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PRATT & WHITNEY TWIN WASP R-2000-D5 FOURTEEN CYLINDER AIR-COOLED RADIAL ENGINE
In its original design the Twin Wasp (R-2000) D5 engine is a fourteen cylinder, radial, air-cooled type engine incorporating a single stage, two-speed integral supercharger built by Pratt & Whitney (Buick Motors) in 1942. The Twin Wasp (R-2000) D engine was mainly built for the Douglas C-54 and DC-4-1009 Skymaster aircraft but was also used in the de Havilland Canada Caribou aircraft. The DC-4 Skymaster 1009 was produced at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Santa Monica, California and was delivered to South African Airways on the 9th of August 1947.
The aircraft was registered as ZS-BMH and was named “Lebombo”. On the 30th of June 1962 this Skymaster, piloted by Captain Archie Nasmith, was involved in a mid-air collision with SAAF Harvard 7464 from 5 Squadron while approaching to land at Durban Airport. The rudder and elevators were damaged but the aircraft landed safely, the Harvard crashed near a bowling club on the Bluff but both pilots parachuted to safety and landed without injuries.
This aircraft was sold to the South African Air Force on the 21st of January 1966 and allocated the tail number 6904 and was operated by 44 Squadron. The aircraft was leased to SAFAIR in February 1977 using the registration ZS-BMH and was used to carry mineworkers from neighbouring states to South Africa. The aircraft was returned to the SAAF three months later. During 1991 the South African Air Force began phasing out the DC-4 and in 1992, South African Airways bought back 6904 which was again registered as ZS-BMH, "Lebombo". After an extensive rebuild this DC-4 re-entered service with the South African Airways Historic Flight on 8 April 1993, exactly 46 years after she rolled off the Douglas assembly line in 1947 as the last DC-4 Skymaster ever to be built.