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GDB
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 09, 2021 12:06 pm

Max Q wrote:
BOAC actually used Mosquitoes during WW2 to carry I think just one VIP who sat in the bomb bay breathing oxygen, these flights were made to neutral countries in Europe


Indeed, as recounted here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B09xMixpPFM

To the questions around the TU-144 and it's development and possible link to bombers, one of the many things that were not satisfactory about the TU-144, was air intake control. They approached BAC the system designers for Concorde in the UK to see if they could adopt it.
It was refused, quite apart from it being sensitive technology it could aid a possible future Soviet large supersonic bomber.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 09, 2021 1:24 pm

Max Q wrote:
BOAC actually used Mosquitoes during WW2 to carry I think just one VIP who sat in the bomb bay breathing oxygen, these flights were made to neutral countries in Europe


GDB wrote:


That info and video was gold. I didn't know about this at all. Thank you both for sharing. I wonder what it looked like inside when it was carrying passengers. Without a window I assume.
 
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macsog6
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 09, 2021 3:42 pm

jeffrey0032j wrote:
starrion wrote:
Most Boeing narrowbodies have the fuselage of the 707, which shares a common ancestor with the KC-135. It wasn't converted, but the two families are pretty close.

The KC135 fuselage is narrower than the 707, and can only fit 5 abreast instead of 6.



The C135 fuselage is indeed narrower than a B707, which was widened at the request of C.R. Smith of AA to accommodate the 6 abreast seating. The B707 in military parlance is a C137.

From Wikipedia (I know, I know) ~ Other nations also bought both new and used 707s for military service, primarily as VIP or tanker transports. In addition, the 707 served as the basis for several specialized versions, such as the E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The designation C-18 covers several later variants based on the 707-320B/C series. The C-137 should not be confused with the superficially-similar Boeing C-135 Stratolifter; although they share a common ancestor the two aircraft have different fuselages.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 09, 2021 7:37 pm

Leovinus wrote:
TW870 wrote:
As others have said, this threat is fantastic and what all of a.net should be.

One other honorable mention: the behemoth Convair XC-99, the cargo/passenger adaptation of the B-36. I understand that this is not a converted bomber, as it has an entirely new fuselage, which is akin to the relationship between the B-29 and B377. But I just had to mention this awesome airplane because you can see its B-36 roots, because it actually flew, and because Pan Am ordered it. Amazing that a piston-driven airliner was going to have a MGTOW of 320,000lbs.

It was of course not to be. The Pratt&Whitney R-4360 was already a thermodynamic challenge, as it was difficult to keep the back rows of cylinders cool in operation. Placing the engine inside the wing so it could drive a pusher propeller was much worse, as the engine just cooked itself with inadequate ventilation. The 4360 was tough as it was on the Stratocruiser. This thing would have been impossible. Powerplant thermodynamics is one of the reasons the B-36 was not more successful.


The Convair XC-99 (The civilian version was to be named the Model 37) really hinged on turboprops being available for the production model so far as I recall. I can't find the source for that at the moment however, if someone does I'd be very happy.

I don't think a lot of people realise that at the change-over from ordinary props to jets and turboprops it was far from clear cut that jets would actually be the way forward. Their propulsive efficiency was abysmal. The De Havilland Comet showed that it was possible to make them economical on short to medium haul sectors however.

The problem with turboprops is that they are more mechanically complex. Development was slower than the pure jet. Had the turboprop actually come into production in a timely manner I think we'd have seen many more "simple" conversions though. Lockheed, Douglas and Boeing, all had designs on turboprop conversions or derivatives of their Constellations, DC-7s and B-377s, waiting on an engine. Lockheed went the furthest by trialing turboprops on the Connie, and Bristol had finally sorted the Britannia into a thoroughbred, but at that point pure jets hade matured enough. Jets became the future in the eyes of the public, and their higher speed outweighed their economy of operation for operative and passenger appeal.

Maybe I should make another thread for the likes of the XC-99, Bristol Brabazon, Lockheed Republic, and Saunders Roe Princess. The giants that failed. Yes, I think I just might.



Gandt in his excellent "Skygods: the Fall of Pan Am" goes at length about the whole "let's go turboprops, jets are for military who doesn't have to count fuel costs". And that Pan Am/Trippe gambled against established body of opinion, including a fundamental RAND study, by buying jets.
 
TW870
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:34 pm

Leovinus wrote:
TW870 wrote:
As others have said, this threat is fantastic and what all of a.net should be.

One other honorable mention: the behemoth Convair XC-99, the cargo/passenger adaptation of the B-36. I understand that this is not a converted bomber, as it has an entirely new fuselage, which is akin to the relationship between the B-29 and B377. But I just had to mention this awesome airplane because you can see its B-36 roots, because it actually flew, and because Pan Am ordered it. Amazing that a piston-driven airliner was going to have a MGTOW of 320,000lbs.

It was of course not to be. The Pratt&Whitney R-4360 was already a thermodynamic challenge, as it was difficult to keep the back rows of cylinders cool in operation. Placing the engine inside the wing so it could drive a pusher propeller was much worse, as the engine just cooked itself with inadequate ventilation. The 4360 was tough as it was on the Stratocruiser. This thing would have been impossible. Powerplant thermodynamics is one of the reasons the B-36 was not more successful.


The Convair XC-99 (The civilian version was to be named the Model 37) really hinged on turboprops being available for the production model so far as I recall. I can't find the source for that at the moment however, if someone does I'd be very happy.

I don't think a lot of people realise that at the change-over from ordinary props to jets and turboprops it was far from clear cut that jets would actually be the way forward. Their propulsive efficiency was abysmal. The De Havilland Comet showed that it was possible to make them economical on short to medium haul sectors however.

The problem with turboprops is that they are more mechanically complex. Development was slower than the pure jet. Had the turboprop actually come into production in a timely manner I think we'd have seen many more "simple" conversions though. Lockheed, Douglas and Boeing, all had designs on turboprop conversions or derivatives of their Constellations, DC-7s and B-377s, waiting on an engine. Lockheed went the furthest by trialing turboprops on the Connie, and Bristol had finally sorted the Britannia into a thoroughbred, but at that point pure jets hade matured enough. Jets became the future in the eyes of the public, and their higher speed outweighed their economy of operation for operative and passenger appeal.

Maybe I should make another thread for the likes of the XC-99, Bristol Brabazon, Lockheed Republic, and Saunders Roe Princess. The giants that failed. Yes, I think I just might.


I'd love it if you did the "giants that failed" thread!

Yes, the Convair 37 would only have worked as a turboprop given the thermodynamic problems of the pusher-propeller equipped R4360. But presumably Pratt's T34 (civilian PT2) would have powered it, and that engine also had lots of problems.

Excellent point about the complexity of turboprops and the anxiety about the bad propulsive efficiency of early gets. From what I understand, the DC-7 and Super Constellation platforms were really too small for the early turboprops, which had really high specific fuel consumption. Despite the terrible reliability of the R-3350 turbocompound, TWA seemed to think it was a better option for the final tranche of Connies than either Pratt's T34 (PT2) or Allison's T56 (501). Especially the Allison would have made the Connie faster and more reliable, but it was hard to offset the fuel costs - and find the fuel space - on a frame that small. Obviously the JT3 and JT4 made the rest history!
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:30 am

My late Father was an engineer with Republic Steel. He flew numerous times in the company owned Howard 400 (converted PV-1). During the 1950s and '60s, Howard Aero Inc. had been remanufacturing military surplus Lockheed Lodestars and Lockheed Venturas for the executive market. What a unique beast, I recall him talking about a time part of the cowling came off during a flight from Gary to Cleveland. Scared the beejeez out of everyone. Shortly there after Republic replaced the Howard with a Lockheed Jetstar.

