Conceived as a civil airliner the Douglas DC-4 was commandeered by the U.S. Government on December 5, 1941 even before production had begun. Now known as the C-54 it had several modifications made to meet military requirements and first flew in March 1942. During WWII more than 1,200 C-54s were produced and operated in every theater of operations. The aircraft was the U.S. military workhorse carrying everything from Presidents to wounded personnel to coal. With the end of WWII more than 300 surplus C-54s were converted to commercial airline requirements. The Spirit of Freedom is a preserved Douglas C54E/R5D owned by the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation that actually took part in the famed Berlin Airlift. The aircraft has been painted to represent the 48th Troop Carrier Squadron that was one of many that took part in the action. The Foundation purchased the Douglas C-54E on Dec. 22, 1992 and began the restoration. As part of the project the interior was made into a flying museum and memorial dedicated to the Berlin Airlift. The aircraft can be seen at many air shows.