|A Douglas DC-6B of Western Airlines, Oct 1956|
|Manufacturer||Douglas Aircraft Company|
|First flight||February 15, 1946|
|Introduction||March 1947 with American Airlines and United Airlines|
|Status||Out of production, in limited service|
|Primary users|| Pan American World Airways |
Northwest Orient Airlines
Everts Air Cargo
|Produced||1946 – 1958|
|Developed from||Douglas DC-4|
|Developed into||Douglas DC-7|
The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1946 to 1958. Originally intended as a military transport near the end of World War II, it was reworked after the war to compete with the Lockheed Constellation in the long-range commercial transport market. More than 700 were built and many still fly today in cargo, military, and wildfire control roles.
The DC-6 was known as the C-118 Liftmaster in United States Air Force service and as the R6D in United States Navy service prior to 1962, after which all U.S. Navy variants were also designated as the C-118.
The United States Army Air Forces commissioned the DC-6 project as the XC-112 in 1944. The Army Air Forces wanted a lengthened, pressurized version of the DC-4-based C-54 Skymaster transport with more powerful engines. By the time the prototype XC-112A flew on 15 February 1946, the war was over, the USAAF had rescinded its requirement, and the aircraft was converted to YC-112A, being sold in 1955.
Douglas Aircraft modified the design into a civil transport 80 in (200 cm) longer than the DC-4. The civil DC-6 first flew on 29 June 1946, being retained by Douglas for testing. The first airline deliveries were to American Airlines and United Airlines on 24 November 1946. A series of inflight fires (including the fatal crash of United Airlines Flight 608) grounded the DC-6 fleet in 1947. The cause was found to be a fuel vent next to the cabin cooling turbine intake; all DC-6s were modified and the fleet was flying again after four months on the ground.
In April 1949, United, American, Delta, National, and Braniff were flying DC-6s in the United States. United flew them to Hawaii, Braniff flew them to Rio de Janeiro, and Panagra flew Miami-Buenos Aires; KLM, SAS, and Sabena flew DC-6s across the Atlantic. BCPA DC-6s flew Sydney to Vancouver, and Philippine flew Manila to London and Manila to San Francisco.
Pan Am used DC-6Bs to start transatlantic tourist-class flights in 1952. These were the first DC-6Bs that could gross 107,000 lb (49,000 kg), with CB-17 engines rated at 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) on 108/135 octane fuel. Several European airlines followed with their own transatlantic services. The DC-6B and C subtypes could perhaps fly nonstop from the eastern US to Europe, but needed to refuel in Goose Bay, Labrador or Gander, Newfoundland when flying westbound into prevailing westerly winds.
Douglas designed four variants of the DC-6: the basic DC-6, and the longer-fuselage (60 in (150 cm)) higher-gross-weight, longer-range versions—the DC-6A with cargo doors forward and aft of the wing on the left side, with a cargo floor; the DC-6B for passenger work, with passenger doors only and a lighter floor; and the DC-6C convertible, with the two cargo doors and removable passenger seats.
The DC-6B, originally powered by Double Wasp engines with Hamilton Standard 43E60 constant-speed reversing propellers, was regarded as the ultimate piston-engine airliner from the standpoint of ruggedness, reliability, economical operation, and handling qualities.
The military version, similar to the DC-6A, was the USAF C-118 Liftmaster; the USN R6D version used the more powerful R-2800-CB-17 engines. These were later used on the commercial DC-6B to allow international flights. [ citation needed ]The R6D Navy version (in the late 1950s and early 1960s) had Curtiss Electric constant-speed reversing propellers.
The USAF and USN renewed their interest in the DC-6 during the Korean War, and ordered 167 C-118/R6D aircraft, some of which later found their way to civil airlines. Harry Truman's first presidential aircraft was an Air Force short-fuselage DC-6 which was designated VC-118, and named The Independence. It is preserved in the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Dayton, Ohio.
Total production of the DC-6 series was 704, including military versions.
In the 1960s two DC-6s were used as transmitter platforms for educational television, based at Purdue University, in a program called the Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction.
Many older DC-6s were replaced in airline passenger service from the mid-1950s by the Douglas DC-7, but the simpler, more economical engines in the DC-6 have meant the type has outlived the DC-7, particularly for cargo operations. DC-6/7s surviving into the jet age were replaced in frontline intercontinental passenger service by the Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.
Basic prices of a new DC-6 in 1946–47 were around £210,000–£230,000 and had risen to £310,000 by 1951. By 1960, used prices were around £175,000 per aircraft.Prices for the DC-6A in 1957–58 were £460,000–£480,000. By 1960, used prices were around £296,000. Equivalent prices for the DC-6B in 1958 were around £500,000. Used prices in 1960 were around £227,000.
From 1977 to 1990, five yellow-painted Douglas DC-6Bs were used as water bombers in France by the Sécurité Civile. They were registered F-ZBAC, F-ZBAD, F-ZBAE, F-ZBAP, and F-ZBBU.
