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How Does A CV-580 Fly?  
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 5120 times:

Does anyone here now, or at one time, fly, or flew the Convair CV-580? If so, what were it's flying characteristics like? It's controls were manual right, or were they powered? Did it have two or three crew members?


14 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4945 times:

All manual controls...plan on 315knots true airspeed, and very good engine-out performance. But pilot comforts....ah well, rather cold in the winter, hot in the summer, rather like the CV440. But hey....not bad at all.

User currently offlineAvt007 From Canada, joined Jul 2000, 2132 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 4868 times:

With grace and beauty, and a big trail of smoke behind it!

User currently offlineDe727ups From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 814 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

I have a type rating in the 600/640. It has a two man crew. The 640 had the same airframe as the 580 but only 3000 hp wet instead of the 580's 4000 hp...if memory serves me correctly. I remember many a night in the summer having to circle the Las Vegas valley because we couldn't get more than 500 feet per minute climb rate out of it. A couple of wide turns and we would be high enough to head for the glow of LA. The controllers were cooperative and must have been laughing their heads off. The Convair was heavy in the ailerons but fairly light in pitch....like driving a truck. We used the actual aircraft for training and the single engine performance was fine with no freight....glad we never lost one where we were heavy. Actually, I did lose one on final to LAX early one morning...but that's another story. The Convair is a great plane and you still see a few around. Glad I got a chance to fly one before I went to the 727....tomorrows Convair.

User currently offlineATA L1011 From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1428 posts, RR: 6
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4841 times:

I love the Convair with those whistling sounding, smoking Allisons. Airliners magazine did an article on flying the Convair 580 a few years ago, I do remeber them saying it was Robust and built like a tank!

Treat others as you expect to be treated!
User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 4836 times:

The airframe...built like a tank, you bet. In 1966 UAL landed a CV440 in a carrot field north of LosAngeles, due to a fuel starvation problem (pilot induced) and the aeroplane was flown OUT several days later, with a ferry permit. Tough bird!

User currently offlineOldman From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (13 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 4772 times:

Flew it for 10 years, first airplane that I flew that never needed brakes and there was not much concern on braking action reports. Regards

User currently offlineGeotrash From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 326 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 7 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4724 times:

Era Aviation in Alaska still flies the Convair 580 in revenue passenger service. I was standing on the gravel ramp outside the 'terminal' at Iliamna one foggy morning, and we heard the daily Convair circling overhead. I'll never forget the shock of seeing that bird come out of the fog just a few feet (less than 20) off the runway, and touch down for a perfect landing. None of us standing there could believe our eyes. Helluva pilot!!


User currently offlineApathoid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (13 years 7 months 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 4700 times:

Fantastic aircraft. The ones I worked on were pushing 160,000 cycles and still flying passengers. Very comfortable cabin...lots of room and surprisingly quiet. Old radios and limited pilot relief devices.. no gps.. .no autopilot...5 hour flight wears you out. Its very heavy on the controls, but flies well once you get used to it. Climbs on the barber pole. Great single engine performance. Kicks you in the ass on the empty legs. A bit of a trim hog, but that is a technique issue. I love that airplane.

User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1277 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 4645 times:
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I had opportunity for perhaps a dozen flights the North Central 580'a(and for a short time with interim Northwest tiles)it on several flights in the between 1982-87 Detroit-(I think sometimes with a stop in Lansing) -Green Bay-Iron Mountain(MI) and into Houghton Hancock, with many of these flights during winter months. A thundering wonderful beast with so much power compared to the Saab 340's they now use into CMX. While a bit cold and drafty on the inside, a very comforting spacious craft to ride in. I don't recall a lot of de-icing taking place on the Convairs. I had the feeling the Allison power plants were so powerful that the wings were almost secondary. Is this a fair statement? It seems that the Saab 340's nowdays are deiced if there are a few flakes on it, whereas the Convairs just thundered off up through heavy snow. Was the power of the Allison's such that the flight crew could just wave off de-icing? Any comments on this?

The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
User currently offlineDe727ups From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 814 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 4630 times:

Well....let's just say that, after a few accidents, deicing has become a much higher priority than it used to be. Not that I disagree that the Convair 580 has a lot of power....but it ain't going anywhere with a good bit of snow on the wings. Nowadays....we just always deice if there is any snow showing on the top of the wing.

