C-124 Globemaster II: Wikis


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C-124 Globemaster II
Role Heavy-lift military transport aircraft
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
First flight 27 November 1949
Introduced 1950
Retired 1974 (USAF)
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Air National Guard
United States Air Force Reserve
Produced 1949-1955
Number built 448 (9 surviving)
Developed from C-74 Globemaster

The Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, nicknamed "Old Shakey", was a heavy-lift cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California.

The C-124 was the primary heavy-lift transport for United States Air Force Military Air Transport Service (MATS) during the 1950s and early 1960s until the C-141 Starlifter entered service. It served in MATS, later Military Airlift Command (MAC), gained units of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard until 1974.



The C-124 was developed from 1947 to 1949 by Douglas Aircraft from a prototype created from the WWII-design Douglas C-74 Globemaster and based on lessons learned in the Berlin Airlift. The aircraft was powered by four large Pratt & Whitney R-4360 piston engines producing 3,800 hp (2,800 kW) each. The C-124's design featured two large clamshell doors and a hydraulically-actuated ramp in the nose as well as a cargo elevator under the aft fuselage. The C-124 was capable of carrying 68,500 lb (31,100 kg) of cargo, and the 77 ft (23.5 m) cargo bay featured two overhead hoists, each capable of lifting 8,000 lb (3,629 kg). As a cargo hauler, it could carry tanks, guns, trucks and other heavy equipment, while in its passenger-carrying role it could carry 200 fully equipped troops on its double decks or 127 litter patients and their attendants. It was the only aircraft of its time capable of transporting heavy equipment such as tanks and bulldozers without prior disassembly.

The C-124 first flew on 27 November 1949, with the C-124A being delivered from May, 1950.[1] The C-124C was next, featuring more powerful engines, and an APS-42 weather radar fitted in a "thimble"-like structure on the nose. Wingtip-mounted combustion heaters were added to heat the cabin, and enable wing and tail surface deicing. The C-124As were later equipped with these improvements.

Operational history

First deliveries of the 448 production aircraft began in May 1950 and continued until 1955. The C-124 was operational during the Korean War, and was also used to assist supply operations for Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica. They performed heavy lift cargo operations for the US military worldwide, including flights to Southeast Asia, Africa and elsewhere. From 1959 to 1961 they transported Thor missiles across the Atlantic to England. The C-124 was also used extensively during the Vietnam War transporting material from the U.S. to Vietnam. Until the C-5A became operational, the C-124 was the only aircraft available that could transport very large loads.

The United States Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) was the initial operator of the C-124 Globemaster, with 50 in service from 1950 through 1962. Four squadrons operated the type, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Strategic Support Squadrons. Their primary duty was to transport nuclear weapons between air bases and to provide airlift of personnel and equipment during exercises and overseas deployments.

The Military Air Transport Service (MATS) was the primary operator until January 1966, when the organization was retitled Military Airlift Command (MAC). Within a few years following the formation of MAC, the last remaining examples were transferred to the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and the Air National Guard (ANG), said transfers being complete by 1970. The first ANG unit to receive the C-124C was the last Air Force unit to retire their aircraft (AF Serial No. 52-1066 & 53-0044) in September 1974.


 United States


Cockpit of C-124 on display at the McChord Air Museum, McChord AFB, WA.
Flight engineer's station of a C-124.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 49-0258) is currently being restored at the Air Mobility Command Museum located at Dover Air Force Base near Dover, Delaware. This is the oldest surviving C-124. In July 2005, museum volunteers reattached the aircraft's wings and clamshell doors, and the restoration is now nearing completion.
  • C-124C (AF Ser. No. 51-0089) is on display at the Museum of Aviation located at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-0943) is on display at the Seoul Military Academy Museum at Sacheon Air Force Base in Seoul, South Korea.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-0994) is on display at the McChord Air Museum located at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington. This aircraft was formerly under civilian registration N86599 and located for many years at the Detroit Institute of Aeronautics. On October 9, 1986 the aircraft was flown non-stop from Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Detroit, Michigan to McChord Air Force Base. While flying over Washington State the aircraft was joined by a C-130 and C-141 of McChord's elite 62nd Military Airlift Wing. This is the last recorded flight of a C-124. The museum has been subject to restricted access since September 11, 2001.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-1000) is on display at The Travis Air Museum, located inside Travis Air Force Base near San Francisco, California. The museum was given the C-124 in August 1982. The aircraft had been stored for many years outside at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where it was used as a storage shed. Transporting the aircraft by ground to California would have been prohibitively expensive so the decision was made to fly the aircraft to the museum. Volunteers joined with members of the Air National Guard's 116th Tactical Fighter Wing from Dobbins Air Force Base to restore the C-124 to an airworthy and ferryable condition. The aircraft was then ferried from Aberdeen to Dobbins AFB in Georgia where members of the 116th TFW completed the aircraft's restoration. The aircraft was then flown cross country to Norton Air Force Base in California. After a photo session over the Golden Gate Bridge the C-124 arrived at the Travis Air Museum at exactly 1400 on June 10, 1984. This was the first recorded flight of a C-124 in nearly a decade. The museum and airpark are located within Travis Air Force Base on the site of the former base commissary. For reasons of security, access to the museum by non-DoD personnel has been greatly reduced since September 11, 2001. As a result the museum is currently exploring plans to relocate to a site off base.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-1004) is displayed at the Pima Air and Space Museum adjacent to [Davis Monthan Air Force Base]] in Tucson, Arizona.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-1066) is located at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. This aircraft is stored indoors with the clamshell doors open, allowing visitors to go inside. This was one of the last two Air National Guard C-124s to be retired in 1974. The aircraft is displayed as AF Ser. No. 51-0135.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 52-1072) is on display at the Charleston Air Force Base airpark located in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 53-0044), one of the last two Air National Guard C-124s to be retired in 1974, was located for many years on the corner of Koval Lane and Reno Avenue near McCarran International Airport in Paradise, Nevada. Numerous plans were made to use the aircraft for advertising, display, and even as a restaurant, but nothing came of this and over the years the aircraft's condition deteriorated. In 1996, an attempt was made by the city of Las Vegas to acquire by eminent domain the 10,500 sq ft (980 m2) area where the plane sat.[citation needed] The land was to be used for a highway bypass. The action was postponed during a lengthy court case that was eventually won by the land owner. In 2003, the land was finally sold at a substantially greater price to the City of Las Vegas to accommodate the bypass and the C-124 was scrapped shortly afterwards. Several of the aircraft's gauges and instruments were later sold on eBay.
  • C-124 (AF Ser. No. 53-0050) has undergone restoration at the Hill Aerospace Museum located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. The aircraft was rescued from Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland in 1992 where it was planned to be used for ballistics testing.

Specifications (C-124 Globemaster II)

As F-84 Thunderjets fly in the background, a C-124 Globemaster is unloaded in Japan in October 1952.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 6
  • Length: 130 ft (40 m)
  • Wingspan: 174 ft 1 in (53.06 m)
  • Height: 48 ft 4 in (14.7 m)
  • Wing area: 2,510 ft² (233.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 100,000 lb (46,000 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 195,000 lb (88,000 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 216,000 lb (98,000 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-4360 "Wasp Major" radial engines, 3,800 hp (2,834 kW) each


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  • Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920. London:Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-00050-1.

External links



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