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T-29 Flying Classroom

History of the T-29 Flying Classroom

Convair T-29B Flying Classroom, 517906, of the U.S. Navy
Convair T-29B Flying Classroom, 517906, of the U.S. Navy, on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson, AZ

The T-29 "Flying Classroom" was based on the Convair 240 and was used to instruct USAF navigators for all USAF aircraft, and those US Naval Flight Officers selected to fly land-based naval aircraft.

It was essentially the same aircraft as the Convair C-131 Samaritan, an American military transport plane produced from 1954 to 1956 by Convair. It is the military version of the Convair CV-240.

The T-29A made its initial flight in September of 1949 at Lindburg Field in San Diego. The cabin had fourteen fully-equipped stations for students or instructors and one radio-operator’s station. Each student had access to a map table, Loran scope, altimeter, and radio compass panel.

While flying in the airplane, students learned to navigate using dead reckoning map reading, radio, radar, low level and over-water techniques and procedures. In the roof of the fuselage were four astrodomes through which students could take sights with sextants.

The production order for 48 unpressurized T-29A models followed the flight. There were 105 T-29B and 119 T-29C aircraft models built, all with pressurized fuselages. There were later 93 T-29D models built.

The T-29 was based at Ellington AFB, Harlingen AFB and James Connally AFB, all in Texas and at Mather AFB, CA.

The plane's design began life from a production requirement by American Airlines for a pressurized airliner to replace the 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 in March of 1947, and production aircraft were first delivered to American Airlines in February of 1948.

The T-29 was replaced by the Boeing T-43 jet aircraft, a version of the 737-200, in 1973 and 1974.

Specifications of the T-29 Flying Classroom

Wing Span: 105'4"
Length: 79'2"
Height: 27'3"
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

Convair T-29 Photographs from the Airplanes Online Archives

Convair T-29C Flying Classroom, S/N 52119, at Hill AFB near Salt Lake City
Convair T-29C Flying Classroom, S/N 52119
Convair T-29C Flying Classroom, S/N 52119
Convair T-29C Flying Classroom, S/N 52119
Convair T-29C Flying Classroom of the Air Training Command
Convair T-29C Flying Classroom, S/N 52119