Aircraft / Transport aircraft / Douglas C-118 Liftmaster

Douglas C-118 Liftmaster

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Transport aircraft

    United States

    DC-6 (civilian version)
    R6D-1 (early US Navy designation)

    1944 - 1946


    1946 - 1958 (civilian and military production)

    United States - Douglas

    704 including both civilian and military production


    Rugged and reliable
    Limited production costs
    Good speed and range
    Low cargo capacity


The C-118 Liftmaster is an early Cold War era transport aircraft of US origin. Development started in 1944 as US forces requested a more capable version of the C-54 Skymaster. As World War 2 ended no military orders were placed but civilian production started in 1946 under the name DC-6. In the early 1950's military interest was renewed and many C-118 served well into the 1960's.


The C-118 is based on the earlier C-54 but has been improved in various areas. The C-118 is larger, has a pressurized cabin and uses more powerful and economic engines. The layout remains conventional with four Pratt & Whitney radial engines on the non-swept low mounted wings and a relatively thin body.


The C-118 military transport is based on the DC-6A freighter and has a large cargo door. It may carry 12 t of cargo or 60 combat troops. The civilian DC-6B has also been acquired by various militaries. The DC-6B is a passenger aircraft which seats between 54 and 102 passengers depending on seating configuration.


The four Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB-17 "Double Wasp" radial engines deliver 2.500 hp each. The maximum and cruise speed are 580 and 507 km/h respectively. The range is 4.800 km and the service ceiling is 7.6 km.


The main military users were the United States air force and navy. The C-118 and DC-6 were exported all over the world, but were most common in Europe and South America. Since the 1960's most have been replaced by other military and civilian transport aicraft, although in foreign service some were used well into the 1980's.


C-118 Liftmaster

Military models:
C-118A: US Air Force model of DC-6A with the more powerful engines later used on the DC-6B .
C-118B: US Navy model of C-118A. Was called the R6D-1 before 1962.
VC-118B: Four US Navy C-118B were converted to staff transports. Was called the R6D-1Z before 1962.

Civilian models:
DC-6: Initial civilian passenger variant.
DC-6A: Civilian freight variant with cargo door and longer fuselage.
DC-6B: Passenger variant based on longer DC-6A airframe and more powerful engines.
DC-6C: Convertible cargo/passenger variant.

TypeTransport aircraft
Crew3 + 54 to 102 (pilot, copilot, flight engineer, 54 to 102 passengers)
Length32.18 m
Width35.81 m wingspan
Height8.66 m
Surface135.9 m2
Weight25.1 t empty, 48.5 t MTOW
Powerplant4x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB-17 Double Wasp radial engine, 2.500 hp each
Speed578 km/h maximum, 507 km/h cruise speed at altitude, 435 km/h cruise speed at 6 km altitude
Range4.300 km with maximum fuel, 3.058 km with maximum payload
Fuelup to 14.9 t
Climb rate5.4 m/s
Ceiling7.6 km
Landing gearRetractable tricycle
Cargo54 to 102 passengers, limited cargo, maximum payload 11.1 t
Remarks1.875 m take-off run, 1.525 m landing run
Weapon systems-
Fixed weapons-
Option 1-
Option 2-
Option 3-
Option 4-
Option 5-
Option 6-
Option 7-
Option 8-


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