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P_7878

Swissair DC-4-1009 Commemorative Flight...

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[Note: I'd previously flown the Douglas C-54, from the excellent DC-4 (SIM) package of Flight Replicas, in a (special) "Save the Skymaster" livery, repainted by a member, here. In this post, I fly the principal (commercial) variant, the DC-4-1009, in the Swissair livery, reflecting on a (special) commemorative flight. Commemorative flights are always fascinating. They bridge two distant events in history, and signify the re-discovery and re-examination of a time-capsule from the bygone era. Please find, here, one such good example,...so, please read on, if you're interested, or you may jump directly to the Screenshots below...]

Regarding DC-4, first of all, we note that, Douglas company, partnering with United Air Lines et al., had come up with a grand and innovative idea, for its time: to replace a plane (the legendary DC-3/C-47), by another "DC" that could fly 4 times the distance and carry 2 times the passenger load,...so, for the first time, in history, "normal" folks, like you and me (the likes of Alcocks/Browns/Lindberghs et al. need not apply...🙂...), making a transatlantic crossing, would be clearly in sight, now...! The new DC-4 was born, at a tumultuous point in history, under the darkening clouds of WWII. Therefore, although the (military) C-54 flew first in 1942, the (commercial) DC-4 would fly 4 years later, in 1946, just past WWII. The "DC-4-1009" variant (flown here) was the main Post-war passenger model. Douglas built 1,242 such aircraft (only 80 DC-4s and the rest 1162 as military/navy variants (C54/R5D)). Imagine this, "During the war, the C-54s flew a million miles a month over the rugged North Atlantic - more than 20 round trips a day". So, the Douglas DC-4 had finally, tamed the vast and daunting Atlantic, so to speak...! Post-war, the DC-4s (and re-used/converted C-54s) would continue the tradition of Atlantic voyage, transporting "normal" passengers, across the Ocean (and other regions of the world). They remained operational to near the end of 20th century, until replaced by the (pressurized) DC-6s/DC-7s. The (Swissair) commemorative flight of this post, took place, in 1997.

Consider these innovative (DC-4) ideas:

  1. Unheard-of range and capacity (already cited)
  2. First large aircraft with a nose-wheel
  3. Tricycle landing gear, a practice, carried to the current days (no more tailwheel/taildragger and sloped cabin of the DC-3)
  4. Air-conditioning
  5. Latest instrumentation and navigational tools, with two-axis autopilot knobs for HDG and ALT (Level Flight) hold, Sperry A-3 is simulated by FR, (Side Note: Honeywell bought Sperry, in 1986, for over 1 billion $, and now makes the avionics and automation for e.g. the 787. So, these DC-4/Sperry automatics are, indeed, the roots of modern airliner MCP.)
  6. (Planned) Cabin Pressurization (will actually occur in the DC-6, later)
  7. Auxiliary Fuel Tanks (C-54)
  8. Powerful "four" (radial) engines etc.

And, here was the most curious (planned) feature: A novel "triple-finned" tail (like those that will later appear in the Lockheed Constellation - DC-4E (experimental) flew first in 1938 and the Constellation C-69 flew in 1943). If interested, please search for "DC-4E images".

The bold and adventurous Swissair (a favorite Airline of mine), in the same year (1947) that it was designated as the national airline, would embark on its first transatlantic DC-4 flight, on May 2nd 1947, with (HB-ILA), from Geneva to New York (though, due to fog at New York's LaGuardia Airport, it actually landed in Washington, D.C., the same (DEST) airport, I've landed my (virtual) Swissair DC-4, here). Swissair had bought four new DC-4s fresh from Douglas: HB-ILI (seen in my images, below), flew its transatlantic inaugural, seemingly, just 5 days later, on May 7th 1947. The DC-4s provided Swissair (and other Airlines) with the vital "first" experience needed to "cross" the Atlantic, that we take for granted today. Celebrating 50 years of the (above) trans-Atlantic service, Swissair, on May 7th 1997, flew (westbound) a vintage (a 50-years continuously operating South African Airways (SAA) "safari" DC-4) aircraft from Geneva to New York. This flight went more smoothly than Swissair's maiden North Atlantic voyage, 50 years ago. And, all passengers (thankfully, surely) returned home (eastbound) by Swissair's own B747 or MD-11.