We'd meet him at the hanger which is the one still right by the main road entrance to CLE.
 
cpd
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:27 am

GDB wrote:
Max Q wrote:
BOAC actually used Mosquitoes during WW2 to carry I think just one VIP who sat in the bomb bay breathing oxygen, these flights were made to neutral countries in Europe


Indeed, as recounted here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B09xMixpPFM

To the questions around the TU-144 and it's development and possible link to bombers, one of the many things that were not satisfactory about the TU-144, was air intake control. They approached BAC the system designers for Concorde in the UK to see if they could adopt it.
It was refused, quite apart from it being sensitive technology it could aid a possible future Soviet large supersonic bomber.


I've heard that before.

The name of the plane I was thinking of is "TU-160LK" - seems to be for the TU-160 project, modified from a TU-144 base design. It's obviously something that never went forward since they ended up with a swing-wing design instead of a delta wing. I cannot link to the images however. Also under investigation was what I believe would have been an electronic warfare/intelligence version of the TU-144, the "P" version. Also investigated was a TU-144 to be used as air-to-ground missile carrier.

What missiles it would have carried I don't know. While it would have been faster than a TU-95 obviously, the TU-95 would have been more practical surely. I don't think the TU-144 derivative would have been immune from missile attack either.

While this topic is for bombers turning into civil aircraft, this is an interesting opposite of the civilian plane being looked into as a potential military machine. Concorde too I think was even looked at for similar ideas.

Getting back on track:
https://i.redd.it/carks5lxfxo21.jpg
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:03 am

cpd wrote:
GDB wrote:
Max Q wrote:
BOAC actually used Mosquitoes during WW2 to carry I think just one VIP who sat in the bomb bay breathing oxygen, these flights were made to neutral countries in Europe


Indeed, as recounted here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B09xMixpPFM

To the questions around the TU-144 and it's development and possible link to bombers, one of the many things that were not satisfactory about the TU-144, was air intake control. They approached BAC the system designers for Concorde in the UK to see if they could adopt it.
It was refused, quite apart from it being sensitive technology it could aid a possible future Soviet large supersonic bomber.


I've heard that before.

The name of the plane I was thinking of is "TU-160LK" - seems to be for the TU-160 project, modified from a TU-144 base design. It's obviously something that never went forward since they ended up with a swing-wing design instead of a delta wing. I cannot link to the images however. Also under investigation was what I believe would have been an electronic warfare/intelligence version of the TU-144, the "P" version. Also investigated was a TU-144 to be used as air-to-ground missile carrier.

What missiles it would have carried I don't know. While it would have been faster than a TU-95 obviously, the TU-95 would have been more practical surely. I don't think the TU-144 derivative would have been immune from missile attack either.

While this topic is for bombers turning into civil aircraft, this is an interesting opposite of the civilian plane being looked into as a potential military machine. Concorde too I think was even looked at for similar ideas.

Getting back on track:
https://i.redd.it/carks5lxfxo21.jpg


Is it permissible to ask a mod to split out the "civilian aircraft as bombers" part of this thread into it's own so that we can continue it there? It's far too fascinating to let go. The only reason I'm not joining in fully is to not split the thread too much. I'm too new to know if this is alright however.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:18 am

MohawkWeekend wrote:
My late Father was an engineer with Republic Steel. He flew numerous times in the company owned Howard 400 (converted PV-1). During the 1950s and '60s, Howard Aero Inc. had been remanufacturing military surplus Lockheed Lodestars and Lockheed Venturas for the executive market. What a unique beast, I recall him talking about a time part of the cowling came off during a flight from Gary to Cleveland. Scared the beejeez out of everyone. Shortly there after Republic replaced the Howard with a Lockheed Jetstar.

We'd meet him at the hanger which is the one still right by the main road entrance to CLE.


Lovely tit bit!

As far as I understand the Pratt and Whitney T34s that were initially trialed were very temperamental, which is ultimately why the program didn't proceed (the only application was the C-133 Cargomaster. And it was apparently a horrendous experience). Allison had a turboprop in the works which later got used ont he Electra. But it had a long gestation period. Jets were the way forward by the time issues would get close to being sorted.

Britain had hopes to convert examples to Napier Eland turboprops. The Brits were exceptionally far ahead with turboprops and jets at the beginning. There was apparently an order from Panair do Brasil for 11 converted Connies with Elands, but the deal fell through at the last minute. (Source: Airlife - Classic Airliners - Lockheed Constellation, my knowledge of the C-133)
 
cpd
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:46 am

Leovinus wrote:
cpd wrote:
GDB wrote:

Indeed, as recounted here;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B09xMixpPFM

To the questions around the TU-144 and it's development and possible link to bombers, one of the many things that were not satisfactory about the TU-144, was air intake control. They approached BAC the system designers for Concorde in the UK to see if they could adopt it.
It was refused, quite apart from it being sensitive technology it could aid a possible future Soviet large supersonic bomber.


I've heard that before.

The name of the plane I was thinking of is "TU-160LK" - seems to be for the TU-160 project, modified from a TU-144 base design. It's obviously something that never went forward since they ended up with a swing-wing design instead of a delta wing. I cannot link to the images however. Also under investigation was what I believe would have been an electronic warfare/intelligence version of the TU-144, the "P" version. Also investigated was a TU-144 to be used as air-to-ground missile carrier.

What missiles it would have carried I don't know. While it would have been faster than a TU-95 obviously, the TU-95 would have been more practical surely. I don't think the TU-144 derivative would have been immune from missile attack either.

While this topic is for bombers turning into civil aircraft, this is an interesting opposite of the civilian plane being looked into as a potential military machine. Concorde too I think was even looked at for similar ideas.

Getting back on track:
https://i.redd.it/carks5lxfxo21.jpg


Is it permissible to ask a mod to split out the "civilian aircraft as bombers" part of this thread into it's own so that we can continue it there? It's far too fascinating to let go. The only reason I'm not joining in fully is to not split the thread too much. I'm too new to know if this is alright however.


It doesn't bother me if they are split off or deleted - I don't participate much in this forum. It's not the end of the world and I won't mind if they are removed.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:58 am

cpd wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
cpd wrote:

I've heard that before.

The name of the plane I was thinking of is "TU-160LK" - seems to be for the TU-160 project, modified from a TU-144 base design. It's obviously something that never went forward since they ended up with a swing-wing design instead of a delta wing. I cannot link to the images however. Also under investigation was what I believe would have been an electronic warfare/intelligence version of the TU-144, the "P" version. Also investigated was a TU-144 to be used as air-to-ground missile carrier.

What missiles it would have carried I don't know. While it would have been faster than a TU-95 obviously, the TU-95 would have been more practical surely. I don't think the TU-144 derivative would have been immune from missile attack either.

