CONVAIR C-131H SAMARITAN

USAF SERIAL NUMBER 55-4757

This military version of the Convair 340 airliner was used to transport personnel, staff transportation and support missions at Duluth by the Minnesota Air National Guard’s 148th Fighter Group during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Convair CV-240/340/440 series design began life in a production requirement by American Airlines for a pressurized airliner to replace the classic Douglas DC-3. Convairs original design had two engines and 40 seats thus it was designated the CV-240.

The Convair 240/340/440 series was used by the USAF for medical evacuation, VIP transport and light cargo. The first model Samaritan, the C-131A, was derived from the CV-240 model and was delivered to the USAF in 1954. An earlier trainer model designated the T-29 “Flying Classroom” was also based on the CV-240 and was used to instruct USAF navigators for all USAF aircraft and later was also used for aeromedical evacuation. There were a total of 472 T-29/C-131 aircraft built for the USAF.

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Description

Cost: $316,000
Crew: 4
Passengers: Up To 44
Length: 74 Feet, 8 Inches (CV-240)
Wingspan: 91 Feet, 9 Inches (CV-240)
Height: 26 Feet, 11 Inches (CV-240)
Engines: 2 Pratt and Whitney R-2800 “Double Wasp” 18 cylinder air cooled radial engines, 2,100 HP each
Maximum Speed: 315 MPH
Range: 1,200 Miles
Service Ceiling: 16,000 Feet

Interesting Facts

The museums C-131 last flew with the 103rd Fighter Wing, the “Flying Yankees”, Bradley ANGB, East Granby, CT. It is also know that this aircraft was once fitted for aeromedical evacuation with some of the fittings still mounted in the passenger compartment and a red cross painted on the tail. A C-131B, serial number 53-7820, was the first aircraft used as a flying gunship testbed in mid 1963 in a program known as “Project Tailchaser” at Eglin AFB FL. The aircraft had a gunsight mounted in the pilots side window and a General Electric SUU-11A/A 7.62 mm Gatling style Minigun installed in the passenger compartment, all tests were successful.