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Martin 4-0-4 Airliner

The 4-O-4 was the Glenn L. Martin Company’s last bid to enter the commercial air transport sector in the early 1950s. Martin assembled 105 4-O-4s.  They were operated by the primary airlines for about 10 years and then saw extended service with small regional airlines and for private use.  The Museum’s 4-O-4 was delivered to Eastern Air Lines in 1952.  Its final owner, Manfred Leuthard, donated the aircraft to the Museum in 2001. It was flown from Camarillo, Calif., to Martin State Airport by Jeff Whitesell.

Martin 4-O-4 Skyliner   …..  Fast Facts  


  • The Martin 4-O-4 was the first truly “modern” airliner with a pressurized cabin.

  • Designed to be a replacement for the Douglas DC-3, the Martin Skyliner was the first post-war airliner design to reach production.

  • In all 103 were 4-O-4s were built by Glenn L. Martin Company between 1951 and 1953, at its Middle River Plant in Maryland.

  • Eastern Airlines had the largest fleet, with 60. The Martins of Eastern Airlines were primarily deployed along their eastern seaboard routs, and in Florida.

  • TWA operated 40 of the 4-O-4s.

  • Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and the Doobie Brothers each used modified Martin 4-O-4s. Sinatra’s plane had a lounge area with a piano, a curved bar, a bedroom, and for night flights, an artificial moon and twinkling stars built into the ceiling. The exterior was pink with brown trim.

  • Visitors to the museum often remark how much more leg room the passengers of a 4-O-4 enjoyed compared to a modern jet airliner.

  • The museum’s Skyliner (S/n 14233/ N485A) has a manufacture date of October 15, 1952.  After its service with Eastern Airlines, the registration was changed to its current N259S.

  • It was delivered to Eastern Airlines on November 4, 1952.

  • In 2000 Mr. Manfred Leuthard of Classic Airways, agreed to donate his 4-O-4 to the museum. In turn, the museum covered the expenses of flying the 4-O-4 cross country; $30,000 was raised in four months for this flight. The arrival was covered by local TV and newspapers.

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