While this topic is for bombers turning into civil aircraft, this is an interesting opposite of the civilian plane being looked into as a potential military machine. Concorde too I think was even looked at for similar ideas.

Getting back on track:
https://i.redd.it/carks5lxfxo21.jpg


Is it permissible to ask a mod to split out the "civilian aircraft as bombers" part of this thread into it's own so that we can continue it there? It's far too fascinating to let go. The only reason I'm not joining in fully is to not split the thread too much. I'm too new to know if this is alright however.


It doesn't bother me if they are split off or deleted - I don't participate much in this forum. It's not the end of the world and I won't mind if they are removed.


It would bother me, I think your comments and the entire topic is fascinating.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:37 am

I should add that Dad spoke highly of the Howard's accommodations. The noise must not have bothered him. Most of the Executives at Republic were veterans of WWII and I'm sure that played a role in choosing Lockheed aircraft.

It was meeting him at the airport when I was a kid that started my life long love of aviation.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:41 pm

Gemuser wrote:
jeffrey0032j wrote:
starrion wrote:
Most Boeing narrowbodies have the fuselage of the 707, which shares a common ancestor with the KC-135. It wasn't converted, but the two families are pretty close.

The KC135 fuselage is narrower than the 707, and can only fit 5 abreast instead of 6.

That's what he said! They share a "common ancestor", which is the Dah80 prototype which had a 5 abreast configuration. In developing the KC-135 family they kept 5 abreast because thats what the customer [USAF] wanted, With the B707 most [all?] subsequent Boeing narrow bodies the customers wanted 6 abreast so Boeing gave it to them.
BTW You can see the Dash 80 in the Air & Space museum's annex at Dulles Airport.

Gemuser

The original Dash 80 was more of a demonstrator than a prototype. Boeing was going after both the USAF tanker contract and the airliner business. They actually lost the tanker competition to Lockheed, but Curtis LeMay staged a hissy fit and said he wanted jet tankers NOW and didn’t care who made them. Since Boeing had a plane flying and the Lockheed tanker was still just on paper, Boeing got a contract for 30 (I think it was) with the strict understanding that all future ones would be Lockheed. One of the changes was widening the fuselage to make it 5 abreast; the -80 was slab sided instead of bilobed and probably would have been only 4 abreast. Production was started immediately while Boeing started pitching to the airlines. By this time Douglas had jumped into the act with the DC-8, which was 6 abreast from the get-go and only on paper at this point. Pan Am had ordered 20 707s, but unknown to Boeing had ordered 25 DC-8s the same day. And then the 707 lost the United order to the DC-8. Boeing had been down this road before; the 247 had been outclassed by the DC-2, the 307 had been obliterated by the DC-4, and the 377 had lost badly to the DC-6. They were not in the mood for a repeat, and so made the extremely difficult and expensive decision to widen the 707 to 6 abreast while continuing the KC-135 production at 5 abreast. And it paid off. The Lockheed tanker never flew, and the USAF ended up purchasing hundreds of KC-135s, and the 707 ended up decisively defeating the DC-8 in the marketplace. Pan Am, the only airline that I know of that purchased both from the outset never ordered another DC-8, and in fact got rid of their 25 as fast as they could, but went on to buy many, many more 707s.
 
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SEPilot
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 12:45 pm

On the original topic of converted bombers, there is an old James Garner-Natalie Wood movie, Cash McCall (1960), that featured a B-25 converted into an executive plane.
 
MohawkWeekend
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:22 pm

Perhaps someone else can recall a book published by the leading Japanese ace of WWII where he describes a dogfight with a PV-1 that in his words did things that surprised him in terms of airman ship and maneuverability. Considering its "killer whale shape" Lockheed built an amazing aircraft. That shape probably made it a better candidate for conversion to a passenger plane vs B-25's and A-26's.
 
Dominion301
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:57 pm

cpd wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
Dominion301 wrote:
I didn’t see anyone mention the the famous ex-SAHA AIR ex-military 707s converted to airline use...even though SAHA is owned by the Iranian military. But some of their ex-707 fleet were formerly air-to-air refuelers.


They must have been awfully cramped considering the 707 tanker used the original, slimmer, fuselage that got redesigned into a wider 3+3 capable fuselage width for the civilian version.

In a way I'm grateful for Iran Air to have kept so many classics in the air. Not by choice obviously, but still.


But those weren’t the refuelling tankers like what the USAF has. If I’m not mistaken they were specially prepared 707-300 type aircraft with those large windows at the back. I could be wrong though.

I would have loved to fly in one or just have a good look at it and talk with the people flying them. Same as for the 747SP or the 747-100. You have to hand it to them keeping those beautiful old classics going and seemingly pretty well.


Yes they were 703s as opposed to the USAF's windowless KC-135s (717s). A lot of refuellers are also convertible to pax use. The RCAF's Polaris refuellers are also troop transporters.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 5:46 pm

Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding supersonic developments in USSR -- those were indeed shared, at least on research stages, with military leading the way. Sukhoi T4 design was grabbed, AFAIR, and massively redeveloped by Tupolev team, into Tu-160.
Now, Tu-144, is from my humble viewpoint, is basically two (and some would argue three) airplanes -- first being Tu-144 (original), first flown in 1968. Second would be canard-equipped Tu-144S. Third would be the re-engined Tu-144D, probably, though the latter two IMHO are subtypes of the same plane; these flew commercially from 1975 or thereabouts. And only these latter could receive any serious contribution from Sukhoi T-4, though I have no idea if that ever happened or not.

I thought I saw a report that the reason the Tu-144 was withdrawn from airline service was it was developing cracks in the airframe that were difficult to repair, but I haven't found a recent source that confirms or denies this. I'd be interested in knowing more about the operational history of Tu-144.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:03 pm

Revelation wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding supersonic developments in USSR -- those were indeed shared, at least on research stages, with military leading the way. Sukhoi T4 design was grabbed, AFAIR, and massively redeveloped by Tupolev team, into Tu-160.
Now, Tu-144, is from my humble viewpoint, is basically two (and some would argue three) airplanes -- first being Tu-144 (original), first flown in 1968. Second would be canard-equipped Tu-144S. Third would be the re-engined Tu-144D, probably, though the latter two IMHO are subtypes of the same plane; these flew commercially from 1975 or thereabouts. And only these latter could receive any serious contribution from Sukhoi T-4, though I have no idea if that ever happened or not.

I thought I saw a report that the reason the Tu-144 was withdrawn from airline service was it was developing cracks in the airframe that were difficult to repair, but I haven't found a recent source that confirms or denies this. I'd be interested in knowing more about the operational history of Tu-144.


Now that you mention it that very fact rings a bell. Something about using monolithic sections, which made repairs a PITA as cracks and stresses traveled unhindered for longer distances?
 
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Revelation
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:51 pm

Our Boom thread has a link ( https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/ ... -DFRC.html ) with the following content:

On Nov. 1, 1977, the Russian airline Aeroflot inaugurated passenger service with a production model Tu-144 when it flew from Moscow to Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. Limited range and other technical problems led to service being discontinued in 1978 after only 102 passenger flights.

This is a pretty typical statement, most resources don't go into the details of those problems.
 
