The Douglas DC-6 was originally built to a USAAF
requirement, but was available too late for it to be any use to the United States
The US airline
industry, however, had seen promise in the design early on and Douglas
, not being one to miss an opportunity, quickly converted the military aircraft for commercial
use, and the DC-6 was born.
Originally known as the XC-112, the four-engined Douglas aircraft was a larger version of the DC-4, designed to compete with the Lockheed Constellation L-O49, which was gaining a significant foothold in the US military transport field. The DC-6 had a compliment of four Pratt & Whitney R2800 radial engines, was 7 feet longer than the DC-4 and was fully pressurised.
The XC-112's first flight was on February 15, 1946.
Commercial airline orders were placed for the XC-112 as early as 1944 and American Airlines received the first newly renamed DC-6 in November of 1946.
A total of 175 DC-6's were produced from 1946 to 1951, the final aircraft being delivered to Braniff on November 2nd of 1951.
Many DC-6s are still in flying order today, running cargo and mail across South America and Africa, a testament to the aircraft's ruggedness and reliability.