle. Light debris, upholstery and human body fragments were found floating in the lake, but the airframe and identifiable remains of the 55 passengers and three crew have never been located, and the cause of the accident is still unknown.
On June 26, 1950 a DC-4 operated by Australian National Airways departed Perth, Western Australia and crashed 19 minutes later near York, Western Australia. A total of 28 occupants were killed in the impact but one passenger survived the crash. The survivor died five days later in a Perth hospital. The cause of the crash remains unclear. The aircraft was registered VH-ANA and named Amana.
On July 21, 1951, a Canadian Pacific Air Lines (registration CF-CPC) disappeared (probably while flying over Alaska on a flight from Vancouver, Canada to Anchorage, Alaska). No trace of the aircraft or of its 31 passengers and six crew has ever been found. The cause of the accident remains undetermined.
On October 6, 1955, United Airlines Flight 409 a scheduled flight departing from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah crashed into Medicine Bow Peak, near Centennial, Wyoming, killing all 66 people on board (63 passengers, 3 crew members.) At the time, this was the deadliest airline crash in U.S. commercial aviation history, and it tied with the March 22 crash in Hawaii of a United States Navy Douglas R6D-1 Liftmaster military transport aircraft, which also took 66 lives, as the deadliest aviation accident of 1955.
On February 1, 1958: a Lóide Aéreo Nacional Douglas DC-4 registration PP-LEM, experienced a failure of engine no. 4 during a night takeoff from Rio de Janeiro-Santos Dumont. The takeoff was aborted and 100 m before the end of the runway, a tire from the landing gear burst, causing the aircraft to run off the side of the runway and burst into flames. Of the 72 passengers and crew aboard, five died.
On March 9, 1969: N3821, a DC-4 operated by Continental Air Transport disappeared on a cargo flight over the North Atlantic from Halifax International Airport to Santa Maria Airport (Azores); three crew were lost in the accident.
On January 10, 1974: TAM-52, a DC-4 operated by Transporte Aéreo Militar (the civil air service of the Bolivian Air Force) went missing on a non-scheduled passenger flight from Santa Rosa de Yacuma Airport (IATA: SRB, ICAO: SLSR) ( ) to El Alto International Airport, La Paz. No trace was found of the aircraft, its 3 crew and twenty-one passengers.
Very few DC-4s remain in service today. The last two passenger DC-4s believed to be operating worldwide are all based in Johannesburg, South Africa. They fly with old South African Airways (SAA) colors. They are ZS-AUB "Outeniqua" and ZS-BMH "Lebombo" and are owned by the South African Airways Museum Society and operated by Skyclass Aviation, a company specializing in classic airliner charters to exotic destinations in Africa. A 1944 built DC4 is currently being restored in NSW, Australia.
Specifications (DC-4-1009) 
- Crew: 4
- Capacity: Up to 86 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)
See also 
- Related development
- Aviation Traders Carvair
- Canadair North Star
- Douglas DC-4E
- Douglas C-54 Skymaster
- Douglas DC-6
- Douglas DC-7
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- "History: DC-4/C-54 Skymaster Transport." Boeing. Retrieved: December 4, 2011.
- Piston Engine Airliner Production List 1996
- Stapleton, Rob. "Brooks Fuel keeps Alaska supplied using legacy aircraft." Alaska Journal of Commerce, August 15, 2009. Retrieved: August 26, 2009.
- Berry 1967, pp. 70–73.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54E-5-DO N90904 Stephenville-Harmon AAB, NF (YJT)." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: March 28, 2012.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-4 NC30046 New York-La Guardia Airport, NY (LGA)." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: March 28, 2012.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54B-15-DO N88814 Bainbridge, MD." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: March 28, 2012.
- "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-54-DO N88842 Charles Town, WV." Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved: March 28, 2012.
- "Accident description PP-LEM." Aviation Safety Network, 2003. Retrieved: September 10, 2011,
- Ranter, Harro and Fabian I. Lujan. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-4 N3821 Atlantic Ocean." Aviation Safety Network, 2003. Retrieved: June 28, 2011.
- Ranter, Harro and Fabian I. Lujan. "ASN Aircraft accident Douglas DC-4 TAM-52." Aviation Safety Network, 2004. Retrieved: June 28, 2011.
- Blewett 2007, p. 101.
- "DC-4." South African Airways Museum Society. Retrieved: December 13, 2010.
- "Skyclass Aviation." flyskyclass.com. Retrieved: December 21, 2010.
- Morgan, Ben. "Engineering Underway on the Douglas DC4." hars.org.au. Retrieved: September 21, 2011.
- Berry, Peter et al. The Douglas DC-4. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1967.
- Blewett, R. Survivors. Coulsden, UK: Aviation Classics, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9530413-4-3.
- Francillon, René. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I. London: Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-87021-428-4.
- Pearcy, Arthur. Douglas Propliners: DC-1–DC-7. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1-85310-261-X.
- Yenne, Bill. McDonnell Douglas: A Tale of Two Giants. Greenwich, Connecticut: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-517-44287-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Douglas DC-4|
- Boeing McDonnell Douglas page on DC-4
- The last passenger certified & built DC-4s in the world
- Vintage Wings of Canada Canadair North Star showing RR Merlin installation
- Life magazine photos by Eliot Elisofon of first production batch of DC-4s being completed (partly outdoors) as military C-54s (note absence of cargo door on these), and including early air-to-air photos of 42-10237 the first DC-4/C-54 to fly