Chicagoland/O'Hare Chapter 142

                             Air Force Association



  Convair XC-99

Convair XC-99 Model > National Museum of the US Air Force

The Convair XC-99, a transport version of the Convair B-36 bomber, made its first flight in November 1947. Designed to carry 400 troops, 335 litter patients, or 100,000 pounds of cargo, the double-decked XC-99 was powered by six 3,500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-41 pusher-type engines turning 19-foot reversible-pitch propellers. With a wingspan of 230 feet and a length of 185 feet, the XC-99 had a design gross weight of 320,000 pounds.

Incapable of being refueled in mid-air, the XC-99 had a maximum range of about 8,000 miles with a reduced load. The aircraft required a five-man crew and an equal number of relief crew members for long flights. If placed into production, the XC-99 would have been used to support the Strategic Air Command, but the U.S. Air Force determined that it had no need for such a large cargo aircraft at that time.

Convair briefly considered building a commercial version of the plane, but in the end, Convair built only one XC-99. That aircraft logged more than 7,400 hours of flying time and moved more than 60 million pounds of cargo before making its final flight on March 19, 1957.