Today, most DC-6s are inactive, stored, or preserved in museums. A number of DC-6s are still flying in northern bush operations in Alaska, while several are based in Europe and a few are still in operation for small carriers in South America.
A great number of airlines and air forces from several countries included the DC-6 in their fleets at some point in time; these are further detailed in the list of Douglas DC-6 operators. Beginning in the 1980s, several DC-6Bs were used as fire retardant tankers by Conair Aerial Firefighting of Abbotsford, Canada. The last aircraft was sold to Everts Air Cargo in Fairbanks, AK in the late 2000s.
As of 2014 [update] , 147 DC-6s survived, of which 47 were airworthy; several were preserved in museums.
|Crew||Three to four|
|Capacity||48-68 passengers||28,188 lb (12,786 kg) of cargo||42-89 passengers|
|Length||100 ft 7 in (30.66 m)||105 ft 7 in (32.18 m)|
|Wingspan||117 ft 6 in (35.81 m)|
|Height||28 ft 5 in (8.66 m)|
|Wing area||1,463 sq ft (135.9 m2)|
|Empty weight||52,567 lb (23,844 kg)||45,862 lb (20,803 kg)||55,357 lb (25,110 kg)|
|Max takeoff weight||97,200 lb (44,100 kg)||107,200 lb (48,600 kg)||107,000 lb (49,000 kg)|
|Powerplant (4x)|| Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA15|
"Double Wasp" radial engine,
2,400 hp (1,800 kW) with
water injection each
|Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16|
"Double Wasp" radial engine,
2,400 hp (1,800 kW) with
water injection each
|Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB17 |
"Double Wasp" radial engine,
2,500 hp (1,900 kW) with
water injection each
|Propellers||Hamilton Standard 43E60 "Hydromatic" constant-speed props with autofeather and reverse thrust|
|Cruise speed||311 mph (501 km/h)||315 mph (507 km/h)|
|Fuel capacity||4,260 US gal (16,100 l)|
4,722 US gal (17,870 l)
|up to 5,512 US gal (20,870 l)|
|Range||3,983 nmi (7,377 km)||2,948 nmi (5,460 km) Max payload|
4,317 nmi (7,995 km) Max fuel
|2,610 nmi (4,830 km) Max payload|
4,100 nmi (7,600 km) Max fuel
|Service ceiling||21,900 ft (6,700 m)||25,000 ft (7,600 m)|
|Rate of climb||1,070 ft/min (330 m/min)|
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era
The Boeing 707 is an American long-range narrow-body airliner produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes, its first jetliner. Developed from the Boeing 367-80, a prototype first flown in 1954, the initial 707-120 first flew on December 20, 1957. Pan American World Airways began regular 707 service on October 26, 1958, and it was built until 1979. A quadjet, the 707 has a swept wing with podded engines. Its larger fuselage cross-section allowed six-abreast economy seating, retained in the later 720, 727, 737, and 757.
Air Force One is the official air traffic control call sign for a United States Air Force aircraft carrying the President of the United States. In common parlance, the term is used to denote U.S. Air Force aircraft modified and used to transport the President. The aircraft is a prominent symbol of the American presidency and its power.
The Douglas DC-3 is a propeller-driven airliner which had a lasting effect on the airline industry in the 1930s/1940s and World War II. It was developed as a larger, improved 14-bed sleeper version of the Douglas DC-2. It is a low-wing metal monoplane with conventional landing gear, powered by two radial piston engines of 1,000–1,200 hp (750–890 kW). The DC-3 has a cruise speed of 207 mph (333 km/h), a capacity of 21 to 32 passengers or 6,000 lbs (2,700 kg) of cargo, and a range of 1,500 mi (2,400 km), and can operate from short runways.
The Douglas DC-8 is a narrow-body airliner built by the American Douglas Aircraft Company. After losing the May 1954 US Air Force tanker competition to the Boeing KC-135, Douglas announced in July 1955 its derived jetliner project. In October 1955, Pan Am made the first order along with the competing Boeing 707, and many other airlines followed. The first DC-8 was rolled out in Long Beach Airport on 9 April 1958 and flew for the first time on 30 May. FAA certification was achieved in August 1959 and the DC-8 entered service with Delta Air Lines on September 18.
The Lockheed Constellation ("Connie") is a propeller-driven, four-engine airliner built by Lockheed Corporation starting in 1943. The Constellation series was the first pressurized-cabin civil airliner series to go into widespread use. Its pressurized cabin enabled commercial passengers to fly well above most bad weather for the first time, thus significantly improving the general safety and ease of air travel.
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner. It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remained in front-line service with various military operators for many years.
