Also known as the C-54 by the US Army and the R5D by the US Navy

(In service from 194?-1949)

Douglas Commercial 4 (DC-4) Aircraft
We believe there were 6 of these aircraft in the fleet,
but, it could be up to 8 or 9.
I think the N numbers with C as the final letter listed after CNAC numbers were numbers used to ferry the aircraft to DM,
where several disappeared under the cutting machines there.
We sure could use your help in identifying these planes.
Tail # The Story
XT-T01, from China Airlines, Douglas C/N 10529, C-54B-1-DO, (Douglas lists as C-54B-1-DC), built as 42-72424 for USAAF, next reg. as XT-101, then when returned to China Airlines it was B-1801. later regs. were XW-PGE, B-1801 again, then (S/D- Shot Down). (On November 28, 1974 while being operated by Royal Air Cambodge on a flight between Phnom-Penh and Hong Kong was shot down near An Loc (Vietnam), 3 crew fatal.)
XT-T02, Douglas C/N 10442, DC-4, (Douglas lists as built as 42-72337 for USAAF, a C-54B-1-DC) next reg. as XT-108, next reg. as N8343C. Then to Colombia AF as FAC-692, currently in my books last listed as derelict in Colombia.
XT-T03, Douglas C/N 18370, C-54B-10-DO as 43-17170 for USAAF, next reg. as XT-100, next reg. as N8344C, N4270, N100J, G-ARXJ, HP-451, OO-FAK, [WFU].
XT-T04, Douglas C/N 10538, C-54B-1-DC, built as 42-72433 for USAAF, next reg. as XT-104, next reg. as N8345C. Then N4665V, CP-610, N5386, PH-MAE, D-ADAC, to SODEMAC of Zaire as 9Q-CTD (possibly 9Q-CTC), [WFU/withdrawn from use].
XT-T05, Douglas C/N 18348, C-54B-5-DO, as 43-17148 for USAAF, XT-T05, next reg. as XT-?, next reg. as N8342C and [W/O].
XT-T06, Douglas C/N 10510, DC-4, (Douglas lists as built as a C-54B-1-DC as 42-72405 for USAAF then converted to DC-4), next reg. as XT-105, next reg. as N8346C, N4837V, CP-609 and W/O (Note destroyed while used by [LAB]).
XT-T07, Douglas C/N 10748, DC-4, (Douglas lists as built as C-54D-10-DC as 42-72643 then converted to DC-4, next reg. as XT-102, next reg. as N8347C, N4890V, Dec. 7, 1960 as ZP-CBP (Paraguay, for Servicios Aereos del Paraguay SA, (Paraguayan Airways Service No. 2) after an earlier bankruptcy, HK-529, N529D, N122AC first operated by Southern Aero Trades, Inc., [Destr in Colombia?] (Note destroyed while used by [Anglers Club]).

And there are other stories...

November 6, 2004

Tom, I promised to send you some comments on the CNAC DC-4 fleet.

1) I don't believe that XT-T01 was ever operated by CNAC. It was delivered direct to Chiang Kai-shek as a personal transport (Air Force 1) and was later used by the Chinese Air Force as a VIP transport before sale to ChinaAirlines as B-1801. It was never XT-101.

2) I have a list of the CNAC DC-4s that were detained at Kai Tak in November 1949 (Ref. HKDCA). These were XT-101, -102, -103, -105 & -106 (total: 5). With XT-104, which crashed on Basalt Island on 21Dec48 (Ref. The Dragon's Wings, page 215), this makes up the CNAC fleet of six (which we agree on). I have no records of "XT-100" and "XT-108".

3) We believe that XT-T02 to XT-T07 were renumbered in sequence as XT-101 to XT-106. This theory is supported by recent evidence from the FAA files that XT-102 was c/n 18370, i.e. ex XT-T03. XT-103 and XT-105 are widely reported as c/ns 10538 & 10510. These were all C-54Bs except XT-106, which was a C-54D and c/n 10748 is the only C-54D on this list. The five survivors were then renumbered again in sequence as N8343C to N8347C.

4) N8342C was not a C-54 but a Douglas DST-A-207 c/n 1954, i.e. early DC-3.

I expect the results of my group's research to be published during 2005 and will be happy to send you further details after publication. This group includes the author of a forthcoming book on the DC-4 that should include a "definitive history" of all these aircraft.

Please contact me if you have any difficulty accepting these corrections. I will try to send you some more comments on other CNAC aircraft when I can find time.


Martin S. Best
Aviation historian, China Project

DC-4 In Flight
(Photo Courtesy of T.T. and Frieda Chen)

Russ Bivens
Shanghai 1948
(Photo courtesy of Orville Bivens)

Under a very large magnifying glass the tail number looks like "XT???"
The back of the picture is marked with "CNAC C-54"
(Photo Courtesey of Kenneth Chan)

1948 - Honolulu Airport

Anyone know either of the men in the photo?
(Photo Courtesy of Joe Brower)

With your help out there in cyberland we will try and add more photos and stories to this web site.
Thanks for your help and interest in keeping this part of aviation history alive.

Background music to this
page can be controlled below.
"When My Baby Smiles At Me", Ted Lewis
<bgsound src="when_my_baby_smiles_at_me_01.mp3" loop=infinite>

Back to CNAC Aircraft Page
Back to CNAC Home Page