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Douglas DC-4

The DC-4 began as a joint venture between Douglas and five U.S. airlines to create the successor to the DC-3. By 1938, when the first prototype flew, the airlines had withdrawn from the project. The DC-4E was a disappointment, and was redesigned in 1939. Despite interest in the new DC-4 by civil airlines, the beginning of WWII meant that all DC-4s produced were allocated to the USAAF as the C-54 Skymaster. The C-54 began service in 1942, carrying 50 passengers for short-range flights or 20 passengers for longer flights. The C-54 was also built with cargo doors to carry 32,500 lbs. of equipment rather than passengers. With the end of WWII the DC-4 again returned to the civil airline industry, typically carrying 44 passengers (although this could be increased to 86).

The DC-4 carries a crew of two: pilot and copilot. Two flight attendants are also aboard. The plane has a historical range of 2,500 miles. The DC-4 burns 216 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. A full tank of fuel costs $880.


Douglas DC-4 (C-54 Skymaster)

Subassemblies: Huge Bomber chassis +5; Large Bomber wings +4; 4 Small AFV engine pods [Wings:F] +3; 3 retractable wheels +2.

Powertrain: Four 1,641-kW aerial HP gasoline engines [Pods] with four 1,641-kW aerial props and 4,690-gallon standard fuel tank [Wings]; 16,000-kWs batteries.

Occ.: 2-4 CS Body; 60 PS Body (but see above).

Cargo: 0 Body (but see above).


Armor F RL B T U

All: 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3



Body: Autopilot, backup driver, large radio transmitter and receiver, navigation instruments, 60 passenger seats. Pods: 1 Fire extinguisher each.



Size: 94'x118'x28' Payload: 16.1 tons Lwt.: 36.5 tons

Volume: 3040 Maint.: 15 hours Cost: $174,975

HT: 9. HPs: 1500 Body, 1000 each Wing, 150 each Pod, 140 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 273 aAccel: 4 aDecel: 10 aMR: 2.5 aSR: 3

Stall Speed: 89 mph. Take-Off Run 880 yards. Landing Runs 792 yards.

gSpeed: 174 gAccel: 9 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.25 gSR: 3

Ground Pressure: Extremely High. No Off-Road Speed.


Design Notes:

Historical wing area was 1,460 sf. The plane was designed with a full compliment of 60 passenger seats. This makes the design payload 9,206 lbs. greater than the historical. Loaded weight is 9% over historical, while empty weight is only 5% too high. Since the next largest chassis was far too large, and the payload is the plane's maximum seating, these overages were ignored. Historical loaded weight and wing area were used for performance calculations in any event. Design aSpeed was 257 mph, design stall speed was 96 mph; the historical values are shown. The design purchases a 4,410 gallon tank; again, the historical fuel capacity is shown.



The C-54 was the initial military version with 1,350-kW engines. It could carry 26 passengers. 24 built.

The C-54A featured 1,007-kW engines and could carry 50 troops or 32,500 lbs. of cargo. 252 built.

The C-54B moved the fuel tanks to the wings. 220 built.

The VC-54C was a C-54A modified to carry President Roosevelt. Also called the Sacred Cow.

The C-54D featured 1,350-kW engines. 380 built. The AC-54D featured improved electronics gear to check air routes.

The C-54E revised fuel capacity and was designed for rapid conversion between passenger, cargo, and staff transport (with 44 seats rather than 50).

The C-54G was a troop transport. 162 built. The VC54G was the staff version.

The C-54H and -J were a proposed paratrooper and staff transport, respectively.

The C-54L was an -A with a revised fuel system.

The C-54M was 38 -E aircraft revised to carry coal for the Berlin airlift. Cargo capacity was increased by 2,500 lbs.

The MC-54M was a Korean War conversion of 30 -Es to carry 30 litters plus medical attendants.

The Navy used the DC-4 as the R5D. There were, of course, many variants as well.

The DC-4-1009 was the post-war civil model carrying 44 passengers. This was later increased to 86 passengers.

The DC-4-1037 was the post-war cargo plane version.

The RAF used one -B and 22 -Ds as the Skymaster Mk I.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic