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Douglas C-124 Globemaster

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C-124 Globemaster History
The C-124 evolved from the earlier Douglas C-74. To facilitate cargo handling, the C-124, or "Old Shakey" as it was affectionately known, featured "clamshell" loading doors and hydraulic ramps in the nose and an elevator under the aft fuselage and two overhead cranes (each with a capacity of 16,000 pounds) which could traverse the entire length of the 77 foot long cargo compartment. It was capable of handling such bulky cargo as tanks, field guns, bulldozers, and trucks. It could also be converted into a transport capable of carrying 200 fully equipped soldiers in its double-decked cabin or 127 litter patients and their attendants. The C-124 carried a crew of seven consisting of: Two Pilots, two Flight Engineers, one Loadmaster, one Navigator and one Radio Operator.

The first flight by a C-124 took place on Nov. 27, 1949 and deliveries of C-124As began in May 1950. The C-124A was followed into service by the C-124C, which featured more-powerful engines, as well as wingtip-mounted combustion heaters that provided cabin heating and wing and tail surface de-icing, and an APS-42 weather radar in a distinctive nose "thimble." These latter improvements were eventually retrofitted to the C-124As.The unit cost of each aircraft was $1.64 million. It carried over 66,000 lbs of payload or 200 troops or 127 litters.

In mid September 1951, the62d Troop Carrier Wing received it's first C-124 at McChord AFB but moved to Larson AFB, WA in April 1952. With the 62d absence from McChord the 1705th Air Transportation Group took over C-124 operations until the return of the 62d from Larson on June 13, 1960. It was at Larson AFB that the 62d was involved in the largest single aircraft accident at that time. On 20 December 1952, one of the 62nd's C-124s took off from Larson on a routine airlift mission. Immediately after takeoff, about one half mile from the runway, the Globemaster II crashed and burned, killing 87, including servicemen on leave, going home for the holidays.

McChord and other C-124 units went on to provide a much-needed airlift capability in the Korean War, as it was the only aircraft that could carry many of the Army's vehicles. It also performed many other missions such as resupply missions to Antarctica, refugee evacuation in the Congo and mercy flights to Morocco, Chile and elsewhere throughout the world following floods and other natural disasters.

The USAF bought 448 C-124A/Cs before production ended in 1955. Shortly after MATS became the Military Airlift Command (January 1, 1966) and the 62d Air Transport Wing, (Heavy), became the 62nd Military Airlift Wing (January 8, 1966) a new era began for the 62nd when the unit received its first Lockheed C-141 Starlifter on August 9 1966. As the unit took on C-141's it lost C-124's with the last of the Globemaster IIs being transferred to the Alaskan Air Command (AAC) by early December 1969, when AAC took over the responsibility for resupplying the stations along the DEW Line. The 62nd became an all-Starlifter Wing. By December 5, 1969 all aircraft of the 62d last C-124 squadron, 7th MAS had been reassigned to other users, and the squadron was inactivated at McChord in that month.

With the introduction of the C-141 into active service most C-124s were transferred to the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard by 1970. The first ANG unit to receive the C-124C was the last Air Force unit to retire their aircraft (52-1066 & 53-0044) in Sept of 1974.C-124s that have landed at Hal-Luqa airfield, Malta, prior to 1967 include those with serial Numbers and corresponding dates when visited: 9.7.65 15207 and 20956; 26.8.64 015205; 28.2.65 021080; and in 1966 020955.

Ref: McChord Air Museum Foundation.

About the Author

About Carmel John Attard (cjattard)
FROM: , MALTA


Comments

Carmel, Beautiful work! "Old Shakey" never looked better. I appreciate your model. That high-vis orange certain sets it off. Thanks for the in-flight shots, too.
NOV 01, 2012 - 02:29 AM