History of the C-131 Samaritan
The Convair C-131 Samaritan was an American military transport produced from 1954 to 1956 by Convair. It is the military version of the Convair CV-240.
The plane's design began life from a production requirement by American Airlines for a pressurized airliner to replace the Douglas DC-3.
Convair C-131B Samaritan
Convair's original design had two engines and 40 seats, and thus it was designated the CV-240. The first CV-240 flew in March of 1947, and production aircraft were first delivered to American in February of 1948.
Later, Convair introduced the model 340 and 440, stretched and improved versions of the model 240. 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 CV-240 model, and was delivered to the USAF in 1954.
The C-131A had large loading doors for stretchers or cargo and was equipped to accommodate 27 stretchers or 37 sitting casualties. In later years, some Samaritans were converted to be used as VIP staff transports under the designation VC-131H.
It was the first pressurized, twin engine transport ordered by the Military Air Transport Service. The T-29 "Flying Classroom" version of this aircraft filled the back of the plane with student stations and was used to train bombardiers, navigators and electronic warfare officers.
Nearly 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.
Specifications of the C-131 Samaritan
Convair C-131D Samaritan, S/N 55-0300, in Ogden, Utah
Wing Span: 105'4"
Maximum Speed: 293 M.P.H. at Sea Level
Service Ceiling: 30,000 Ft.
Range: 1,800 Miles
Crew/Passengers: 3 crew, 36 passengers
Engines: 2 x 2, 500 H.P. Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines
C-131 Samaritan Photos by the Author
Convair C-131D Samaritan, S/N 55-0300
C-131A Samaritan of the United States Coast Guard in Pueblo, CO
Convair C-131D Samaritan, 50292, of the U.S. Air Force, at the gate of Ellsworth AFB
Convair C-131D Samaritan, of the U.S. Air Force, at the March Field Air Museum in California
Convair C-131 Samaritan, S/N 72552, at Davis-Monthan AFB AMARG