James42
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 7:16 pm

I know a few B-17's were converted for carrying cargo (mostly meat I believe) in Bolivia in the 80s.

This website has some great pictures of some classic prop-liners operating as cargo carriers in Bolivia including a couple of a converted civilian B-17. Not passengers but still very interesting.

http://www.michaelprophet.com/Bolivian_Photoalbum1.html
 
oldJoe
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:46 pm

Revelation wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding supersonic developments in USSR -- those were indeed shared, at least on research stages, with military leading the way. Sukhoi T4 design was grabbed, AFAIR, and massively redeveloped by Tupolev team, into Tu-160.
Now, Tu-144, is from my humble viewpoint, is basically two (and some would argue three) airplanes -- first being Tu-144 (original), first flown in 1968. Second would be canard-equipped Tu-144S. Third would be the re-engined Tu-144D, probably, though the latter two IMHO are subtypes of the same plane; these flew commercially from 1975 or thereabouts. And only these latter could receive any serious contribution from Sukhoi T-4, though I have no idea if that ever happened or not.

I thought I saw a report that the reason the Tu-144 was withdrawn from airline service was it was developing cracks in the airframe that were difficult to repair, but I haven't found a recent source that confirms or denies this. I'd be interested in knowing more about the operational history of Tu-144.


I found an article from 2008 ( I know ) but still ?

source in German only :

https://www.n-tv.de/panorama/Jungfernflug-vor-40-Jahren-article44982.html

translated from the article :

In the end, the main thing that the Soviets lacked was the right engines. In addition to the far too high fuel consumption, the Tupolev designers in particular never got the noise problem and critical vibrations under control. In addition, there were always security-relevant technical difficulties and hairline cracks.


Not only the cracks, too thirsty turbines that are also too loud and critical vibrations were the cause of throwing in the towel
 
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Revelation
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:29 pm

oldJoe wrote:
Not only the cracks, too thirsty turbines that are also too loud and critical vibrations were the cause of throwing in the towel

Your post reminds me of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFWbuKr5-I8

It's a little bit too glib but makes many of the same points your article makes, especially poor range due to no super-cruise (i.e. had to stay in afterburner all the time), too much noise (presumably also related to being in afterburner all the time) and lots of vibrations. In short a very inferior passenger experience. No real mention of the cracking thought.

Directly on topic for this thread, the same source has a Tu-114 video too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22H8M8h6Hdo

That one is a lot better, less nonsense than the first.

The same also has a Boeing 2707 video too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y91Zr480Tn4
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 12, 2021 7:55 am

James42 wrote:
I know a few B-17's were converted for carrying cargo (mostly meat I believe) in Bolivia in the 80s.

This website has some great pictures of some classic prop-liners operating as cargo carriers in Bolivia including a couple of a converted civilian B-17. Not passengers but still very interesting.

http://www.michaelprophet.com/Bolivian_Photoalbum1.html


Thank you kindly for that link! Now I know where I'll be flying in X-Plane with my DC-3 next!
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 12, 2021 8:16 pm

Revelation wrote:
Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding supersonic developments in USSR -- those were indeed shared, at least on research stages, with military leading the way. Sukhoi T4 design was grabbed, AFAIR, and massively redeveloped by Tupolev team, into Tu-160.
Now, Tu-144, is from my humble viewpoint, is basically two (and some would argue three) airplanes -- first being Tu-144 (original), first flown in 1968. Second would be canard-equipped Tu-144S. Third would be the re-engined Tu-144D, probably, though the latter two IMHO are subtypes of the same plane; these flew commercially from 1975 or thereabouts. And only these latter could receive any serious contribution from Sukhoi T-4, though I have no idea if that ever happened or not.

I thought I saw a report that the reason the Tu-144 was withdrawn from airline service was it was developing cracks in the airframe that were difficult to repair, but I haven't found a recent source that confirms or denies this. I'd be interested in knowing more about the operational history of Tu-144.


Tu-114 commercial service was indeed killed by, first and foremost, cracking problem. The engine, the sound (supersonic propeller tips), the whole idea of running prop plane at a jet-like speed was novel. As a precaution, while Aeroflot Tu-114's were running their services to Far East (Moscow-Khabarovsk, AFAIR), there was a flying lab, emulating this service, flying daily equidistant segments (they turned around mid-way) with test crews, crammed with sensors and undergoing toothcomb checks frequently. And it was those test folks that discovered cracking that led to full grouding and retirement of Tu-114. Before that, Tu-114 had an illustrious career, and that included trans-Atlantic services -- not only USA and Canada, but also Cuba (if memory serves me, there was a stopover in Africa somewhere. Somebody in my family even knew someone who had to run around those African countries, negotiating options for stopover).

Tu-144 -- while I have never read about cracking being a factor in the type retirement, even if it did, it would be almost like that black joke about a post-mortem, of a victim with multiple bullet and stabbing wounds, shrapnel wounds, missing limbs and head, with coroner telling an assistant "don't forget to note that patient suffered from chest skin condition".
Again, pardon the comparison, but commercial operation of Tu-144 was that bad.
First, Aeroflot (MGA -- Minstry of Civil Aviation) didn't want it. It was a financial hole, and MGA would have to finance it. Tickets had to be sold at prices very near (almost to no difference) to subsonic service tickets. On the other hand, travelers had to be enticed to fly this exotic aircraft with things like free caviar onboard (economy class).
The technical challenges were formidable. The only route flown was Moscow to Alma-Ata, flown once weekly (in addition to multiple daily subsonic services). Tupolev's (and MAP's -- Ministry of Aviation Production) personnel was at both ends, prepositioned. Also prepositioned was fuel under nitrogen blanket (no other civil air service ever used that, only military had that requirement for some of their planes). Each departure from Moscow was attended by at least one deputy minister of either MAP or MGA. The cockpit crew was mixed -- the two pilots were two captains -- one MGA/Aeroflot, the other test pilot from MAP. No idea of other crew members, but I gather the idea was the same.
Of course, sonic boom was an issue. As long as this was happening rarely, nobody complained -- most folks in USSR heard sonic boom from military jets going supersonic, once in a while. But if this was ever to become wide-spread, regular, and traceable to regular passenger flights? Defense of motherland of socialism was one thing, you were supposed to tolerate anything for that. But passenger flights? That would raise murmur...
So MGA was basically a guinea pig to MAP's supersonic ambition -- and MGA were not visionaries. They were industrial bureaucrats, trying to cope with exploding traffic, and do it profitably (MGA paid for their runways and airport infrastructure, they had to buy airplanes and fuel, and could not raise ticket prices on a whim). They wanted inexpensive people movers. They had enough trouble already with having to crop-dust every field in USSR, and fly An-2's and helicopters into every nook and cranny of taiga and tundra in Siberia. Whoever wasn't satisfied with "dull pax flying of mainline subsonic" could be welcome to return to glorious hops between cleared patches of forests to deliver doctors to distant villages, or fly snow-ski equipped props beyond Polar circle. That was the true challenge, daily grind with nature for a multitude of small flights in near-impossible conditions, not an occasional record-breaking eyebrow-raising dash in an unusual aircraft.
And Tu-144 was obviously a flying lab, that did not seem to have a prospect of ever graduating to profitable passenger service. (Tu-144LL might have proven some of that wrong, but that was more than a decade after retirement from Aeroflot service, AFAIR).

