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Convair R3Y Tradewind

 

Conv-R3Y-01

 

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.

 

 

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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.

 

Conv-Trade
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.

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R3Y
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
Crew: 5
Passenger Capacity: 80 or 24 ton.

 

R3Y-1
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.

 

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