USA and CANADA 1980s - DOUGLAS DC-4s and Carvairs

A selection of my photos taken on North American visits during the 1980s

USAF surplus Douglas C-54G N51802 at Tucson, Arizona in November 1981. It was operated by Jim Blumenthall of
Kingman AZ as a one-aircraft freight business, working events such as the annual fish hauling season in Alaska

Former NASA C-54G N438NA seen in August 1989 retired at Mesa-Falcon Field, Arizona had been based here with
International Air Response Inc for ocean oil slick dispersant work.

Globe Air C-54P N67019 at home base Mesa Arizona in November 1981 was a dual sprayer or fire tanker.

Biegert Aviation specialised in wide-acreage spraying with a fleet of US Navy disposals C-54s.
Six were at home base Chandler Memorial, Arizona on this visit in November 1981.

N44912 at Chandler Memorial November 1981 was a former US Marine Corps C-54R, earlier a R5D-4.

N44904 was previously a US Navy C-54Q, sold surplus at Davis Monthan AFB to Biegert in October 1975

C-54Q N44915 was held by Biegert Aviation as a spares ship at their previous base Mesa-Falcon Field AZ, where it was stripped.
When the business moved base to Chandler in 1980, N44915 was put back together for the short ferry flight.

USAF surplus C-54E N4989K at Fort Lauderdale, Florida in October 1981

Skymaster Corp N67029 at Opa Locka Florida in October 1981 was a former US Navy C-54P, earlier designated R5D-2.

Former USAF C-54E N9013V at Billings, Montana in August 1989 in service with Lynch Air Cargo. Owner Denny Lynch
acquired it at Nassau Bahamas where it had been impounded on a drug run and ferried it out on 3 engines.

Veteran Canadian aircraft deaer and charter operator Carl Millard operated a fleet of DC-3s and DC-4s on freight services
under the name Millardair, based at Toronto Airport.

Former US Marines C-54R C-GQIB with Millardair Ltd at Toronto in October 1981 named The Skytrader

USAF surplus C-54E C-GQIC with Millardair as The Tradewinds at Toronto in October 1981.

Conifair Aviation C-54G forest pest sprayer C-GBNV at St Jean, Quebec in October 1981

Conifair Aviation C-54Q C-GBPA forest sprayer at St Jean, Quebec in October 1981

DC-4s N401D and N404AD at Honolulu in August 1981 after their operator Air Distribution Inc ceased operations, a victim of
the cut-throat competition on Hawaiian inter-island freight services. Note the wider cargo door modification.

This down-and-out DC-4 N95589 at Ryan Field, Arizona in August 1989 had been ferried in by tanker operator WAIG Inc
 to be broken-up for engines and parts.  It wore the weathered paintwork of previous owner Seagreen Air Transport, Miami.

Disposal of large numbers of USAF and US Navy Douglas C-54 transports during the 1970s provided US fire bomber
operators with an effective type to modify as air tankers. Belly retardant tanks of various designs were installed.
N67034 tanker #150 seen landing at Lancaster, California in September 1981was formerly a US Marines C-54Q.

N31356 tanker #117 seen at Tucson-Ryan Field in November 1981 has a belly tank of quite different design.

C-54Q N8502R at Tucson in November 1981 was WAIG Inc's tanker #165, fitted with their own design belly tank

Former USAF C-54G N406WA at Tucson November 1981 was WAIG Inc tanker #119

C-54D N99212 tanker #113 at Chandler, Arizona in November 1981 while with tanker veteran Ralph Johnson's RALCO

C-54Q N96454 Central Air Service tanker #105 at Fox Air Tanker Base, Lancaster, California in August 1989

Central Air Service had retired five of its C-54 tankers by August 1989 when they were parked at a desert ag strip near
Eloy, Arizona.  C-54Q N67034 tanker #150

Central Air Service C-54Q N96451 tanker #111 retired at Eloy Augsut 1989 facing an uncertain future

Aviation Traders ATL-98 Carvairs

The Aviation Traders Ltd ATL-98 Carvair was Freddie Laker's 1950s concept to improve the versatility and efficiency of the
world's C-54/DC-4 fleets by grafting on a freighter nose. Only 21 Carvairs were completed and a few were acquired by US
operators. N89FA and N80FA of Falcon Airways were at home base Dallas-Love Field, Texas in November 1981.

N89FA was the 9th Carvair, completed in 1963 at Southend. It was flown for 15 years on cross-English Channel car
ferry services by British Air Ferries as G-AHSZ before purchased by Falcon Airways in June 1979.

Falcon Airways' third Carvair N83FA loading freight at Anchorage, Alaska in September 1981 while leased to local operator
Gifford Aviation, which later purchased this aircraft.

The Carvair's lengthened fuselage and rear passenger compartment are evident in this view.

N83FA arrives at Anchorage late one evening in September 1981 carrying another load of fish from Kodiak

Fire bomber operator Aero Union Inc of Chico, California branched into air freight during the 1970s to utilise their DC-4 fleet.
To cater for the oversized cargo market Aero Union acquired the B377MG Mini Guppy and this Carvair N55243.
The Carvair is seen at Anchorage in September 1981 while operated for Kodiak Western Airways of Kodiak, Alaska.

Back to the Photographs Menu