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R4Y Samaritan

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R4Y Samaritan

C-131 Samaritan
R4Y / T-29
Convair C-131F Samaritan
Role Military transport
Manufacturer Convair
First flight 22 September 1949
Introduction 1950
Retired 1990
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Navy
Paraguayan Air Force
Number built 512[1]
Developed from Convair CV-240 family

The Convair C-131 Samaritan was an American military transport produced from 1954 to 1956 by Convair. It is the military version of the Convair CV-240.

Design and development

The design began life in a production requirement by American Airlines for a pressurized airliner to replace the classic Douglas DC-3. Convair's original design had two engines and 40 seats, and thus it was designated the CV-240. The first CV-240 flew on March 16, 1947, and production aircraft were first delivered to American on February 28, 1948. Seventy-five were delivered to American, with another fifty going to Western Airlines, Continental Airlines, Pan American Airways, KLM, Sabena, Swissair and Trans Australia Airlines.

Operational history

The CV-240/340/440 series was used by the United States Air Force (USAF) for medical evacuation and VIP transport and was designated as C-131 Samaritan. The first model Samaritan, the C-131A, was derived from the CV-240 model, and was delivered to the USAF in 1954.

The earlier trainer model, designated the T-29, was also based on the Convair 240 and was used to instruct USAF navigators for all USAF aircraft and those USN Naval Flight Officers (NFOs) selected to fly land-based naval aircraft. First deliveries to the USAF were made in 1950 followed by large production quantities until early 1955. The USAF and the USN operated T-29s in separate units at separate locations until 1976. In 1974, the USAF T-29s with the 323d Flying Training Wing (323 FTW) at Mather AFB, California began to be replaced by the Boeing 737-derived T-43. In 1975, the Navy retired all of its T-29s assigned to Training Squadron Twenty-Nine (VT-29) at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, deactivated VT-29, and merged their advanced navigator training program for land-based NFOs with the Air Force's program at Mather AFB.

A planned bomber training version of the T-29 (designated T-32) was never built. The CV-340 model was used for most C-131Ds.


In addition to T-29 variants, the United States Navy used the Samaritan, initially designated as the R4Y until 1962, at which point the naval aircraft were also redesignated as C-131s.

Nearly all of the C-131s left the active USAF inventory in the late 1970s, but the U.S. Coast Guard operated the aircraft until 1983, while the Air National Guard and U.S. Navy units operated additional C-131 airframes, primarily as Operational Support Aircraft (OSA) for Air National Guard flying wings and as naval air station "station aircraft" until 1990. The C-131 was primarily replaced by the C-9 Nightingale in Regular USAF service, with the Air National Guard replacing their OSA with C-130 Hercules aircraft and the Navy with C-12 Hurons.

A Samaritan was the first aircraft used as a flying gunship testbed in mid-1963, in a program known as "Project Tailchaser".[2] A C-131B (AF Ser. No. 53-7820) was given a gunsight for the side window, but instead of guns it had cameras in the cargo area. Eventually the C-131 was ferried to Eglin AFB in Florida and a General Electric SUU-11A/A 7.62 mm Gatling-style Minigun was installed. Live ammunition was used and both over-water and over-land tests were successful.

Accidents and incidents

On 17 December 1960, a Samaritan crashed at Munich in what is the largest loss of life in an accident in the Bavarian capital. Shortly after takeoff one engine failed and the pilot tried to get back to Riem in heavy fog over Munich. Due to the limited visibility the aircraft struck the tip of St. Paul's church close to the Theresienwiese, and crashed onto a streetcar, killing all 20 people on board the plane, and 32 on the tram.[3]

On 30 April 1983, a C-131 assigned to NAS, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba crashed at Jacksonville NAS with the loss of 13 lives.

