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1990 – Mr. Donald W. Douglas

Engineer, visionary and entrepreneur, Donald W. Douglas was a monumental figure in aviation history. His aircraft designs revolutionized commercial transportation. In the matter of military airlift, his impact was equally significant. The Douglas DC-3 became the C-47, the workhorse of World War II airborne communications. The larger DC-4, which blossomed as the C-54, provided the range and capacity necessary to support the far flung operations of the Army Air Forces in the latter days of that conflict.

All of these aircraft were developments of commercial types which were basically designed to transport people, but it was his C-124 which provided MATS and later MAC with the first aircraft designed specifically for strategic military airlift. Its capacity for heavy and outsize cargo (by 1950 standards), and its ease of loading and delivery paved the way for its jet powered successors. The C-124 quickly proved itself in supporting the United Nations forces in the Korean War, carrying personnel and cargo across the broad expanses of the Pacific, and in subsequent years was the single aircraft capable of reliable outsize cargo delivery until the introduction of the C-5.

Douglas, of course, will be remembered for a great many other contributions to aeronautical history, but his vast impact on air transportation and his introduction of aircraft designed to support the strategic airflift mission mark him as an outstanding candidate for induction into the Airlifter Hall of Fame.

Mr. Donald W. Douglas

Mr. Donald W. Douglas