Convair Aircraft

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

Convair C-131 Samaritan

Design and development

The Convair C-131 Samaritan was an American twin-engined military transport produced from 1954 to 1956 by Convair. It was the military version of the Convair CV-240 family of airliners

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 CV-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, Sabena, Swissair and Trans Australia Airlines.



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early all of the C-131s left the active USAF inventory in the late 1970s, but the U.S. Coast Guard operated the aircraft until 1983, while the Air National Guard and U.S. Navy units operated additional C-131 airframes, primarily as Operational Support Aircraft (OSA) for Air National Guard flying wings and as naval air station "station aircraft" until 1990. The C-131 was primarily replaced by the C-9 Nightingale in regular USAF service, with the Air National Guard replacing their OSA with C-130 Hercules aircraft and the Navy with C-12 Hurons.


Convair Aircraft
Convair C-131 Samaritan

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 (AF Ser. No. 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 overland tests were successful.

Convair C-131 Samaritan: Specifications

  • History

    Role Military transport

    Manufacturer Convair

    First flight 22 September 1949Introduction 1950; Retired 1990

    Primary users United States Air Force

    United States Navy

    Number built 512

    Developed from Convair CV-240

  • General info

    Crew: four; Capacity: 48 passengers

    Length: 79 ft 2 in (24.14 m); Height: 28 ft 2 in (8.59 m)

    Wingspan: 105 ft 4 in (32.11 m)

    Empty weight: 29,248 lb (13,294 kg)

    Max. takeoff weight: 47,000 lb (21,363 kg)

    Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99 "Double Wasp" 18 cylinder air cooled radial engines, 2,500 hp (1,865 kW) each

  • Performance


    Maximum speed: 293 mph (255 knots, 472 km/h)

    Cruise speed: 254 mph (221 knots, 409 km/h)

    Range: 450 mi (391 nmi, 725 km)

    Service ceiling: 24,500 ft (7,470 m)

Convair C-131 Samaritan R4Y / T-29



The CV-240/340/440 series was used by the United States Air Force (USAF) for medical evacuation and VIP transport and was designated as C-131 Samaritan. The first model Samaritan, the C-131A, was derived from the CV-240 model, and was delivered to the USAF in 1954.


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