Variants



C-131A
Transport for United States Air Force based on Convair 240, capable of carrying 39 passengers on rearward facing seats or 20 stretchers and 7 seats. 26 built.[4]
HC-131A
Surplus C-131As transferred to the United States Coast Guard, 22 transferred.
MC-131A
Temporary designation used before 1962 when a C-131A was used for medivac duties with 27 stretchers.
VC-131A
Temporary designation used before 1962 when a C-131A was used as a staff transport.
C-131B
A hybrid Model 240/340 with seats for 48 passengers, 36 built.
JC-131B
C-131B converted for missile tracking, six conversions.
NC-131B
One C-131B used for permanent testing.
VC-131B
C-131B when used as a staff transport.
YC-131C
Two Model 340s flown with Alison 501D-13 engines.
C-131D
Military version of the Model 340 with seats for 44 passengers, 33 built.
VC-131D
C-131D when used as a staff transport.
C-131E
Electronic Countermeasures training version for Strategic Air Command (SAC), later designated TC-131E, 15 built and one conversion from C-131D, two transferred to United States Navy as R4Y-2.
TC-131E
C-131E redesignated.
C-131F
R4Y-1 redesignated.
RC-131F
Conversions for photo-mapping and survey, six conversions.
VC-131F
R4Y-1Z redesignated.
C-131G
R4Y-2 redesignated.
EC-131G
One C-131G modified as an electronics trainer.
RC-131G
One C-131G modified as an airways aid checking duties.
VC-131G
C-131G used as a staff transport.
C-131H
Other models converted to Model 580 turboprop standards.
NC-131H
One conversion with an extended nose incorporating a separate cockpit as a Total In-Flight Simulator. This aircraft was transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio on November 7, 2008[5]
R4Y-1
United States Navy version of the Model 340 with 44 passenger seats, redesignated C-131F in 1962, 36 built.
R4Y-1Z
United States Navy staff transports, redesignated VC-131F in 1962, one built and conversions from R4Y-1.
R4Y-2
Two C-131Es transferred to the United States Navy, redesignated C-131G in 1962, an additional 13 cancelled.
R4Y-2Q
Projected radar countermeasures version of the R4Y-2, five cancelled
R4Y-2S
Projected United States Navy Anti-Submarine Warfare trainer version, 14 on order cancelled.
XT-29
Prototype military trainer version of the Model 240 for the United States Air Force, two built.
T-29A
Initial production version for navigator training, unpressurised cabin for 14 students, 46 built.
VT-29A
T-29As converted for staff transport.
T-29B
Pressurised version with room for 10 navigator and four radio operator students, 105 built.
NT-29B
One T-29B used for permanent testing.
VT-29B
T-29B converted for staff transport with seating for 29 or 32 passengers.
T-29C
T-29B with 2500hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-29W engines, 119 built.
AT-29C
T-29C modified for airways checking duties, redesignated ET-29C in 1962.
ET-29C
AT-29C redesignated.
VT-29C
T-29C converted for staff transport.
T-29D
Bombardier training version of the T-29C with room for six students, 93 built.
ET-29D
Airways checking conversion of the T-29D.
VT-29D
Staff transport conversion of the T-29D.
XT-29E
Proposed turboprop version of T-29B, none built.
YT-32
Proposed bomber training version with transparent nose, none built.

Operators

 Paraguay
 United States

On display

Source: Aeroweb[7]
HC-131A (Search and Rescue)
C-131A
C-131B
C-131D
C-131F
  • National Museum of Naval Aviation, NAS Pensacola, Florida; BuNo 141015
T-29A

Strategic air and Space Museum in Ashland, NE, located near Offutt AFB. AF Ser. No. 50-0190

T-29C

Specifications (C-131B)

Data from United States Military Aircraft since 1909[8]

General characteristics
  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 48 passengers
  • Length: 79 ft 2 in (24.14 m)
  • Wingspan: 105 ft 4 in (32.11 m)
  • Height: 28 ft 2 in (8.59 m)
  • Wing area: 920 ft² (85.5 m²)
  • Empty weight: 29,248 lb (13,294 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 47,000 lb (21,363 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99 "Double Wasp" 18 cylinder air cooled radial engines, 2,500 hp (1,865 kW) each

Performance

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

Notes
Bibliography
  • Andrade, John. Militair 1982. London: Aviation Press Limited, 1982. ISBN 0 907898 01 7
  • Frawley, Gerald. "Convair CV-540, 580, 600, 640 & CV5800", The International Directory of Civil Aircraft 1997/98. Fyshwick ACT: Aerospace Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-875671-26-9.
  • Gradidge, Jennifer. The Convairliners Story. Tonbridge, Kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1997. ISBN 0-85130-243-2.
  • Swanborough, F. G. and Peter M. Bowers. United States Military Aircraft since 1909. London: Punam, 1963.
  • Wegg, John. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors. London: Putnam, 1990. ISBN 0-85177-833-X.

External links

  • National Air and Space Museum
  • National Museum of the United States Air Force
  • March Field Air Museum
  • C-131 Samaritan - GlobalSecurity.org
  • C-131 Samaritan - The Aviation Zone
  • Gunships - The Aviation Zone
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