Aircraft By Type

Aircraft Make & Model:
Douglas DC-6
97,200 lb.
2,200 miles
328 mph
56 passengers (50 for sale + 6 Skylounge seats usable in-flight)
101 ft.
118 ft.
29 ft.
4 Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp R-2800
HP or Thrust:
2,100 hp
No. flown by DL:
First Delivery:
October 1, 1948
First Scheduled Service:
December 1, 1948
Reason Aquired:
Fast and pressurized; could compete with Eastern Airlines' Lockheed Constellations between Chicago and Miami.
Last Retirement:
December 11, 1968
Reason Disposed:
Replaced by jet aircraft.

Narrative:  Douglas DC-6 1948-1968

"Our passenger comfort didn't really become obvious or actual until the DC-6, and that was due to the pressurization and air conditioning."  Art Ford, Delta engineer 

Technical Advances

  • First Douglas aircraft to exceed 300 miles-per-hour cruise speed. Delta promoted its DC-6 fleet as "None Faster, None Finer to and thru' the South."
  • Delta's first pressurized and air-conditioned aircraft.
  • Thermal or "heated wing" deicing system for greater all-weather dependability.
  • First Delta aircraft with reverse propellers. When landing with reverse propellers, the pitch of the propellers reverse, so that they push air forward instead of backwards, allowing safer and shorter landings on wet and dry runways and reduced taxi time.
  • Delta briefly flew the DC-6 with two pilots, but federal regulations changed soon after Delta launched service to require a third pilot in the cockpita flight engineer.

Inside, the Delta DC-6's were designed to be "as modern as a night club, yet quiet in tone and color. They'll be exciting, but restful." Blue was the predominant color, with contrasting tan leather accents and ceiling fabric, accented with crimson red leather details. Walnut-paneled bulkheads separated the compartments. 

The Sky Lounge in back of the plane had "easy chair comfortable seats" for six people. Delta invited customers to "join your friends for quiet conversation, cards or coffee, in the luxurious atmosphere of an exclusive club." 

In front of the plane, two groups of four seats on each side of the aisle faced each other, "arranged for bridge-playing foursomes, for business groups, for families traveling together."

The DC-6 was Delta's first aircraft with seat tray tables. On earlier planes, passengers balanced meal trays on pillows held on their laps.

More Information

  • 1948 Delta DC-6 Brochure: Features black & white DC-6 interior photos, seat map and the in-flight experience.
  • Boeing.comDevelopment and specifications of the Douglas DC-6
  • Douglas DC-6
  • Delta postcard, DC-6 flying over Miami Beach, 1948
  • DC-6
  • Douglas DC-6 Introduction (1946)