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Convair XC-99 — making the B-36 Peacemaker small

23 October 2013

Convair XC-99 — making the B-36 Peacemaker small

Convair XC-99 — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

Convair XC-99 in flight, note the two decks by the two rows of fuselage ports — USAF photo

As large as the Convair B-36 Peacemaker was there was the XC-99 (see bottom image, below) which shared the wing, engines and landing gear with its B-36 relative. Only one example was built but it flew a decade in the U.S. Air Force routinely crossing the continent as well as across the Atlantic. Back in the days before in-flight refueling big was the way to go for carrying large loads great distances — and the XC-99 could do both with ease. The XC-99, no name was ever assigned, could be relied upon to carry 100,000 pounds (~45,500kg) and once hauled 60,000 pounds (~27,300kg) 12,000 miles (19,200km) stopping in Bermuda and the Azores.

Convair XC-99 — USAF photo

Convair XC-99 on display at an exhibition, note how the cockpit window has been opened and the addition of the nose radome for weather radar — USAF photo

Convair XC-99 exploded view drawing — USAF photo

Convair XC-99 exploded view drawing, note the ventral cargo hatches, two decks, flight deck and crew rest area — USAF photo

XC-99 tail —  San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

XC-99 tail, note the twp service personnel next to the open access hatch for scale — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive photo

The aircraft was loaded via belly clamshell cargo doors aft or a sliding ventral cargo door forward with internal electric hoists doing the lifting. Two cargo decks helped with the load distribution as well as making the most efficient use of the immense fuselage volume. The long flights required a rest crew and a crew rest area with bunks was located just aft of the flight deck.

Convair B-36 Peacemaker in formation with its cousin XC-99 — USAF photo

Convair B-36 Peacemaker in formation with its cousin XC-99. Doesn’t the B-36 look small in comparison? — USAF photo

The restoration unit of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force has the XC-99 though in pieces and the sequestration appears to have delayed the work. We can hope to someday see the XC-99 exhibited with the B-36 already on display — and won’t that be a sight, seeing the B-36 look smaller!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 October 2013 02:41

    I remember I had a Revell model in my teenager days …

  2. Glen Towler permalink
    24 October 2013 02:08

    Wow I would love to see that aircraft rebuilt that must be a huge job

  3. 6 November 2013 01:42

    This will be fantastic to see restored some day. I have now seen the 4 remaining B-36 that are currently on display (hope to see the prototype some day) and I would love to see this XC-99!

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