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The Douglas C-42 was ordered on the same contract as the C-39s and C-41s on May 11, 1938. The C-42 was basically a C-39 airframe fitted with Wright R-1830 Cyclone radial engines and a specialized interior designed for VIP and general staff transport duties.
The C-42 was completed in March 1939 and made its first flight on March 22. The plane was delivered to the Air Corps at Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., on March 24, and was transferred to nearby Langley Field, Va., on Apr. 12, 1939. The C-42 was assigned to the Headquarters Squadron of the General Headquarters Air Force (GHQ AF) and was initially used by Gen. Frank Andrews, the GHQ AF commander at the time.
The initial C-42 was transferred to Bolling Field on Mar. 28, 1941 and remained there until the fall of 1942. The plane was then assigned to several different fields ending up at Columbus, Ind., on Mar. 13, 1943. The plane was sold for commercial use in April 1945.
In 1943, two C-39s (S/N 38-513 and 38-528) were modified with interiors similar to the original C-42 and re-designated as C-42s. These planes were used as general staff transports for about one year before being declared surplus and sold to commercial airlines.
Engines: Two Wright R-1820-53 radials of 1,200 hp each
Maximum speed: 214 mph
Cruising speed: 170 mph
Range: 1,600 miles
Service ceiling: 22,000 ft.
Span: 85 ft. 0 in.
Length: 61 ft. 6 in.
Height: 18 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 23,624 lbs. maximum gross weight
Crew: Two (pilot and co-pilot)
Passenger capacity: 14
Serial numbers: 38-503, 38-513, 38-528
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