CC-109 Cosmopolitan
A CC-109 Cosmopolitan of 412 Squadron at CFB Cold Lake in 1985
Role transport aircraft
Manufacturer Canadair
First flight 2 February 1959
Introduction 1960
Retired 1994
Primary users Royal Canadian Air Force
Canadian Forces
Produced 1959, 1966 (reconfigured variant)
Number built 13
Unit cost
CV540 (used) - $880,000 CL-66B (new) - $2,000,000 [1]
Developed from Convair 440
Variants Convair 540

The Canadair CL-66 was a turboprop version of the civilian Convairliner. The CC-109 Cosmopolitan or "Cosmo" in RCAF service became the standard VIP aircraft as well as replacing the Douglas Dakota and the North American B-25 Mitchell in light transport duties. After a lengthy career stretching into the 1990s, the CC-109 was replaced by the CC-142 Dash 8 and CC-144 Challenger.

Design and development

With the close of production of the Convair CV-440 in San Diego, Canadair acquired the rights to the design along with the jigs, tooling and even three unsold 440s. With the availability of a Napier Eland turboprop conversion, the re-engined CV-440s became the CV-540, an all-cargo variant.

In 1958, the RCAF wanted to replace their aging C-47 Dakotas with a turbo powered aircraft. Their choice was the Vickers Viscount, but the Canadian government decided against this aircraft. Instead, Canadair offered a series of CV-540 variants powered by Napier Eland turboprops. The project was given the number CL-66 and three versions were considered. The CL-66A was to be a 48/64 passenger aircraft. The CL-66B designed to be a cargo/passenger configuration with a payload of 14200 lb. The CL-66C used the Convair-built CV-440s, having only their new engines fitted at Canadair.

The first CL-66 to fly was a “C” version with its first flight in February 1959; the CL-66B had its first flight in January 1960. No “A” versions were built.

Operational history

Canadair was not able to get contracts from any major airline for the CL-66. It was too expensive and other similar types had better performance. The two aircraft, both of them CL-66Cs, that had been used for extensive sales demonstrations, were sold to the local carrier Quebecair. The RCAF took ten aircraft, mainly Bs. The Eland not only proved to be unreliable, but also did not deliver the expected power, consequently, the RCAF instituted an engine upgrade in 1966-1967, installing Allison 501-D36 engines. After eight airframes had been re-engined, the company phased out further development work on the type, "orphaning" the remaining final two Eland examples, which were subsequently scrapped.[2]

No. 412 Squadron at CFB Ottawa (S), or "Uplands" flew the "Cosmo", from 1960 to 1994 as VIP transport. The Cosmopolitan aircraft were also deployed to Europe for Canadian NATO contingent support as well as to the US in support of Canadian NORAD operations.


One CC-109 aircraft (1967) was destroyed in RCAF service, one destroyed (2004) after retirement and sold to private owners. Two aircraft were scrapped by the CF in 1972.

Three aircraft were in storage in Canada (1 in Calgary and 2 in Sasktoon) and were owned privately. The remaining survivors were sold overseas for use or storage (Bolivia, Panama, Democratic Republic of Congo).

In 2011 five aircraft, 3 from Canada and 2 from Panama were acquired by Kelowna Flightcraft Ltd. and flown to Kelowna, BC to restored for use as freighters and water bombers. As of 2011 only one survivor remains overseas.





All civilian version acquired from Canadian Forces after 1994 through sale in 1996:

  • private owner
  • stored by Aeroperlas and returned to Canada 2011
  • private owner; later returned to Aeroperlas in Panama and returned to Canada 2011?
Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • private owner - destroyed in crash 2004 (as CV-580)
  • 3 - owned by 2 private owners; acquired by Kelowna Flightcraft 2011
  • 5 - acquired in 2011 by Kelowna Flightcraft (3 from Canada and 2 from Panama)

Specifications (CL-66 - Eland)

Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1961–62[3]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 3 or 4
  • Capacity: 64 passengers
  • Payload: 14,300 lb (6,486 kg)
  • Length: 81 ft 6 in (24.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 105 ft 4 in (32.12 m)
  • Height: 28 ft 2 in (8.49 m)
  • Wing area: 963.8 sq ft (89.54 m²)
  • Airfoil: NACA 63.4-120
  • Aspect ratio: 12:1
  • Empty weight: 32,333 lb (14,666 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 53,200 lb (24,130 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Napier Eland turboprops, 3,500 ehp (2,611 kW) each


See also

Aviation portal
Canadian Armed Forces portal

Related development

Related lists


  • Molson, Ken M. and Harold A. Taylor. Canadian Aircraft Since 1909. Stittsville, Ontario: Canada's Wings, Inc., 1982. ISBN 0-920002-11-0.
  • Pickler, Ron and Larry Milberry. Canadair: The First 50 Years. Toronto: CANAV Books, 1995. ISBN 0-921022-07-7.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1961–62. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Company, 1961.

External links

  • CC-109 Cosmopolitan in RCAF service

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