Basically, Tu-144 ended up with no airline wanting to fly it.
And if there were cracks, too, that would be a fantastic excuse for MGA to say "sorry, we wanted to make it work, and you see -- so few flights, and the airframe is already developing cracks, no, thank you, but no, good bye"...
 
Areopagus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Mon Jun 14, 2021 12:37 am

This is Winston Churchill's Commando, from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-1958, by Owen Thetford. I finally broke down and got a Flickr account just for this post.
Image
 
BealineV953
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:10 pm

Leovinus wrote:
As a preface to the topic I'd like to say hello. Just a thirty something aviation enthusiast joining your ranks from Sweden. Hello!

Discussion

...the storied Brabazon committee made no recommendations for bomber derived stop-gaps. Instead focusing wholly on new ventures in order to let British aircraft manufacturers catch up technologically. The Handley Page Hastings military transport derived Hermes was the only one, and it was delayed far too much to be useful. Converting the unpressurised Hastings to a DC-4 competitor was too radical to be done in a timely manner as it turned out. I propose that had production of Yorks and lengthened/enlarged Haltons been done before wars end the need for the Hermes would never have arisen. Then again, had the Avro Tudor been persevered with the entire question would be moot.
.


Hello. A little more on the Brabazon Committee.

In mid-1942 Britain had no commercial aircraft being produced except the Avro York.
At that time the outcome of the war was uncertain, but the UK Government wanted to look at future civil aviation needs, including the development of civil aircraft. The aircraft industry was producing thousands of aircraft a month for the war effort, and the Government wanted the industry to be viable after the war.

To consider aircraft needs, the Government set up the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’. It was chaired by Lord Brabazon and is commonly known as the Brabazon Committee. The Terms of Reference were: to consider which current aircraft types could best be adapted for civil use, to draw up indicative specifications for new types, and to advise which companies could engage in the design of these aircraft.

The committee convened on 23rd December ’42. It solicited views from government advisors, aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and BOAC.

The committee reported on 9 February ’43.

For immediate post-war use the committee endorsed production of the York, advocated conversion of Short Sunderlands to civil specification and proposed a civil derivative of the Handley Page Halifax. These were referred to as ‘converted’ types.

The committee prioritised the development of new types, and recommended that work begin immediately on aircraft to meet five requirements:
Type 1: Six or eight engines. Large. For the London to New York route.
Type 2: Twin engine. 20 passengers. UK to Europe routes. Similar to the DC-3.
Type 3: Four engines. Medium range for Empire routes. To replace the York.
Type 4: Jet propelled. Experimental Trans-Atlantic mail-plane.
Type 5. Twin engine. Feeder liner for UK and colonial use. Similar to the Lockheed 14.
It was thought that the larger new types would take up to five years or more to develop. It was anticipated that the Type 1 and Type 3 aircraft would be more capable than the DC-4 and Constellation.

The February ’43 report did not identify manufacturers.

BOAC, created in 1939 by merging Imperial Airways and British Airways, was under the control of the Air Ministry. The airline had struggled to find a satisfactory working relationship with RAF Transport Command, and as a result of this in March ’43 the entire board of BOAC resigned. This hiatus limited BOAC’s influence over the evolution of the Brabazon Committee requirements.

In May ’43 the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ reconvened to oversee the development of the aircraft produced against its requirements.

In June ’43 the manufacturers tasked to work on the requirements were identified as Avro, Bristol, Handley Page and Shorts together with Saunders Roe in a consortium.

In January ’44 work began on some of the types on the strict condition that it did not affect the war effort. In July ’44 UK military aircraft production peaked at 4,500 a month.

Technical advances led to the type specifications being reviewed. It became clear that jet and turbo-prop engines would become available. However, it was recognized that the development of jet and turbo-prop engines would delay the introduction of some of the new types, making the interim types more important. Over time, Vickers, de Havilland and other manufacturers offered aircraft against the requirements.

Type 1 was revised to have turbo-prop engines. Further types were added, including ‘Type 2A’, ‘Type 2B’, ‘Type 5A’ and ‘Type 5B’. Type 3 was revised in late 1944 to a requirement for larger, more advanced, aircraft.

The aircraft produced against the specifications were:
Type 1: Bristol Brabazon.
Type 2A: Vickers Viking and Airspeed Ambassador.
Type 2B: Vickers Viscount
Type 3: Avro Lancastrian, Avro Tudor I, Avro Tudor II, Handley Page Hermes.
Type 4: de Havilland Comet.
Type 5A. Miles Marathon.
Type 5B. de Havilland Dove.

The Brabazon turbo-prop aimed to be a significant improvement on the DC-4 and L-049, but the type did not reach production.
The Viking was a ‘converted’ type, based on the Wellington bomber. It first flew in 1945 and entered service with BEA in 1946. 163 were built.
The Ambassador was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. Progress was slow; it not fly until mid-1947 and did not enter service until 1951. Only 23 were built.
The Viscount was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. It first flew in mid 1948 and entered service in early 1953. 445 were built, a significant number for the time, and it was widely exported.
The Lancastrian was adopted as a ‘converted’ type to meet the Type 3 requirement.
The long range Tudor I suffered from poor stability and high drag, which delayed production. It was rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Tudor II was also a disappointment and was also rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Hermes was originally based on the Halifax bomber, but the design evolved and was revised significantly. The type did not enter service until 1950. Only 29 were built.
The Comet evolved beyond the Type 4 ‘mailplane’ specification to become an airliner. It first flew in mid-1949 and entered service in mid-1952. 10 Comet 1s were built. Early success was followed by tragedy. By the time the improved Comet 4 entered service the Boeing 707 had flown and the Comet was little more than a stop-gap.
The Dove was smaller than the original Type 5 requirement (hence Type 5B). However, it was advanced and sold well around the world with 542 built.

The ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ disbanded in December ’45

The failure of the Bristol Brabazon and Tudor and the late delivery of the Hermes left BOAC without UK produced long and medium range airliners in the immediate post-war years.
To meet the ‘London to New York’ and ‘medium range’ requirements, BOAC turned to the Constellation, Canadair Argonaut (DC-4M) and later the Stratocruiser.

With the benefit of hindsight, it could be said that it was very ambitious to expect UK manufacturers to switch from war production and leapfrog the DC-4 and Constellation. It must have been expected that US manufacturers would further develop their airliners. In 1946 the DC-6 and improved versions of the Constellation appeared, and in 1949 the Stratocruiser entered service.
Given that Avro produced the Lancaster, one of the most capable bombers of its time, it is perhaps surprising that the Tudor was not a success. Some sources suggest that changing requirements may have led to development being rushed.
It seems odd to me that one of the requirements was an airliner like the DC-3. We now know that thousands of war-surplus Dakotas and C-47s would become available to airlines. BEA flew Vikings alongside a large fleet of Dakotas.
On the other-hand the Viscount was a world beater, and the Dove was a success. It is interesting that Vickers and de Havilland were not originally selected as manufacturers, but did a better job of meeting customer needs than the companies that were.

Having said all that, in the middle of a world war it must have been very, very difficult to anticipate post-war needs. For the UK, the post-war world would be a very different place. The UK Government should be commended for trying.
 