The Douglas C-54 Skymaster is a four-engined transport aircraft used by the United States Army Air Forces in World War II and the Korean War. Like the Douglas C-47 Skytrain derived from the DC-3, the C-54 Skymaster was derived from a civilian airliner, the Douglas DC-4. Besides transport of cargo, the C-54 also carried presidents, prime ministers, and military staff. Dozens of variants of the C-54 were employed in a wide variety of non-combat roles such as air-sea rescue, scientific and military research, and missile tracking and recovery. During the Berlin Airlift it hauled coal and food supplies to West Berlin. After the Korean War it continued to be used for military and civilian uses by more than 30 countries. It was one of the first aircraft to carry the President of the United States.
The Curtiss C-46 Commando is a twin-engine transport aircraft derived from the Curtiss CW-20 pressurised high-altitude airliner design. Early press reports used the name 'Condor III' but the Commando name was in use by early 1942 in company publicity. It was used as a military transport during World War II by the United States Army Air Forces and also the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps, which used the designation R5C. The C-46 served in a similar role to its Douglas-built counterpart, the C-47 Skytrain, but it was not as extensively produced as the latter.
The Douglas DC-7 is a transport aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company from 1953 to 1958. It was the last major piston engine-powered transport made by Douglas, being developed shortly after the earliest jet airliner—the de Havilland Comet—entered service and only a few years before the jet-powered Douglas DC-8 first flew. Unlike other aircraft in Douglas's collection of propeller-driven aircraft, no examples remain in service in the present day, as compared to the far more successful DC-3 and DC-6.
The Douglas DC-4 is a four-engine (piston) propeller-driven airliner developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company. Military versions of the plane, the C-54 and R5D, served during World War II, in the Berlin Airlift and into the 1960s. From 1945, many civil airlines operated the DC-4 worldwide.
The Douglas C-74 Globemaster was a United States heavy-lift cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California. The aircraft was developed after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The long distances across the Atlantic and, especially, Pacific oceans to combat areas indicated a need for a transoceanic heavy-lift military transport aircraft. Douglas Aircraft Company responded in 1942 with a giant four-engined design. Development and production modifications issues with the aircraft caused the first flight to be delayed until 5 September 1945, and production was limited to 14 aircraft when the production contract was canceled following V-J Day.
The Convair C-131 Samaritan is an American twin-engined military transport produced from 1954 to 1956 by Convair. It is the military version of the Convair CV-240 family of airliners.
The Canadair North Star is a 1940s Canadian development, for Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA), of the Douglas DC-4. Instead of radial piston engines used by the Douglas design, Canadair used Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engines to achieve a higher cruising speed of 325 mph (523 km/h) compared with the 227 mph (365 km/h) of the standard DC-4. Requested by TCA in 1944, the prototype flew on 15 July 1946. The type was used by various airlines and by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). It proved to be reliable but noisy when in service through the 1950s and into the 1960s. Some examples continued to fly into the 1970s, converted to cargo aircraft.
The Lockheed C-69 Constellation was a four-engined, propeller-driven military transport aircraft developed during World War Two. It was co-developed with the Lockheed Constellation airliner.
The Lockheed C-121 Constellation is a military transport version of the Lockheed Constellation. A total of 332 aircraft were constructed for both the United States Air Force and United States Navy for various purposes. Numerous airborne early warning versions were also constructed. The C-121 later saw service with smaller civilian operators until 1993.
The Douglas DC-2 is a 14-passenger, twin-engined airliner that was produced by the American company Douglas Aircraft Corporation starting in 1934. It competed with the Boeing 247. In 1935, Douglas produced a larger version called the DC-3, which became one of the most successful aircraft in history.
The Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation is an American aircraft, a member of the Lockheed Constellation aircraft line. The L-1049 was Lockheed's response to the successful Douglas DC-6 airliner, first flying in 1950. The aircraft was also produced for both the United States Navy as the WV / R7V and Air Force as the C-121 for transport, electronics, and airborne early warning and control aircraft.
The 1955 Hawaii R6D-1 crash was an accident involving a Douglas R6D-1 Liftmaster of the United States Navy which crashed into a mountain peak in Hawaii on 22 March 1955, killing all 66 people on board. At the time, it was the worst crash involving any variant of the Douglas DC-6 airliner the second-worst aviation accident in U.S. history, and one of the worst air accidents anywhere in history, and it equalled the 11 August mid-air collision of two United States Air Force C-119G Flying Boxcars over West Germany and the 6 October United Airlines Flight 409 crash as the deadliest air accident of 1955. It remains the worst air disaster in the history of Hawaii and the deadliest accident involving a heavier-than-air aircraft in the history of United States naval aviation.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Douglas DC-6 .|
|Douglas DC-6||McDonnell Douglas DC-9||MD-95 / B717|
|DC-7||McDonnell Douglas MD-80|
|Douglas DC-8||MDD MD-90|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10||MD-11|
|= Piston-engined||= Narrow-body jet||= Wide-body jet|