My (HB-ILI) DC-4, here, is also departing Geneva (LSGG), initially skirting the Swiss Alps (see shots), westbound, across the desolate, and seemingly endless (especially at my low cruise-level of 10,000 feet, the Commemorative (RW) flight had to use 8,000 feet, due to lack of pressurization),...into the "sunset" over the Atlantic, on its way, to Washington DC (KDCA). BTW, please note a few "teaser" shots...🙂...of my beloved (RXP) GTN750...(note, though, I have not enabled GPS navigation, at anytime, at all, though, admit, I have taken advantage of the "situational awareness" of the GTN750, and also of the "magical" magenta-line, for manually setting the (Sperry) Autopilot's HDG selector (=RUD) knob)...note one close-up of shot of the Autopilot with the 3 (RUD/AIL/ELE) control knobs on top (just behind the Captain's Control wheel). For curiosity, the FR manual says this, about how the "Autopilot" is turned on..., "Press yellow plunger under pedestal (a shot of it included below) all the way down, to turn on autopilot..."...While I  ruminate about my (QW) 787's (modern and seamless) AP/LNAV/VNAV buttons etc....surely, I/we cannot but feel for those long-haul pilots of the day...[However, I could not resist...🙂...setting, here, the ILS frequency, for Rwy 01 landing, on the convenient GTN750 NAV Radio (see the nice and bold "IDCA ILS 109.90" display at top RHS corner of the GTN750)].

Epilogue and "end-of-life" of (HB-ILI), the same DC-4 Reg. seen in this post:
It was delivered new to Swissair in 1947, then sold to Syrian air in 1958 as (YK-AAR). It had to be written off on September 1st, 1960, in Congo/Zaire, after the aircraft slid into the depths of river Congo (encountering technical problems, the Captain had decided to ditch into the river). Fortunately, "all" 14 occupants were rescued by a Congolese tug (good to know that no lives were lost, on the "final" flight of this DC-4 HB-ILI).

Hope you enjoys these (symbolic) pictures of this (historic) DC-4 (HB-ILI). BTW, in the last-but-one screenshot, below, you may spot both the "Washington Monument" and the "Capitol Building", along the far horizon...

Thanks for viewing and reading...! Good flying...!!

[Flight Replicas (DC-4), MSE (Switzerland), RXP (GTN750), DRZEWIECKI DESIGN (KDCA), REX]

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Great story and pics, as always P_7878. It's funny, but the last three shots remind me of an old John Wayne movie "The high and the mighty" where his DC 4 (he was the co-pilot) barely makes it on the last drops of fuel at night into San Francisco. I think I need to watch that movie again 😀 

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Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwinds

My specs: AMD Radeon RX6700XT, AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 32GB RAM, 34" monitor, screen resolution: 2560x1080

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Alaska738, Bernd: Thanks...!!

[Agree, Bernd, no DC-4 story would be complete...🙂...without a reference to that classic novel and that old film....in fact, there was a bit of exchange of comments about the movie (and John Wayne), in my earlier C-54 post, which I've alluded to, here. That Post title is, "C-54 Skymaster Test Flight...with a new Repaint", please take a peek, if you can,...no need to react or comment...(good to hear from you...all the best)...!]

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Thanks for sharing, crazy nice !!!

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                          MSFS2020

                 

                     MICHAEL J     proud supporter

                       KJAX   FLORIDA

                    

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18 hours ago, P_7878 said:

in my earlier C-54 post, which I've alluded to, here. That Post title is, "C-54 Skymaster Test Flight...with a new Repaint", please take a peek, if you can,...no need to react or comment...(good to hear from you...all the best).

Yes I will, many thanks and all the best to you too, my friend !!

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Any attempt to stretch fuel is guaranteed to increase headwinds

My specs: AMD Radeon RX6700XT, AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, 32GB RAM, 34" monitor, screen resolution: 2560x1080

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the info on the DC-4 and usual outstanding screens. Very interesting. You have quite a collection of unique aircraft and it's good you can convert them to MSFS and keep them flying.

I'll need to look for the film too!

Edited by ozcanuck55
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Michael, ozcanuck: Appreciated the incremental comments...!!

10 hours ago, mjw25 said:

...crazy nice !!!


...🙂...sounds about right,...Michael...

Frankly, I could not believe myself that (HB-ILI) I had happened to pick up for this post (btw, this Swissair DC-4-1009 repaint came default in the FR package), had met with such a tragic end, but, miraculously, without any fatalities involved, at all...and, to think that a four-prop airliner had performed, back in 1960, on the Congo River, such a remarkable feat, similar to the (modern) "Miracle on the Hudson" with the A320 jet...quite fascinating, indeed...

 

3 hours ago, ozcanuck55 said:

Thanks for the info on the DC-4 and usual outstanding screens. Very interesting. You have quite a collection of unique aircraft and it's good you can convert them to MSFS and keep them flying.

I'll need to look for the film too!

Thanks for your interest...Glad you enjoyed...! And, to be honest, though, I'm watching (and enjoying) MSFS keenly, and, one of the reasons, I'm here,...🙂..., I am exclusive FSX-SE, for the time being,...so, don't know ABC of such conversion...but, there are folks here who do legacy-to-MSFS a/c conversions, for their own use and enjoyment,...you can look back in this screenshots Forum, to find out...

BTW, do enjoy the film, when you get to it...!!

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