Consolidated 39 Liberator Liner
The Model 39 Liberator Liner was derived from the B-24 Liberator bomber via the PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol bomber and RY-3 Liberator Express transport. The design Model 39 started in early 1943.It retained the basic wing, landing gear, empennage, and engine nacelles of the Privateer; however, the fuselage was completely redesigned to carry 48 passengers in a day-time configuration or 24 at night. Like the Privateer, the Liberator Liner had four 1,350hp (1,000kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp engines.
After the merger of Consolidated and Vultee the type was continued as the Convair Model 104. Convair was the trade name of Consolidated Vultee after the 1943 merger.
The US Navy became interested and signed a letter of intent for 253 aircraft in March 1944. The first prototype NX30039 (c/n 1) was flown for the first time on 15 April 1944 piloted by Phil Prophett and his crew. Due to design deficiencies the Navy cancelled its order but Convair received permission to purchase and complete the second prototype in Navy colours. Thus the second aircraft was completed as the Convair 104 XR2Y-1 and fitted with R-1830-65 engines NX3939 (c/n 2) and made it first flight on 29 September 1944. Eventually this aircraft was given the US Navy registration 09803.
American Airlines operated the first aircraft, named City of Salinas (top), with the support of Convair for three months transporting fresh fruits between Salinas and El Centro, California and cities in the east like Boston and New York. A cargo of 18,500 lb (8,392 kg) could be loaded straight from flat trucks into the aircraft through large fuselage doors.
The Liberator Liner never really had a chance because of the many Douglas C-54s that were about to be released for civilian use. Both were scrapped late in 1945 after it became obvious that the design had no potential.
Engines: 4 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp,1,350hp (1,000kW).
Cruise: 240mph (385km/h).
Max range: 4,000ml (6,400km).
Payload: 12,000 lb+