Convair R3Y Tradewind
Shortly after Reuben Fleet sold his interest in Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in March 1943and the company was reorganised as Consolidated Vultee (Convair), the US Navy expressed interest in a new long-range multi-role flying-boat.
Convair's proposal was for an aircraft powered by four turboprop engines, was the subject of a contract for two prototypes, awarded on 27 May 1946. Designated XP5Y-1, the new aircraft featured a slim fuselage for an aircraft of this class with a length-to-beam ratio of 10 to 1. it was powered by four Allison T40-A4 turboprops, each driving two contra-rotating, reversable propellers through a common gearbox. The type's main role was anti-submarine warfare, and it was to have been fitted with advanced radar, ECM and MAD equipment in addition to carrying a heavy load of bombs, mines, rockets and torpedoes. The first aircraft was flown from San Diego on 18 April 1950, and in August the type set a turboprop endurance record of 8 hours 6 minutes. August was an eventful month for the XP5Y-1 as the US Navy decided to discontinue its development for maritime patrol, but to persevere with the basic design for use as a passenger and cargo aircraft.
Convair R3Y-1 Tradewind
Work continued, despite the loss of an XP5Y-1 in a non-fatal crash off San Diego in 15 July 1953 and the first R3Y-1 Tradewind flew on 25 February 1954. Major changes included the deletion of all armament and of tailplane dihedral, the addition of a 3.05m wide port-side cargo hatch aft of the wing and the provision of redesigned engine nacelles to accept the improved T40-A-10 engines. Cabin sound-proofing and air-conditioning were installed and pressurised accommodation provided for up to 103 passengers or, in medevac configuration, for 72 stretcher cases and 12 attendants; cargo payload was 24.4 tonnes (24 tons).
The R3Y-1 was a straight transport version, the R3Y-2 was the assault transport version with the hinged nose. It could also refuel jets in flight using two or four wing pods. The R3Y-2 had a nose loading door and integral hydraulic ramps. The opening door blocked the pilots' forward view during beach operations.
The R3Y-1 's performance was demonstrated on 24 February 1955 when one of the five aircraft built flew coast-to-coast at an average speed of 649km/h on delivery to the Navy Test Center at Patuxent River, Maryland. Similarly, on 18 October a 6 hour 45 minute record flight at an average 579km/h was accomplished between Honolulu and NAS Alameda, California. US Navy transport squadron VR-2 received the first of its mixed fleet of R3Y-1 and R3Y-2 flying-boats on 31 March 1956, but financial considerations and continuing problems with the engine/propeller combination, culminating in two in-flight separations of propellers and gearbox from an engine (on 10 May 1957 and on 2 January 1958), led to a curtailment of Tradewind operations. Squadron strength was first cut to two R3Y-1s and two R3Y-2s and the unit was finally disbanded on 16 April 1958.
Engines: 4 x Allison T40-A-10 turboprops, 4362kW, 5500 shp
Max take-off weight: 74843-79379 kg / 165001 - 175002 lb
Payload: 21750kg / 47951 lb
Wingspan: 44.42 m / 145 ft 9 in
Length: 42.57 m / 139 ft 8 in
Height: 13.67 m / 44 ft 10 in
Max. speed: 580 km/h / 360 mph
Cruise speed: 480 km/h / 298 mph
Range w/max.fuel: 6437 km / 4000 miles
Passenger Capacity: 80 or 24 ton.
Engines: 4x 5,500 h.p. Allison T40-A-4 coupled turboprops.
Wingspan: 145 ft
Length: 142 ft. 6 in
Loaded weight: 160,000 lb
Max. speed: 392 mph
Range: 4,500 miles at 300 mph
Accommodation: 103 troops, 92 stretchers and 12 attendants or 24 tons of cargo.