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Northrop N-23 Pioneer / C-125 Raider


N-23 Pioneer

Northrop’s postwar model was intended for the less developed parts of the world where airline operations frequently involved short, unprepared runways. The Pioneer was a 36-passenger (or a combination of fewer passengers but more cargo) design with three 800hp (600kW) Wright R-957 C7BA Cyclone engines and a fixed, conventional landing gear. The prototype made its first flight from Hawthorne, California, on December 21, 1946.

Full-span flaps and retractable ailerons, which had been successfully tested on the P-61 Black Widow, enabled the Pioneer to takeoff at its maximum weight of 25,000lb (11,340kg) in less than 400ft (120m) and to land in 600ft (180m). Dual main landing gear wheels could be installed for operation from soft fields. The cruising speed was only 150mph (240km/h), but that was considered sufficient for the short stages on which the Pioneer would operate. After about a year of test flying, the Pioneer was lost when a make-shift dorsal fin failed during yaw tests. By that time, the Pioneer could not compete with the inexpensive military-surplus transports, even with its outstanding short-field performance. Although the Pioneer program was terminated, the basic design evolved into the larger Northrop C-125 Raider for the USAF. 23 were built with 894kW Wright R-1820-99 engines: 13 as C-125A assault transports and ten as C-125B Arctic rescue aircraft.

N-23 Pioneer

Engines: three 800hp (600kW) Wright R-957 C7BA Cyclone
Maximum take-off weight: 25,000lb (11,340kg)
TO dist: 400ft (120m)
Landing dist: 600ft (180m)
Cruising speed: 150mph (240km/h)
Capacity: 36-passenger

C-125A Raider

Engines: 3 x 894kW Wright R-1820-99 engines

C-125B Raider

Engines: 3 x 894kW Wright R-1820-99 engines



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