Douglas DC-6

Last updated
DC-6
Western Airlines DC-6.tif
A Douglas DC-6B of Western Airlines, Oct 1956
Role Airliner/transport aircraft
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flightFebruary 15, 1946
IntroductionMarch 1947 with American Airlines and United Airlines
StatusOut of production, in limited service
Primary users Pan American World Airways
Northwest Orient Airlines
Capital Airlines
Everts Air Cargo
Produced1946 1958
Number built704
Developed from Douglas DC-4
Developed into Douglas DC-7

The Douglas DC-6 is a piston-powered airliner and transport 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.

Airliner aircraft designed for commercial transportation of passengers and cargo

An airliner is a type of aircraft for transporting passengers and air cargo. Such aircraft are most often operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aeroplane intended for carrying multiple passengers or cargo in commercial service. The largest of them are wide-body jets which are called also twin-aisle because they generally have two separate aisles running from the front to the back of the passenger cabin. These are usually used for long-haul flights between airline hubs and major cities. A smaller, more common class of airliners is the narrow-body or single-aisle. These are generally used for short to medium-distance flights with fewer passengers than their wide-body counterparts.

Cargo aircraft aircraft configured specifically to transport cargo

A cargo aircraft is a fixed-wing aircraft that is designed or converted for the carriage of cargo rather than passengers. Such aircraft usually do not incorporate passenger amenities and generally feature one or more large doors for loading cargo. Freighters may be operated by civil passenger or cargo airlines, by private individuals or by the armed forces of individual countries.

Douglas Aircraft Company American aerospace manufacturer 1921-1967

The Douglas Aircraft Company was an American aerospace manufacturer based in Southern California. It was founded in 1921 by Donald Wills Douglas Sr. and later merged with McDonnell Aircraft in 1967 to form McDonnell Douglas, when it then operated as a division of McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas later merged with Boeing in 1997.

Contents

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.

United States Air Force Air and space warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the fourth in order of precedence. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.

Design and development

The prototype Douglas XC-112A which first flew on 15 February 1946, converted to DC-6 standard in 1956 and flown by TASSA of Spain from 1963 until 1965 Douglas DC-6 EC-AUC TASSA LGW 29.08.64 edited-2.jpg
The prototype Douglas XC-112A which first flew on 15 February 1946, converted to DC-6 standard in 1956 and flown by TASSA of Spain from 1963 until 1965

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. [1]

United States Army Air Forces aerial warfare branch of the United States army from 1941 to 1947

The United States Army Air Forces, informally known as the Air Force, or United States Army Air Force, was the aerial warfare service component of the United States Army during and immediately after World War II (1939/41–1945), successor to the previous United States Army Air Corps and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force of today, one of the five uniformed military services. The AAF was a component of the United States Army, which in 1942 was divided functionally by executive order into three autonomous forces: the Army Ground Forces, the Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces. Each of these forces had a commanding general who reported directly to the Army Chief of Staff.

Cabin pressurization method used to maintain air pressure in aircraft

Cabin pressurization is a process in which conditioned air is pumped into the cabin of an aircraft or spacecraft, in order to create a safe and comfortable environment for passengers and crew flying at high altitudes. For aircraft, this air is usually bled off from the gas turbine engines at the compressor stage, and for spacecraft, it is carried in high-pressure, often cryogenic tanks. The air is cooled, humidified, and mixed with recirculated air if necessary, before it is distributed to the cabin by one or more environmental control systems. The cabin pressure is regulated by the outflow valve.

Douglas C-54 Skymaster Military transport aircraft derived from DC-4

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.

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. [1] 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.

American Airlines, Inc. (AA) is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. It is the world's largest airline when measured by fleet size, revenue, scheduled passengers carried, scheduled passenger-kilometers flown, and number of destinations served. American, together with its regional partners, operates an extensive international and domestic network with almost 6,700 flights per day to nearly 350 destinations in more than 50 countries. American Airlines is a founding member of Oneworld alliance, the third largest airline alliance in the world. Regional service is operated by independent and subsidiary carriers under the brand name American Eagle.

United Airlines, Inc., commonly referred to as United, is a major American airline headquartered at Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois. United operates a large domestic and international route network, with an extensive presence in the Asia-Pacific region. United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance with a total of 28 member airlines. Regional service is operated by independent carriers under the brand name United Express. United was established by the amalgamation of several airlines in the late 1920s, the oldest of these being Varney Air Lines, which was founded in 1926.

United Airlines Flight 608 an airplane that crashed in 1947 in Garfield County, Utah, United States

United Airlines Flight 608 was a Douglas DC-6 airliner, registration NC37510, on a scheduled passenger flight from Los Angeles to Chicago when it crashed at 12:29 pm on October 24, 1947 about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) southeast of Bryce Canyon Airport, Utah, United States. There were no survivors among the 5 crew members and 47 passengers on board. It was the first crash of a DC-6, and at the time it was the second deadliest air crash in the United States, surpassed by Eastern Air Lines Flight 605 by only one fatality.