BealineV953
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:26 pm

Leovinus wrote:
Max Q wrote:
BOAC actually used Mosquitoes during WW2 to carry I think just one VIP who sat in the bomb bay breathing oxygen, these flights were made to neutral countries in Europe


GDB wrote:


That info and video was gold. I didn't know about this at all. Thank you both for sharing. I wonder what it looked like inside when it was carrying passengers. Without a window I assume.


Hello.
Part way through the video there is a picture of a passenger in the Mosquito bomb bay. Yep, no window.
As in the video, the services operated from Scotland to Stockholm to collect ball bearings needed for the UK war effort. If I remember rightly, the UK bought the entire Swedish production because it was needed and to deny it to the Nazis.
Again, if I remember rightly, passengers were not usually or even rarely carried.
 
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DrPaul
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:25 pm

Leovinus wrote:
The Convair XC-99 (The civilian version was to be named the Model 37) really hinged on turboprops being available for the production model so far as I recall. I can't find the source for that at the moment however, if someone does I'd be very happy.


Would the turboprop Model 37 have had pusher engines? I can't think of any plane -- or at least any large plane -- that has had pusher turboprops. As it is, I've never understood why the B-36 had pusher engines, but that's a topic for another thread.

Leovinus wrote:
Maybe I should make another thread for the likes of the XC-99, Bristol Brabazon, Lockheed Republic, and Saunders Roe Princess. The giants that failed. Yes, I think I just might.


A thread on the failed giants would be fascinating. They have always intrigued me. There was also the original DC-7, the civilian C-74 Globemaster. Was the Lockheed Republic a civilian version of the US Navy's Constitution? That was a plane that seemed to be underpowered, perhaps it could have done better with turboprops.
 
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Wed Jun 16, 2021 11:24 pm

The TU-116. Classic bomber converted..
 
propmusic
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 17, 2021 2:44 am

Or the Catalina from SOS Pacific.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:04 am

DrPaul wrote:
A thread on the failed giants would be fascinating. They have always intrigued me. There was also the original DC-7, the civilian C-74 Globemaster. Was the Lockheed Republic a civilian version of the US Navy's Constitution? That was a plane that seemed to be underpowered, perhaps it could have done better with turboprops.


I've actually made one! Though new posts are plenty on here, so it quickly disappeared out of sight. You can find it here however, so by all means please engage there: https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1461693
 
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:06 am

BealineV953 wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
As a preface to the topic I'd like to say hello. Just a thirty something aviation enthusiast joining your ranks from Sweden. Hello!

Discussion

...the storied Brabazon committee made no recommendations for bomber derived stop-gaps. Instead focusing wholly on new ventures in order to let British aircraft manufacturers catch up technologically. The Handley Page Hastings military transport derived Hermes was the only one, and it was delayed far too much to be useful. Converting the unpressurised Hastings to a DC-4 competitor was too radical to be done in a timely manner as it turned out. I propose that had production of Yorks and lengthened/enlarged Haltons been done before wars end the need for the Hermes would never have arisen. Then again, had the Avro Tudor been persevered with the entire question would be moot.
.


Hello. A little more on the Brabazon Committee.

In mid-1942 Britain had no commercial aircraft being produced except the Avro York.
At that time the outcome of the war was uncertain, but the UK Government wanted to look at future civil aviation needs, including the development of civil aircraft. The aircraft industry was producing thousands of aircraft a month for the war effort, and the Government wanted the industry to be viable after the war.

To consider aircraft needs, the Government set up the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’. It was chaired by Lord Brabazon and is commonly known as the Brabazon Committee. The Terms of Reference were: to consider which current aircraft types could best be adapted for civil use, to draw up indicative specifications for new types, and to advise which companies could engage in the design of these aircraft.

The committee convened on 23rd December ’42. It solicited views from government advisors, aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and BOAC.

The committee reported on 9 February ’43.

For immediate post-war use the committee endorsed production of the York, advocated conversion of Short Sunderlands to civil specification and proposed a civil derivative of the Handley Page Halifax. These were referred to as ‘converted’ types.

The committee prioritised the development of new types, and recommended that work begin immediately on aircraft to meet five requirements:
Type 1: Six or eight engines. Large. For the London to New York route.
Type 2: Twin engine. 20 passengers. UK to Europe routes. Similar to the DC-3.
Type 3: Four engines. Medium range for Empire routes. To replace the York.
Type 4: Jet propelled. Experimental Trans-Atlantic mail-plane.
Type 5. Twin engine. Feeder liner for UK and colonial use. Similar to the Lockheed 14.
It was thought that the larger new types would take up to five years or more to develop. It was anticipated that the Type 1 and Type 3 aircraft would be more capable than the DC-4 and Constellation.

The February ’43 report did not identify manufacturers.

BOAC, created in 1939 by merging Imperial Airways and British Airways, was under the control of the Air Ministry. The airline had struggled to find a satisfactory working relationship with RAF Transport Command, and as a result of this in March ’43 the entire board of BOAC resigned. This hiatus limited BOAC’s influence over the evolution of the Brabazon Committee requirements.

In May ’43 the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ reconvened to oversee the development of the aircraft produced against its requirements.

In June ’43 the manufacturers tasked to work on the requirements were identified as Avro, Bristol, Handley Page and Shorts together with Saunders Roe in a consortium.

In January ’44 work began on some of the types on the strict condition that it did not affect the war effort. In July ’44 UK military aircraft production peaked at 4,500 a month.

Technical advances led to the type specifications being reviewed. It became clear that jet and turbo-prop engines would become available. However, it was recognized that the development of jet and turbo-prop engines would delay the introduction of some of the new types, making the interim types more important. Over time, Vickers, de Havilland and other manufacturers offered aircraft against the requirements.

Type 1 was revised to have turbo-prop engines. Further types were added, including ‘Type 2A’, ‘Type 2B’, ‘Type 5A’ and ‘Type 5B’. Type 3 was revised in late 1944 to a requirement for larger, more advanced, aircraft.

The aircraft produced against the specifications were:
Type 1: Bristol Brabazon.
Type 2A: Vickers Viking and Airspeed Ambassador.
Type 2B: Vickers Viscount
Type 3: Avro Lancastrian, Avro Tudor I, Avro Tudor II, Handley Page Hermes.
Type 4: de Havilland Comet.
Type 5A. Miles Marathon.
Type 5B. de Havilland Dove.

The Brabazon turbo-prop aimed to be a significant improvement on the DC-4 and L-049, but the type did not reach production.
The Viking was a ‘converted’ type, based on the Wellington bomber. It first flew in 1945 and entered service with BEA in 1946. 163 were built.
The Ambassador was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. Progress was slow; it not fly until mid-1947 and did not enter service until 1951. Only 23 were built.
The Viscount was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. It first flew in mid 1948 and entered service in early 1953. 445 were built, a significant number for the time, and it was widely exported.
The Lancastrian was adopted as a ‘converted’ type to meet the Type 3 requirement.
The long range Tudor I suffered from poor stability and high drag, which delayed production. It was rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Tudor II was also a disappointment and was also rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Hermes was originally based on the Halifax bomber, but the design evolved and was revised significantly. The type did not enter service until 1950. Only 29 were built.
The Comet evolved beyond the Type 4 ‘mailplane’ specification to become an airliner. It first flew in mid-1949 and entered service in mid-1952. 10 Comet 1s were built. Early success was followed by tragedy. By the time the improved Comet 4 entered service the Boeing 707 had flown and the Comet was little more than a stop-gap.
The Dove was smaller than the original Type 5 requirement (hence Type 5B). However, it was advanced and sold well around the world with 542 built.

The ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ disbanded in December ’45

The failure of the Bristol Brabazon and Tudor and the late delivery of the Hermes left BOAC without UK produced long and medium range airliners in the immediate post-war years.
To meet the ‘London to New York’ and ‘medium range’ requirements, BOAC turned to the Constellation, Canadair Argonaut (DC-4M) and later the Stratocruiser.

With the benefit of hindsight, it could be said that it was very ambitious to expect UK manufacturers to switch from war production and leapfrog the DC-4 and Constellation. It must have been expected that US manufacturers would further develop their airliners. In 1946 the DC-6 and improved versions of the Constellation appeared, and in 1949 the Stratocruiser entered service.
Given that Avro produced the Lancaster, one of the most capable bombers of its time, it is perhaps surprising that the Tudor was not a success. Some sources suggest that changing requirements may have led to development being rushed.
It seems odd to me that one of the requirements was an airliner like the DC-3. We now know that thousands of war-surplus Dakotas and C-47s would become available to airlines. BEA flew Vikings alongside a large fleet of Dakotas.
On the other-hand the Viscount was a world beater, and the Dove was a success. It is interesting that Vickers and de Havilland were not originally selected as manufacturers, but did a better job of meeting customer needs than the companies that were.

Having said all that, in the middle of a world war it must have been very, very difficult to anticipate post-war needs. For the UK, the post-war world would be a very different place. The UK Government should be commended for trying.


I wonder if you'd find my mention of the topic in line with your very well written comment over in my thread on the giants that failed? I have a whole section on the Brabazon and Princess with a long preface on Britains planning stage. Maybe you could post this comment over there as well if nothing else? https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1461693

As for the mention of Swedish ballbearings... It was a valiant effort. But Sweden, to my great shame as a countryman, played both sides during the war. Selling ballbearings to the Germans and British. If the amount was equal I couldn't say, but Swedish industrialists and top government officials had no problems with it. Many in the leadership was pro-German at the time. True, we were still neutral. But we did many... many... regretful things towards the allies in favour of the Germans.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:12 am

Areopagus wrote:
This is Winston Churchill's Commando, from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-1958, by Owen Thetford. I finally broke down and got a Flickr account just for this post.
Image


Thank you fo that! I didn't know his aircraft was one of the few converted with the B-32 tail. At least it looks like the B-32 tail, and I know there were a few conversions to it. The Liberators twin tail planes were a bit unsatisfactory as I understand it.

Do you happen to know what it was used for post-Churchill? Cargo? VIP transport?
 
BealineV953
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:52 pm

Leovinus wrote:
BealineV953 wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
As a preface to the topic I'd like to say hello. Just a thirty something aviation enthusiast joining your ranks from Sweden. Hello!

Discussion

...the storied Brabazon committee made no recommendations for bomber derived stop-gaps. Instead focusing wholly on new ventures in order to let British aircraft manufacturers catch up technologically. The Handley Page Hastings military transport derived Hermes was the only one, and it was delayed far too much to be useful. Converting the unpressurised Hastings to a DC-4 competitor was too radical to be done in a timely manner as it turned out. I propose that had production of Yorks and lengthened/enlarged Haltons been done before wars end the need for the Hermes would never have arisen. Then again, had the Avro Tudor been persevered with the entire question would be moot.
.


Hello. A little more on the Brabazon Committee.

In mid-1942 Britain had no commercial aircraft being produced except the Avro York.
At that time the outcome of the war was uncertain, but the UK Government wanted to look at future civil aviation needs, including the development of civil aircraft. The aircraft industry was producing thousands of aircraft a month for the war effort, and the Government wanted the industry to be viable after the war.

To consider aircraft needs, the Government set up the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’. It was chaired by Lord Brabazon and is commonly known as the Brabazon Committee. The Terms of Reference were: to consider which current aircraft types could best be adapted for civil use, to draw up indicative specifications for new types, and to advise which companies could engage in the design of these aircraft.

The committee convened on 23rd December ’42. It solicited views from government advisors, aircraft manufacturers, engine manufacturers and BOAC.

The committee reported on 9 February ’43.

For immediate post-war use the committee endorsed production of the York, advocated conversion of Short Sunderlands to civil specification and proposed a civil derivative of the Handley Page Halifax. These were referred to as ‘converted’ types.

The committee prioritised the development of new types, and recommended that work begin immediately on aircraft to meet five requirements:
Type 1: Six or eight engines. Large. For the London to New York route.
Type 2: Twin engine. 20 passengers. UK to Europe routes. Similar to the DC-3.
Type 3: Four engines. Medium range for Empire routes. To replace the York.
Type 4: Jet propelled. Experimental Trans-Atlantic mail-plane.
Type 5. Twin engine. Feeder liner for UK and colonial use. Similar to the Lockheed 14.
It was thought that the larger new types would take up to five years or more to develop. It was anticipated that the Type 1 and Type 3 aircraft would be more capable than the DC-4 and Constellation.

The February ’43 report did not identify manufacturers.

BOAC, created in 1939 by merging Imperial Airways and British Airways, was under the control of the Air Ministry. The airline had struggled to find a satisfactory working relationship with RAF Transport Command, and as a result of this in March ’43 the entire board of BOAC resigned. This hiatus limited BOAC’s influence over the evolution of the Brabazon Committee requirements.

In May ’43 the ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ reconvened to oversee the development of the aircraft produced against its requirements.

In June ’43 the manufacturers tasked to work on the requirements were identified as Avro, Bristol, Handley Page and Shorts together with Saunders Roe in a consortium.

In January ’44 work began on some of the types on the strict condition that it did not affect the war effort. In July ’44 UK military aircraft production peaked at 4,500 a month.

Technical advances led to the type specifications being reviewed. It became clear that jet and turbo-prop engines would become available. However, it was recognized that the development of jet and turbo-prop engines would delay the introduction of some of the new types, making the interim types more important. Over time, Vickers, de Havilland and other manufacturers offered aircraft against the requirements.

Type 1 was revised to have turbo-prop engines. Further types were added, including ‘Type 2A’, ‘Type 2B’, ‘Type 5A’ and ‘Type 5B’. Type 3 was revised in late 1944 to a requirement for larger, more advanced, aircraft.

The aircraft produced against the specifications were:
Type 1: Bristol Brabazon.
Type 2A: Vickers Viking and Airspeed Ambassador.
Type 2B: Vickers Viscount
Type 3: Avro Lancastrian, Avro Tudor I, Avro Tudor II, Handley Page Hermes.
Type 4: de Havilland Comet.
Type 5A. Miles Marathon.
Type 5B. de Havilland Dove.

