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Oct 22, 2021, 01:12 AM
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Obscure Airplane Highlight of the Day : Convair XC-99

Convair XC-99: Pretty much the opposite end of the spektrum from the Monsted-Vincent MV-1 Starflight, the XC-99 was an example of adapting bomber designs for cargo use. This time well after the war.

The XC-99 was developed in 1947 using the parts bin of the B-36 Peacemaker. The XC-99 was actually the largest piston landplane ever built. The 230ft long wing and tail feathers were directly borrowed from the B-36 and were bolted to an all new fuselage. It was designed to carry 100,000lbs of cargo or up to 400 troops on itís two decks.The 135,000lb (empty) airplane was powered by six 3,500hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360s in pusher configuration.

The XC-99 had one of the wildest landing gears of any airplane ever. Itís single main tires were almost 10 feet tall. They proved to be problematic and were eventually replaced with the same truck style system that the later B-36s had.

The one and only XC-99 was actually drawn up long before the B-36 even flew. With delays in the B-36 project the XC-99 got pushed back several years and didnít fly until the end of 1947. The military decided that they didnít have any use for such a big airplane but they continued to use the prototype for moving pieces of the B-36. It flew until 1957 mostly inside the US.

Amazingly, the XC-99 actually still exists. It was flown to Kelly AFB in 1957 and parked for display. It stayed there until the base was closed and in 2008 it was moved in pieces to the Air Force museum. Currently it is in storage in pieces in Tucson waiting for funding for the restoration and a building to store it in.
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Oct 22, 2021, 04:32 PM
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That thing is nuts.
Dec 03, 2021, 04:33 PM
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Passed by it many times when I was in Basic in 1975 and OTS in 1980. Always wanted to get out and take a walk around it, but I was always 'on the way' somewhere...usually with a screaming sergeant!


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