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C-131F Samaritan VR-48 in flight 1983

A USN C-131F Samaritan in flight off the coast of Florida.

The Convair C-131 Samaritan was a military transport version of the Convair CV-240 airliner. It was operated by the US Armed Forces from 1950 to 1990.

HistoryEdit

The United States military began to operate CV-240s in 1950, under the designation T-29. These were used to train Air Force and Navy pilots in navigation, and were used until the 1970s, when they were replaced by the more modern T-43 . CV-240s were also used as transports under the name Samaritan until purpose-built versions began to be delivered in 1954. These were designated C-131, and saw service with the Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard. Several were given to NASA during the Space Race to use as "Vomit Comets", or zero-gravity training aircraft for astronauts. The C-131 was also the first aircraft to be fitted as a gunship, albeit only experimentally. 

The Samaritan started being phased out of service in the 1970s, first by the Air Force. These were replaced with C-9 Nightingales. The Coast Guard retired it in 1983, while the Navy continued to operate it until 1990, by which time most had been replaced with C-12 Hurons and C-130 Hercules.

SpecificationsEdit

  • Powerplant: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99 Double Wasp radial engines
  • Top speed: 293 mph
  • Range: 450 miles
  • Ceiling: 24,500 ft
  • Crew: 4
  • Capacity: 48 passengers
  • Empty weight: 29,248 lbs
  • Length: 79 ft 2 in
  • Wingspan: 105 ft 4 in
  • Height: 28 ft 2 in

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