The Douglas C-124 Globemaster II, nicknamed "Old Shakey", was a heavy-lift cargo aircraft built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California.The C-124 was the primary heavy-lift transport for United States Air Force Military Air Transport Service (MATS) during the 1950s and early 1960s until the C-141 Starlifter entered service. It served in MATS, later Military Airlift Command (MAC), gained units of the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard until 1974.
The C-124 was developed from 1947 to 1949 by Douglas Aircraft from a prototype created from the WWII-design Douglas C-74 Globemaster and based on lessons learned in the Berlin Airlift. The aircraft was powered by four large Pratt & Whitney R-4360 piston engines producing 3,800&_160;hp (2,800&_160;kW) each. The C-124's design featured two large clamshell doors and a hydraulically-actuated ramp in the nose as well as a cargo elevator under the aft fuselage. The C-124 was capable of carrying 68,500&_160;lb (31,100&_160;kg) of cargo, and the 77&_160;ft (23.5&_160;m) cargo bay featured two overhead hoists, each capable of lifting 8,000&_160;lb (3,629&_160;kg). As a cargo hauler, it could carry tanks, guns, trucks and other heavy equipment, while in its passenger-carrying role it could carry 200 fully equipped troops on its double decks or 127 litter patients and their attendants. It was the only aircraft of its time capable of transporting heavy equipment such as tanks and bulldozers without prior disassembly.
The C-124 first flew on 27 November 1949, with the C-124A being delivered from May, 1950. The C-124C was next, featuring more powerful engines, and an APS-42 weather radar fitted in a "thimble"-like structure on the nose. Wingtip-mounted combustion heaters were added to heat the cabin, and enable wing and tail surface deicing. The C-124As were later equipped with these improvements.