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Was the Douglas DC-4 Cursed? — #TBT Week of May 24

United Douglas DC-4 (Photo: Ed Coates)

In the spirit of #TBT (“Throwback Thursday,” not Brazil’s Tabatinga Airport) FlyerTalk takes a look back at the events that helped shape modern aviation. Here are just a few moments from history that changed the face of the industry during the week of May 24.


May 24, 1976

After years of fighting over landing rights, two supersonic Concorde landed at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), marking the first visit by the aircraft to the U.S. The Concorde were operated by Air France and British Airways, departing and landing within minutes of each other.

While the transatlantic flights took only four hours to complete, they were not without setbacks, as journalist Peter Jennings noted that the flight he was on ran out of white wine.

May 25, 2003

It was an aviation heist that triggered an international response, with the actual whereabouts of the aircraft still unknown to this day. Two men working on the ground crew at Quatro de Fevereiro Airport (LAD) in Angola successfully stole a Boeing 727-223 formerly belonging to American Airlines. When the aircraft was stolen, crews were working to retrofit the aircraft to join IRS Airlines’ fleet.

May 26, 2010

After years of disputes with neighboring Kuwait, the government of Iraq announced they would shut down their state-owned airline, Iraqi Airways. Kuwait Airways claims the Iraqi airline owed over $1.2 billion in reparations, dating back from the invasion of Kuwait in 1991.

The bankruptcy and shutdown would ultimately be a short-lived plan to prevent the collection of the reparations. After a settlement with Kuwait, Iraqi Airways resumed flights to their neighboring country three years later. 

May 27, 1999

Building off the success of the CRJ200, Bombardier celebrated the first flight of the CRJ700 series aircraft. Meeting the demand of larger, more efficient regional jets, the CRJ700 could accommodate between 66 and 78 passengers with a range of around 1,400 miles.

Today, over 700 CRJ700-series aircraft, including the larger CRJ900 and CRJ1000, are in service around the world, with 90 orders awaiting to be fulfilled. 

May 28, 1997

Fulfilling a dream, Texas aviator and businesswoman Linda Finch successfully completed the around-the-world flight attempted by Amelia Earhart in 1937. Following the same flight plan as Earhart in the same aircraft with technological upgrades, Finch completed the journey in 73 days, concluding at Oakland International Airport (OAK).

Though Finch was the second woman to complete the flight, she was the first to travel the route in the Lockheed Electra 10E — the same aircraft as Earhart. 

May 29, 1947

It was the worst aviation crash in the U.S., but only for one day. United Airlines Flight 521, a Douglas DC-4 with scheduled service from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), failed to take off from Runway 18. As a result, the aircraft overran the runway, ripped through a fence and ultimately exploded in a pond.

Of those aboard, 43 souls were lost with only five survivors. The incident was surpassed as the deadliest aviation when Eastern Airlines Flight 605, another Douglas DC-4, suddenly crashed outside of Baltimore the next day. 

May 30, 2008

The concept of a business class airline officially came to an end with the fold of Silverjet. Beginning flights from London to the U.S. 17 months prior, the airline operated three Boeing aircraft in a all-business class configuration for around $1,500 per ticket.


[Photo: Ed Coates]

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airboss May 29, 2015

DC-4 Good heavy hauler !!!