This Day in Aviation History
October 5th, 1951
First flight of the Convair CV-340.
The Convair CV-240 is an American airliner produced by Convair from 1947 to 1954, initially as a possible replacement of the ubiquitous Douglas DC-3. Featuring a more modern design with cabin pressurization, the 240 series was able to make some inroads as a commercial airliner and also had a long development cycle which resulted in a number of civil and military variants. Although reduced in numbers through attrition, the “Convairliners” in various forms continue to fly into the 21st century.
The design began life in a requirement by American Airlines for an airliner to replace its Douglas DC-3s. Convair’s original design, the unpressurised Model 110 was a twin-engined low-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, with 30 seats. It was powered by Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engines and had a tricycle landing gear and a ventral airstair for passenger boarding. The prototype Model 110, registration NX90653 first flew on July 8, 1946. By this time, American had changed their requirements to require pressurization and deemed the design too small. The first prototype was used by Convair for development work for the 240 series before being broken up in 1947.
A 1949-built Convair 240 of Swiss Air Lines at Manchester, England, in March 1950.
To meet the requirements of airlines for a pressurized airliner Convair produced a revised design, the Model 240. This had a longer but thinner fuselage than the Model 110, accommodating 40 passengers in the first pressurized twin-engined airliner. The 240 first flew on March 16, 1947.
The Model 240 was followed by the Model 340 that had a longer fuselage, longer-span wings and more powerful engines. The 340 first flew on October 5, 1951. In 1954, in an attempt to compete with turboprop-powered airliners like the Vickers Viscount, Convair produced the Model 440 Metropolitan, with more streamlined cowlings, new engine exhausts and better soundproofing for the cabin. As the “Super 240” evolved into the CV-340 and CV-440, the limit of piston-engine performance was reached, and future development centered on conversion to turboprop power.
Wikipedia, Convair CV-240 family: http://gstv.us/1KV98x0
YouTube, Fresh Air-Jet One Express Convair 340 engine start: http://gstv.us/1KV9fZq
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Photo from: http://gstv.us/1KV9qUE
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