Operational history

Passengers alighting from an SAS DC-6: Note the upper row of windows, indicating this was built as the optional sleeper variant of the original-length DC-6 Douglas DC 6 , SAS , SE-BDC , Kodachrome by Chalmers Butterfield.jpg
Passengers alighting from an SAS DC-6: Note the upper row of windows, indicating this was built as the optional sleeper variant of the original-length DC-6
Sabena DC-6B arriving at Manchester in 1955 after a nonstop scheduled passenger flight from New York Douglas DC-6B OO-CTI Sabena Ringway 13.11.55 edited-1.jpg
Sabena DC-6B arriving at Manchester in 1955 after a nonstop scheduled passenger flight from New York
Universal newsreel about the DC-6

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.

Scandinavian Airlines flag-carrier airline of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Scandinavian Airlines, usually known as SAS, is the flag carrier of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, which together form part of Scandinavia. SAS is an abbreviation of the company's full name, Scandinavian Airlines System or legally Scandinavian Airlines System Denmark-Norway-Sweden. Part of the SAS Group and headquartered at the SAS Frösundavik Office Building in Solna, Sweden, the airline operates 169 aircraft to 123 destinations. The airline's main hub is at Copenhagen-Kastrup Airport, with connections to 109 destinations around the world. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is the second largest hub and Oslo Airport, Gardermoen being the third major hub of SAS. Minor hubs also exist at Bergen Airport, Flesland, Göteborg Landvetter Airport, Stavanger Airport, Sola, and Trondheim Airport, Værnes. SAS Cargo is an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Scandinavian Airlines and its main office is at Copenhagen Airport.

British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines

British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines or BCPA, was an airline registered in New South Wales, Australia in June 1946 with headquarters in Sydney. It was formed by the governments of Australia (50%), New Zealand (30%) and the United Kingdom (20%) to pursue trans-Pacific flights. BCPA was later taken over by Qantas.

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-6A/B/C subtypes could perhaps fly nonstop from the eastern US to Europe, but needed to refuel in Newfoundland (and perhaps elsewhere[ where? ]) 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. [2]

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. [3] The R6D Navy version (in the late 1950s and early 1960s) had Curtiss Electric constant-speed reversing propellers.[ citation needed ]

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. [4]

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. [5]

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. [6] Prices for the DC-6A in 1957–58 were £460,000–£480,000. By 1960, used prices were around £296,000. [6] Equivalent prices for the DC-6B in 1958 were around £500,000. Used prices in 1960 were around £227,000. [6]

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. [7]

Variants

Original length DC-6 of KLM at Manchester Airport in 1953 Douglas DC-6 PH-TPT KLM RWY 18.07.53 edited-2.jpg
Original length DC-6 of KLM at Manchester Airport in 1953
United Airlines DC-6 at Stapleton Airport, Denver, in September 1966 6609-UAL-DC-6-NorthRampStapletonDEN.jpg
United Airlines DC-6 at Stapleton Airport, Denver, in September 1966
Northern Air Cargo operated one of only two DC-6s that had been converted to swing-tail configuration DC-6 N867TA Northern Air Cargo at ANC 1989, F294-08A-b.jpg
Northern Air Cargo operated one of only two DC-6s that had been converted to swing-tail configuration
Pan Am DC-6B at London Heathrow in September 1954 on a transatlantic tourist flight Douglas DC-6B N6531C PAA Heathrow 09.54.jpg
Pan Am DC-6B at London Heathrow in September 1954 on a transatlantic tourist flight
XC-112A
United States military designation of an improved version of the C-54 (DC-4); became the prototype DC-6. Eventually designated YC-112A, pressurized, P&W R-2800-83AM3 engines
DC-6
Initial production variant produced in two versions.
DC-6-1156 a 53- to 68-seat domestic variant with 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) R-2800-CA15 engines
DC-6-1159 a 48- to 64-seat trans-ocean variant with extra crew, increased fuel capacity to 4,722 US gallons (17,870 l), increased takeoff weight to 97,200 lb (44,100 kg) and 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) R-2800-CB16 engines.
DC-6A
Freighter variant; fuselage slightly lengthened from DC-6; fitted with cargo door; some retained cabin windows, while others had windows deleted. Originally called "Liftmaster" as USAF models. The rear cargo door came standard with a built in 4,000 lb (1,800 kg) lift elevator and a Jeep. The Jeep was a public relations stunt and shortly after, was dropped. [8]
DC-6B
All-passenger variant of DC-6A, without cargo door.
DC-6B-1198A a 60- to 89-seat domestic variant with 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) R-2800-CB16 engines
DC-6B-1225A a 42- to 89-seat trans-ocean variant with increased fuel capacity to 5,512 US gal (20,870 l), increased takeoff weight to 107,000 lb (49,000 kg) and 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) R-2800-CB17 engines.
DC-6B-ST
Swing tail freighter conversion to the DC-6B done by Sabena. Two converted, only one survives currently stored with Buffalo Airways [9]
DC-6C
Convertible cargo/passenger variant.
VC-118
United States military designation for one DC-6 bought as a presidential transport with special 25-seat interior and 12 beds. [10]
C-118A
Designation of DC-6As for the United States Air Force, 101 built.
VC-118A
C-118As converted as staff transports.
C-118B
R6D-1s redesignated.
VC-118B
R6D-1Zs redesignated.
R6D-1
United States Navy designation for the DC-6A, 65 built.
R6D-1Z
Four R6D-1s converted as staff transports.

