c/n#9358 42-23496 - R4D-5 12418 US Navy D08Apr43 - xx - VR-7 Aug44 - VR-3 03Jun45 -Jacksonville Jun46 - NART
Minneapolis Feb47 - NART Olathe Aug48 - Litchfield Pk Sep48 - xx - VX-6 "XD" "Que SeraSera", landed at
S Pole 31Oct56 - Pres Smithsonian Inst, Washington, DC (stored) Dec58 US Navy Museum,Pensacola, Fl (late
1974 on loan) Restored for Exhibition 1982.
On Oct. 31, 1956, Lt. Cdr. Gus Shinn landed the first plane at the South Pole. It was a ski-equipped R4D-5 (a Navy version of the DC-3) named "Que Sera Sera." With temperatures hovering near minus 60 F, Shinn kept the engines running while Adm. George Dufek stepped out of the plane and became the first person to stand at the Pole since Robert Scott's party, more than four decades earlier.
"It was a very reliable airplane. We put it through a lot of terrible weather and cold but it was always stable and had very few failures. It was terrific for what it could do," he said.
"It was a magnificent airplane," Frankiewicz said. "It could carry a great load of ice on its wings. And with a great big barn door for a rudder it made for easy cross-wind landings," he said.
"For open snow landings at the reduced weight of the R4Ds, they could land where there were possible snow bridges over crevasses that could not be seen," Dryfoose said. "The 130s would not fare as well under those circumstances with 100,000 pounds more weight."
This is a paraphrasing of the article's description of the takeoff, "Only by blasting off his eleven remaining JATO bottles did Shinn wrench the plane loose and stagger into the thin air at well below normal takeoff speed." However, the second line of the caption does misstate the number of JATO bottles (the R4D carried 15 and according to RADM Dufek's book Gus fired 4 at a time, then the last 3 before he got off deck... Many journalists wanted to go on the flight, but given the extreme hazards (no one had ever done it before) none were allowed. Some of them accompanied the mission aboard a wheeled USAF C-124 Globe master which flew overhead but of course did not land. Many of these folks gave their cameras to Gus Shinn and his crew, pictures