Maples and Metcalf
This unique interview retails the story about refueling stations that were used during the Korean War. Maples and Metcalf are two Korean War veterans that calculated the range of the DC-4 known as the Skymaster. The Skymaster was a four-engine, long range, heavy transport used by the US and Canadian Air Forces along with the US Marine Corps during the Korean War. The Skymaster had a 4000 mile fuel-range which flew approximately 200 mph. Once it left Vancouver, Canada, it would fly to Cold Bay, Alaska which was just off the main peninsula headed towards the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea at Shemya Island. Shemya Island only had a single strip of lights for landing and the landing strip itself was only 4 X 5 miles wide which made any plane difficult to land, not to mention a DC-4.
Refueling of a DC-4 Airplane
DC-4's range was 4,000 for its fuel length from Vancuver, Canada to Cold Bay, Alaska. They would fly 2,000 miles and then turn around near Shemya Island. Shemya Island was a WWII small refueling station. There was a very small air strip to land.
Cold Bay, Alaska
Cold Bay, Alaska was the first stop and then the veterans went to refuel in Shemya Island. Cold Bay was the beginning of the islands around Alaska. These islands are on the way down to the Aleutian Islands which became another stop for the planes to refuel.
Shemya Island has lights out on the runway on the right side, so pilots had to make sure that they didn't miss the small runway. This runway was near the Bering Sea, so it was very dangerous for the pilots. The runway was only 4 x5 miles long.