Operators

G-APSA in British Eagle scheme Dc-6-g-apsa-far2008-01.jpg
G-APSA in British Eagle scheme
G-APSA displaying at Hamburg DC-6 G-APSA.jpg
G-APSA displaying at Hamburg
The Red Bull DC-6B landing at Salzburg DC6-Redbull.jpg
The Red Bull DC-6B landing at Salzburg
A DC-6A of Everts Air Cargo at Deadhorse Airport, 2016 DC-6 of Everts Air Cargo at Deadhorse Airport, 2016.jpg
A DC-6A of Everts Air Cargo at Deadhorse Airport, 2016

Current operators

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 and Canada, while several are based in Europe and a few are still in operation for small carriers in South America.

Former operators

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.

Accidents and incidents

Surviving aircraft

As of 2014, 147 DC-6s survived, of which 47 were airworthy; several were preserved in museums.

VC-118A
On Display
Harry Truman's VC-118, The Independence Douglas VC-118 Independence in flight c1947.jpg
Harry Truman's VC-118, The Independence
C-118A
On Display
DC-6B
Flying
On Display
In Storage

Specifications

Comparison of models [22] [23]
VariantDC-6DC-6ADC-6B
CrewThree to four
Capacity48-68 passengers28,188 lb (12,786 kg) of cargo42-89 passengers
Length100 ft 7 in (30.66 m)105 ft 7 in (32.18 m)
Wingspan117 ft 6 in (35.81 m)
Height28 ft 5 in (8.66 m)
Wing area1,463 sq ft (135.9 m2)
Empty weight52,567 lb (23,844 kg)45,862 lb (20,803 kg)55,357 lb (25,110 kg)
Max takeoff weight97,200 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
PropellersHamilton Standard 43E60 "Hydromatic" constant-speed props with autofeather and reverse thrust
Cruise speed311 mph (501 km/h)315 mph (507 km/h)
Fuel capacity4,260 US gal (16,100 l)
4,722 US gal (17,870 l)
up to 5,512 US gal (20,870 l)
Range3,983 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 ceiling21,900 ft (6,700 m)25,000 ft (7,600 m)
Rate of climb1,070 ft/min (330 m/min)


See also

Douglas DC-6 Douglas DC-6 3 view.svg
Douglas DC-6

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

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References

Notes

  1. 1 2 Roach & Eastwood, 2007, p. 273.
  2. Winchester 2004, pp. 130–131.
  3. Winchester 2004, p. 131.
  4. "Boeing History: DC-6/C-118A Liftmaster Transport." Archived October 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Boeing.com. Retrieved: October 3, 2011.
  5. "The Way We Were . . . Education on the Fly." Archived June 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine ait.net. Retrieved: October 17, 2010.
  6. 1 2 3 "Douglas: DC-6." Flight, 18 November 1960, pp. 799–800. Retrieved: 27 October 2012.
  7. "netpompiers - Douglas DC-6B". www.netpompiers.fr (in French).
  8. "Jeep and Elevator Fly With Liftmaster." Popular Mechanics, February 1950, p. 111.
  9. "Douglas DC-6." Century Of Flight, 2003.
  10. DOUGLAS VC-118A LIFTMASTER
  11. "Cloudmaster". www.thedc6.com.
  12. "Douglas DC-6B." The Douglas DC-6 Association of South Africa. Retrieved: September 13, 2011.
  13. Everts Air Cargo fleet list
  14. Everts Air Fuel fleet list
  15. "Factsheets: Douglas VC-118 'Independence'." Archived December 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine National Museum of the United States Air Force, June 19, 2006. Retrieved: January 26, 2012.
  16. "Aircraft by Name: Liftmaster." . Retrieved: January 30, 2015.
  17. "Airmen Restore Aircraft Used by Elvis Presley." elvis.com, June 22, 2011. Retrieved: August 18, 2011.
  18. "Outdoor Exhibits - C-118A “Liftmaster”" National Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum, Retrieved: September 20, 2013.
  19. "The Flying Bulls - DC-6B History." flyingbulls.at.Retrieved: September 13, 2011.
  20. "DC-6 Diner." Archived 2011-11-24 at the Wayback Machine airbasecoventry.com. Retrieved: November 23, 2011.
  21. Lozano, Esteban. "VOLANDO SOBRE EL ESPACIO AEREO DE CLO". spottingcali.blogspot.com. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  22. "Douglas DC-6" airliners.net. Retrieved: March 20, 2006.
  23. "Douglas DC-6A." American Museum Of Aviation. Retrieved: September 13, 2011.

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