C-131 Samaritan

C-131 Samaritan

infobox Aircraft
name = C-131 Samaritan
type = Military transport
manufacturer = Convair

caption = Convair C-131D Samaritan
designer =
first flight = avyear|1949
introduced = avyear|1950
retired =1990
produced =
primary user = United States Air Force
more users = United States Navy Paraguayan Air Force
number built =
status =
unit cost =
developed from = Convair 240
variants with their own articles =

The Convair C-131 Samaritan was an American military transport produced from 1954 to 1956.


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 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, and Trans Australia Airlines.

Military variants

The CV-240/340/440 series was used by the United States Air Force for medical evacuation and VIP transport and was designated as C-131 Samaritan. The first model Samaritan, the C-131A, was derived from the 240 model, and was delivered to the USAF in 1954. A trainer model, designated the T-29, was also based on the Convair 240 to instruct navigators and radio operators. The T-29 was eventually replaced by the T-43. A planned bomber training version of the T-29 (designated T-32) was never built. The 340 model was used for most C-131Ds.

The United States Navy used the Samaritan as the R4Y. Nearly all of the C-131s left the active inventory in the late 1970s, but Air National Guard and Navy units operated a few until 1990. The C-131 was eventually replaced by the C-9 Nightingale.

A Samaritan was the first aircraft used as a flying gunship testbed in mid-1963, in a program known as Project Tailchaser. A C-131B (#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.


;C-131A:United States Air Force version of the Model 240 with seats for 37 passengers, 26 built.;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, 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,;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.


*Paraguayan Air Force operated one former USAF Convair C-131D;USA
*United States Air Force operated T-29 and C-131 aircraft.
*United States Navy operated R4Y and C-131 aircraft.
*United States Coast Guard

pecifications (240)

aircraft specifications
plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop
payload main=
payload alt=
length main= 74 ft 8 in
length alt= 22.8 m
span main= 91 ft 9 in
span alt= 28 m
height main= 26 ft 11 in
height alt= 8.20 m
area main= 817 ft²
area alt= 75.9 m²
empty weight main= 25,445 lb
empty weight alt= 11,540 kg
loaded weight main=
loaded weight alt=
useful load main=
useful load alt=
max takeoff weight main= 42,500 lb
max takeoff weight alt= 19,280 kg
more general=
engine (prop)= Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp"
type of prop=18 cylinder air cooled radial engines
number of props=2
power main= 2,100 hp
power alt= 1,567 kW
power original=
max speed main=315 mph
max speed alt= 507 km/h
cruise speed main= 280 mph
cruise speed alt=451 km/h
stall speed main=
stall speed alt=
never exceed speed main=
never exceed speed alt=
range main= 1,200 mi
range alt=1,930 km
ceiling main= 16,000 ft
ceiling alt= 4,880 m
climb rate main= 1,520 ft/min
climb rate alt= 463 m/min
loading main=
loading alt=
power/mass main=
power/mass alt=
more performance=


* [http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/convair_240.htm Convair 240] - National Air and Space Museum
* [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=783 C-131 Samaritan factsheet] - National Museum of the United States Air Force
* [http://www.marchfield.org/c131d.htm C-131D Samaritan] - March Field Air Museum
* [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/c-131.htm C-131 Samaritan] - GlobalSecurity.org
* [http://www.theaviationzone.com/factsheets/c131.asp C-131 Samaritan] - The Aviation Zone
* [http://www.theaviationzone.com/factsheets/gunships.asp Gunships] - The Aviation Zone

ee also

*Convair 240
*CC-109 Cosmopolitan
similar aircraft=
*Airspeed Ambassador
*Vickers VC.1 Viking
*List of military aircraft of the United States
*List of military aircraft of the United States (naval)
*List of military transport aircraft
see also=

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