A species of radial engined “Warbird” which is becoming increasingly rare is the Convair CV-240, 340 440 series of medium transports and their military derivations. Warbirds Online was recently at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS Aviation Museum) at Albion Park NSW to view Convair CV-440, ZS-ARV. She arrived on the 21 August 2016 after a flight lasting 12 days from Wonderboom, South Africa via Kruger (South Africa), Beira (Mozambique), Victoria (Seychelles), Mattala (Sri Lanka), Johor Bahru (Malaysia), then on to Denpasar (Indonesia). The aircraft arrived in Australia at Darwin NT and from there Mt Isa Qld and Dubbo NSW and then directly to Albion Park having flown over the HARS base at Parkes NSW.
The aircraft is now finished in a magnificent Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) style scheme and is in beautiful condition. She is undergoing maintenance and checks at the HARS maintenance hangar before commencing regular airshow appearances. The first public outing for the Convair will be at Avalon 2017 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defense Exposition which is on from 28th February to the 5th of March 2017. The aircraft will accompany the HARS Lockheed Constellation and other HARS aircraft at the event and given its spectacular appearance is sure to be a real crowd pleaser.
The big Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA3 Double Wasp engines certainly sound fantastic and the aircraft will make a great addition to the HARS display fleet. HARS has recently also acquired operational oversight of TAA’s first aircraft, DC-3, VH-AES, Hawdon, so the sight and sound of these two aircraft in the air together will make for some great displays.
The RAAF operated two of these aircraft, A96-313 CV-440-78 and A96-353 also a CV-440-78 between 1956 and 1968 as Transport and VIP aircraft and they were very popular with the crews and the Politicians who travelled on them. One RAAF aircraft is thought to survive in Puerto Rico stored at San Juan in a dirty condition as of 2008.
Trans Australia Airlines operated the earlier CV-240 from 1948 until 1959; TAA also operated the Airlines of New South Wales CV-440. Other Australian users of the type were Airlines of South Australia – CV-440 and Ansett Airlines CV-340 and CV-440
The HARS particular Convair was constructed as a CV340-67 version in 1954 serial No 228 and USA civil registered as N8453H, however was almost immediately taken on strength by the US Air Force as a VC-131D Metropolitan Military serial 54-2820 in early 1955.The aircraft then went on to serve the USAF for 37 years before civilian disposal becoming N43895 in 1992 it moved to Bolivia with Lineas Aéreas Canedo in Bolivia as CP-2237.
In 2001 the aircraft was acquired by South Africa’s Rovos Air and carried tourists throughout South Africa , the interior is finished in a sumptuous leather and polished wood from this time in South Africa.
It is one of the few remaining CV-440s to still retain its radial engines, most others having been re-engined with T56 turboprops. Several Conair’s remain in service in New Zealand and other places, mainly turboprop re engine versions.
Convair CV-240 Specifications
Data from General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors
- Crew: 2 or 3 flight deck crew
- Capacity: 40
- Length: 74 ft 8 in (22.76 m)
- Wingspan: 91 ft 9 in (27.97 m)
- Height: 26 ft 11 in (8.20 m)
- Wing area: 817 sq ft (75.9 m2)
- Empty weight: 25,445 lb (11,542 kg) (revised 29,500 lb (13,381 kg))
- Gross weight: 40,500 lb (18,370 kg) (revised 42,500 lb (19,278 kg))
- Fuel capacity: 1,000 US gal (3,785.41 l) – 1,550 US gal (5,867.39 l)
- Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CA3 Double Wasp / CA15 / CA18 / CB3 or CB16 18-cyl air-cooled radial engines, 2,400 hp (1,800 kW) each
- Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard or Curtiss
- Maximum speed: 315 mph (507 km/h; 274 kn)
- Cruise speed: 280 mph (243 kn; 451 km/h) (maximum)
- Range: 1,200 mi (1,043 nmi; 1,931 km)
- Service ceiling: 16,000 ft (4,877 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,520 ft/min (7.7 m/s)
© John Parker 2017