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Aviation Traders Ltd ATL.98 Carvair


At Laker’s suggestion, A. C. Leftley, chief designer of Aviation Traders, designed a nose-loading car ferry conversion of the Douglas DC-4/C-54 after investigating a variety of other types as potential car ferries. With second-hand DC-4s and C-54s available for £40,000 and conversion costs of around £150,000 the Carvair (Car-via-air) was significantly cheaper than any new design. A new bulbous nose was fitted, with a much -raised cockpit. All the controls, most of which were mechanical, had to be re-routed from the new flight deck, but the ATL-98 Carvair, as it came to be known, proved easy to fly, and the bulbous nose reduced its speed by only four knots. The tail surfaces were increased in size to match those of the DC-7. DC-6 brakes were fitted to cope with the higher all-up weight of the Carvair, which could carry five full-size saloon cars and 23 passengers. The prototype Carvair was based on an Air Charter DC-4 and first flew on 21 June 1961. Conversions of DC-4s lasted for eight years, from 1960 to 1968, and they continued to fly for British Air Ferries until 1 January 1977. Twenty-one Carvairs were eventually produced.


Nationwide Air, Nelson, New Zealand, circa 1979


Powerplant: 4 x Pratt & Whitney R2000-7M2, 1450 shp take-off power 2700 rpm
Props: Hamilton Standard 3 blade 13 ft 1 in diameter
Span, 117 ft 6 in
Length, 102 ft 7 in
Height, 29 ft 10 in
Gross wing area, 1 462 sq.ft
Max. usable floor area, 665 sq.ft
Max. usable cabin volume, 4 630 cu.ft
Max. cabin length, 80 ft 2 in
Max. width, 9 ft 8 in
Max. height 6 ft 9 in.
Accommodation: 22 passengers in rear cabin or all-passenger version 85.
Basic operational, 42,465 lb
Total fuel, 17 208 lb
Max. take-off; 73 800 lb
Max. landing weight: 64,170 lb
Max. payload (weight limited), 18,035 lb
Max. zero fuel, 60,500 lb
Power loading (max. take-off weight), 12.7 lb/shp
Wing loading (max. take-off weight), 50.5 lb/sq.ft
Wing loading (max. landing weight) 43.9 lb/sq.ft
High-speed cruise, 191 kt. at 10,000 ft
Long-range -cruise, 175 kt. at 10,000 ft
Approach speed, 93 kt
Balanced field length, ISA at sea level, 4,200 ft
Landing field length, ISA at sea level, 4,470 ft
Range with no reserves, max. fuel, 14,867 lb payload, 3000 nm





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