Western Air Lines   Douglas DC-4  NC10201          (c/n  42904)


                                   In 1946 Western Air Lines ordered five new Douglas DC-4s from Douglas.  These were not ex
                                   C-54s but purpose built, post-war DC-4-1009s.  Actually, NC10201 was the first of these purely
                                   civil machines to be turned out by the Santa Monica factory.  Interestingly, within an eighteen month
                                   period, four of these brand new DC-4s had been sold off, to be later replaced by ex C-54s, such as
                                   the one seen below. . The only conclusion I can draw from this action is that, at the end of the war,
                                   like new automobiles, new airliners were hard to get, and that a healthy profit could be turned by buy-
                                   ing and selling them.  This, accompanied by the perennial cash flow problems with which airlines have
                                   always been confronted may have contributed to a management decision to sell the new ones and get
                                   used.  The DC-4s were used initially on the newly awarded Los Angeles to Denver route.  Since the
                                   DC-4 was unpressurized and the route was over highly mountainous terrain resulting in unstable air at
                                   the low altitudes in which it flew, these flights were dubbed the "Vomit Comet" by the cabin crew!
                                   (Only an ex-Western Airlines employee could come up with that bit of lore).    NC10201 wound up
                                   with TACA International in El Salvador as YS-02C.  It was scrapped in 1972.    In 1958 WAL
                                   adopted a slightly different livery, wherein the large 'W' on the tail was replaced with 'Western'.  This
                                   was later changed to the 'Indian Head' motif.  As such, the scheme seen on the ex military C-54-15-DO
                                   below (in this rather red-washed out print from the Mike Sparkman collection) was rather short-lived.
                                   N86573 incidentally, was an ex Braniff machine acquired by Western in 1954, before becoming PP-LEL
                                   with Loide Aereo Nacional in 1957 and winding up back in the US in 1969 as N18383, only to be
                                   broken up at Vancouver, BC later that same year.   Finally, at the foot of the page is a profile worked
                                   up by graphic artist and serious modeler Tim Bradley of NC10201 in original 1946 livery.  

                                     Douglas DC-4  N86573              (c/n  18383)