Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lining up for the Globemasters

These two Korean War-era photos are a bit unusual in that it's fairly rare to find large-format official 11x14 prints. Both appear to have been taken on the same day, and feature C-124s that are dedicated to carrying soldiers - "Troop Carrier" is emblazoned on the fuselage along with the US Air Force markings. (If you recognize the squadron logo, please comment below!)

The big double-deck Douglases could carry 200 fully-equipped soldiers in the Troop Carrier configuration. First introduced in 1950, the last was retired in 1974, a respectably long career for a round-engined post WWII design.

The C-124 was an outgrowth of the Douglas C-74 Globemaster (itself based on the DC-4), designed during the war to meet the military's need for a long-range, trans-oceanic cargo aircraft. After WWII, though, the 50-aircraft C-74 order was slashed with only 14 built. With the project cancelled, Douglas set about redesigning an even bigger version, to over come some problems that had come to light during the Berlin Airlift (such as the C-74's inability to carry some of the army's bigger pieces of heavy equipment). The result was an aircraft of roughly the same length and wingspan, but twice the height. When the first C-124 was flown at its 100,000 pound gross weight, it was the heaviest object ever to leave the surface of the earth.

To lift its heavy loads, the Globemaster II was powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines - each of which had more horsepower that two standard Diesel railroad locomotives of that era.

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