|Douglas C-54 Skymaster
The Douglas C-54 (designated R5D by the U.S.
Navy) was the military variation of the DC-4 four-engine
commercial transport. It was the first four-engine transport to
enter USAAF service. The USAAF accepted a total of 1,164
Skymasters from 1942 to 1947. Its maximum load capacity was
28,000 pounds of cargo or 49 passengers.
Although it served with the USAAF as a
transport, the C-54 made history when it became the first
"official" presidential transport aircraft (Air Force
One). Known as "The Sacred Cow," it was built in 1944
for use by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. One special feature
was an elevator behind the passenger cabin to lift the President
in his wheelchair in and out of the plane. The passenger
compartment included a conference room with a large desk and
bullet-proof picture window. President Roosevelt made his first
and only flight in this aircraft traveling to Yalta, in the
USSR, in February 1945. For security reasons, the tail number on
the aircraft was changed for this flight. After Roosevelt's
death in April 1945, the "Sacred Cow" remained in
presidential service during the first 27 months of the Truman
Administration. On 26 July 1947, President Truman signed the
National Security Act of 1947 while on board the "Sacred
Cow." This act established the Air Force as an independent
service, making the "Sacred Cow" the
"birthplace" of the U.S. Air Force. It was later
assigned to other transport duties and was eventually retired in
During the Berlin Airlift
in 1948, every C-54 the USAF had was pressed into service to
supply the isolated city. Many C-54s were later converted into
litter-carrying planes for use during the Korean Conflict,
returning 66,000 patients to the United States.
No models are available for this aircraft.