User currently offlineCaptrig From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 4600 times:

Howdy. I read this question & joined up as a result. I'm a retired NWA, orignial NCA pilot. I started on the 580, flew it in both seats, with 1040 total hours in it. Doesn't sound like much. But there were a lot of experiences in it.
I was a light airplane pilot when hired. The first time I got my hands on the Bionic Buzsaw, I couldn't believe it. After I had flown DC-9 F/O and was bumped back to Convair Captain I really couldn't believe it. It takes muscle to fly this machine UNTIL you learn how to fly it... then it's easy... UNTIL things go to pieces, and you have to make corrections without the aid of trim. Like on a go around, or single engine cut. A tremendous amount of physical force is necessary. I had female co pilots.. (4) and none of them could do very well at it. One, wife of a Captain who was in her probationary year, announced to me that she would handle the ailerons and elevator while I would operate the power levers and rudders. We had a discussion as you may have guessed. She's flying 747-400 F/O... as a cruise pilot. She watches the airplane fly itself, etc at altitude. The job fits her perfectly.

The 580 had all the power you would ever want on her two Alison 501-D13 turboprop engines, produced 4,000 shaft horsepower each... (8,000 HP before the gearbox, prop and accessories). It took me about 8 months to become comfortable in it and only after becoming Captain did I really feel as if were an extension of my soul.

She would take a horrible pounding from weather, and withstand the most god awful landings you can imagine. But when you got to know her, she could be greased on nearly every time... landing with 300 HP per side, which was zero thust. Often you would not know you were on the ground until you felt a slight tug at your shoulder straps.

Our ceiling was FL 230, which seemed pretty high to me. She would get there right now! 4,000 FPM rate of climb was normal until passing 170 then she'd only do about 2,000 FPM. Contrast that to the 747 that waddles up to altitude often at 300 FPM... and sometimes just stops. Same with the 727 if it had the low power engines.

I don't know what you are looking for... feel free to reach me at Captrig@aol & I can give you more of what your looking for, maybe. I'm new to airliners.net, so I don't know IF you're getting this, or what.

I'm medically retired at age 48 (now 53) and yes I do miss flying the airplanes a lot. Diabetes. I do not miss the rat race at the airline that has gotten much worse since 9/11.

I'm looking at a print I have of one of the 580's in North Central livery over the Missouri river. Beautiful print. It shows an anvil topped thunderstorm in the background... the old 580 with it's C band radar did very well navigating around them, and occasionally in them. It seemed we were either flying in thunderstorm conditions or blizzards... nothing in bettween. I also have a shot out of my window (Left Seat) of the huge Alison engine & the awesome propeller. I can still hear it... it had a sort of whistle mixed in with the vibration from the engine that you would feel on the ground long before you heard it. Same engine as on the 130's you know... they have the Hamilton Standard props, while we had another, and I'll be damned if I can remember what it was. I'm in conact with one of the Captains I used to jerk gear for on a daily basis. He was THE BEST Convair pilot I ever flew with... so anything I don't remember, he will.

I flew the Convair, all DC-9's as F/O and Captain, (MD-80 is a DC-9 you know?) 727 as F/O & Captain, DC-10 F/O and 747 F/O. Started flying when I was 12.

So... anything more you're interested in??


Trig Johnston
Capt. NWA (Ret)
New River, Arizona

User currently offlineDripstick From Canada, joined Dec 2001, 2364 posts, RR: 19
Reply 12, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4582 times:

Thanks for taking the time to share that Captain.

I too love Convairs. Used to see many of them come through Hamilton, Ontario (YHM). CanAir Cargo, Kelowna Flightcraft, Zantop, Rhodes, and even Ford Motor Co. executive transport.

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Thanks again.

What's another word for thesaurus?
User currently offlineCV640 From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 952 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4570 times:

I use to fly the 640 for a little bit. As stated it was verys atble but heavy on the controls. Definitely had to keep it trimmed and single engine go rounds were definitely an adventure.

We had the Rolls Royce Darts, so very underpowered in comparison. Always needed the water meth on almost any takeoffs with a load.

As for icing, the 640 was only certified for light icing while te SF340 is certified for moderate. No idea on the 580 but suspect tht your flights in it were before the FAA looked closely into icing certification. They've learned a lot recently and there have been many changes.

User currently offlineCoronado From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1277 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (13 years 6 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4528 times:
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Captrig--you and your cohort should do a write up on operating the 580's during the winters in the Great Lakes Region. Hats off the the most successful conversion in history of a late 40's early 50's vintage prop-liner to 'jet power'. There has never been anything like it.
I never had a chance to fly in a 640, but had good experiences with the Dart-Heralds (Handley Page Heralds) that Sadia (later Transbrasil) operated in Brazil in the 60-'s and 70's. But that was a much lighter aircraft, so I can see why a 640 with more than 30% less shaft-power than a 580 made the Convair 340 frame a totally different aircraft- a 'puddy-tat' compared to a Tiger!

The Original Coronado: First CV jet flights RG CV 990 July 1965; DL CV 880 July 1965; Spantax CV990 Feb 1973
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