A brief history of our DC-6 Cockpit

MSN 44087 rolled off the Douglas Aircraft Company assembly line on Oct. 14, 1953 for delivery to Swissair who flew the aircraft on its international routes. We have pictures of this aircraft at the old Tokyo Haneda International Airport.

Sept 1962 Swissair leased the aircraft to Finlantic
Jan 1964 Returned to Swissair in May 1963 and sold to Olympic Airways
Aug 1972 Concare Aviation of Canada acquired the aircraft and converted it to a forest fire tanker
May 1973 Sold to Conair Aviation
June 1973 Sold to Rosenbalm Aviation
Mar 1975 Sold Tanker 46, as the aircraft was now known, to Sis-Q Flying Service
May 1985 Macavia International Corp. acquired tanker 46

Sometime between then and 1991 the aircraft was parked and stored at Santa Rosa. It then was sold to several aircraft brokers, but not flown. In Dec. 1997 the aircraft was broken up and sold for scrap with the exception of the cockpit section which was saved. It sat out exposed to the weather for many years and was in bad shape.  Vandals and souvenir hunters had removed most of the instruments, lights, etc. 

The Pacific Coast Air Museum acquired the cockpit section and from 1997 to 2002 Larry Rengstorf served as Crew Chief.  During that time, Larry was successful in restoring most of the cockpit to almost display condition.  We have found it difficult to find replacements for the missing parts, but work continues as equipment becomes available.

General History of the DC-6

The DC-6 was a development of the DC-4 Skymaster. The DC-6 used the same wing as the -4 but had a pressurized fuselage that was lengthened by just over 2 meters and used larger engines. Although initial development of the DC-6 occurred during World War II, it was carried on after the war and targeted the post war airlines as customers and entered service in April of 1947 with American Airlines.

During 1948, the Douglas company developed a cargo version of the aircraft with an even longer fuselage and larger engines which was named the DC-6A. This was followed by a similar passenger transport version called the DC-6B. Military versions of the aircraft were called the C-118 Liftmaster.

The 29th C-118A off the line was given a VIP interior for President Truman and designated a VC-118 and named "The Independence". Multiple versions of the aircraft were produced for the U.S. Navy and were called R6D-1 and R6D-1Z, the latter with VIP interiors. DC-6 type aircraft were used by most branches of the military over the years.

The DC-6 proved itself to be a reliable and capable transport that is considered the pinnacle of piston propelled transport aircraft. Although displaced by the jet aircraft developed in the 50´s, the DC´s continued on in the lower echelons of air transport and many are still in service today. 

DC-6 Cockpit Specifications


105 ft 7 in (32.18 m)


117 ft 6 in (35.81 m)


28 ft 8 in (8.74 m)

Wing area

1,463 sq ft (135.91 sq m)

Maximum takeoff weight

107,000 lb (48,534 kg)

Empty weight

55,357 lb (25,110 kg)


Three crew (pilot, copilot, flight engineer) and up to 102 passengers depending upon configuration

Cruising Speed
315 mph
Service Ceiling
25,000 ft
Range with max payload
3,005 miles

Four 2,500HP Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB17 Double Wasp Radial Engines

Crew Chief

Position Open

Country of origin




b/n or serial number



Long Range Transport


Pacific Coast Air Museum


There’s always something great going on at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. We have Open Cockpit weekends once a month,  special events throughout the year, and regular hot dog lunches. We host school field trips, special group tours, birthday parties, and family get-togethers, all among our collection of historic aircraft and educational exhibits.