The Brabazon turbo-prop aimed to be a significant improvement on the DC-4 and L-049, but the type did not reach production.
The Viking was a ‘converted’ type, based on the Wellington bomber. It first flew in 1945 and entered service with BEA in 1946. 163 were built.
The Ambassador was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. Progress was slow; it not fly until mid-1947 and did not enter service until 1951. Only 23 were built.
The Viscount was significantly larger than the original Type 2 specification. It first flew in mid 1948 and entered service in early 1953. 445 were built, a significant number for the time, and it was widely exported.
The Lancastrian was adopted as a ‘converted’ type to meet the Type 3 requirement.
The long range Tudor I suffered from poor stability and high drag, which delayed production. It was rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Tudor II was also a disappointment and was also rejected by BOAC.
The medium range Hermes was originally based on the Halifax bomber, but the design evolved and was revised significantly. The type did not enter service until 1950. Only 29 were built.
The Comet evolved beyond the Type 4 ‘mailplane’ specification to become an airliner. It first flew in mid-1949 and entered service in mid-1952. 19 Comet 1s were built. Early success was followed by tragedy. By the time the improved Comet 4 entered service the Boeing 707 had flown and the Comet was little more than a stop-gap.
The Dove was smaller than the original Type 5 requirement (hence Type 5B). However, it was advanced and sold well around the world with 542 built.

The ‘Transport Aircraft Committee’ disbanded in December ’45

The failure of the Bristol Brabazon and Tudor and the late delivery of the Hermes left BOAC without UK produced long and medium range airliners in the immediate post-war years.
To meet the ‘London to New York’ and ‘medium range’ requirements, BOAC turned to the Constellation, Canadair Argonaut (DC-4M) and later the Stratocruiser.

With the benefit of hindsight, it could be said that it was very ambitious to expect UK manufacturers to switch from war production and leapfrog the DC-4 and Constellation. It must have been expected that US manufacturers would further develop their airliners. In 1946 the DC-6 and improved versions of the Constellation appeared, and in 1949 the Stratocruiser entered service.
Given that Avro produced the Lancaster, one of the most capable bombers of its time, it is perhaps surprising that the Tudor was not a success. Some sources suggest that changing requirements may have led to development being rushed.
It seems odd to me that one of the requirements was an airliner like the DC-3. We now know that thousands of war-surplus Dakotas and C-47s would become available to airlines. BEA flew Vikings alongside a large fleet of Dakotas.
On the other-hand the Viscount was a world beater, and the Dove was a success. It is interesting that Vickers and de Havilland were not originally selected as manufacturers, but did a better job of meeting customer needs than the companies that were.

Having said all that, in the middle of a world war it must have been very, very difficult to anticipate post-war needs. For the UK, the post-war world would be a very different place. The UK Government should be commended for trying.


I wonder if you'd find my mention of the topic in line with your very well written comment over in my thread on the giants that failed? I have a whole section on the Brabazon and Princess with a long preface on Britains planning stage.
Maybe you could post this comment over there as well if nothing else? https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1461693

.


Hello. I'll post my comment there.
It'll include a correction - 19 Comet 1s built, not 10!
 
BealineV953
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:59 pm

Leovinus wrote:
BealineV953 wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
As a preface to the topic I'd like to say hello. Just a thirty something aviation enthusiast joining your ranks from Sweden. Hello!


As for the mention of Swedish ballbearings... It was a valiant effort. But Sweden, to my great shame as a countryman, played both sides during the war. Selling ballbearings to the Germans and British. If the amount was equal I couldn't say, but Swedish industrialists and top government officials had no problems with it. Many in the leadership was pro-German at the time. True, we were still neutral. But we did many... many... regretful things towards the allies in favour of the Germans.


Also, regarding the BOAC Mosquito services; somewhere I have a magazine that has a very comprehensive article about those services. I'm trying to find it. Ahead of that, I've looked in books I have that mention the ball-bearing run flights. Looks like I was wrong to say that passengers were rarely carried - it appears that passengers were usually carried.
 
aristoenigma
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 19, 2021 6:17 pm

Leovinus wrote:
Areopagus wrote:
This is Winston Churchill's Commando, from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-1958, by Owen Thetford. I finally broke down and got a Flickr account just for this post.
Image


Thank you fo that! I didn't know his aircraft was one of the few converted with the B-32 tail. At least it looks like the B-32 tail, and I know there were a few conversions to it. The Liberators twin tail planes were a bit unsatisfactory as I understand it.

Do you happen to know what it was used for post-Churchill? Cargo? VIP transport?


Commando (Air Ministry serial number AL504) was a very long range Consolidated Liberator II aircraft adapted for passenger transport, to serve as the personal aircraft of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Commando disappeared without a trace on 27 March 1945 over the North Atlantic Ocean, while on a flight from RAF Northolt to Lajes Field in the Azores, en route to Ottawa in Canada. The cause of the disappearance of the aircraft remains unknown to this day.
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 19, 2021 7:34 pm

Regarding Pe-8 (a.k.a. TB-7 and ANT-40) bomber that took Molotov from USSR to Britain and then the US over Nazi-occupied Europe:
The plane was Petlyakov Pe-8 in high-altitude configuration (fifth engine inside the hull, as turbocharger/supercharger perhaps?), hull number 42066, from 746 Long-range Aviation Regiment.
The plane was modified for VIP duty -- all bomb-related equipment and some armament removed, additional fuel and oxygen tanks installed. Pax comforts were minimal, outside temperature was down to -50oC, passengers wore furs to survive.
En route, it was once attacked by a Luftwaffe fighter, the only effect was a superficial damage to an antenna. One of the engines malfunctioned as well (unrelated to enemy action), but spare power was sufficient to complete the journey.
Aircraft was photographed upon arrival in Britain:
Image
In the meantime, its passenger was besieging Eden and Churchill, demanding "second front" against Nazis in Europe.

The plane then took Molotov hopping across the Atlantic to Washington. While he was busy demanding from Roosevelt and US top command to commence the attack on the Nazis in Europe, the plane was photographed again in the US:
Image

Upon completing negotiations in Washington, Molotov was flown back to Britain, spoke to Churchill again, and then was successfully delivered by the same Pe-8 plane and crew, to USSR.
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sat Jun 19, 2021 8:17 pm

Leovinus wrote:
Areopagus wrote:
This is Winston Churchill's Commando, from Aircraft of the Royal Air Force 1918-1958, by Owen Thetford. I finally broke down and got a Flickr account just for this post.
Image


Thank you fo that! I didn't know his aircraft was one of the few converted with the B-32 tail. At least it looks like the B-32 tail, and I know there were a few conversions to it. The Liberators twin tail planes were a bit unsatisfactory as I understand it.

Do you happen to know what it was used for post-Churchill? Cargo? VIP transport?


Should be a Privateer tail, which would have been plug and play with the standard B-24 fuselage. The Dominator had a different cross section.
 
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Leovinus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sun Jun 20, 2021 10:39 am

BealineV953 wrote:
Leovinus wrote:
BealineV953 wrote:


Also, regarding the BOAC Mosquito services; somewhere I have a magazine that has a very comprehensive article about those services. I'm trying to find it. Ahead of that, I've looked in books I have that mention the ball-bearing run flights. Looks like I was wrong to say that passengers were rarely carried - it appears that passengers were usually carried.


Please do! That would be very interesting to read about. Especially as I'm Swedish myself.

Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding Pe-8 (a.k.a. TB-7 and ANT-40) bomber that took Molotov from USSR to Britain and then the US over Nazi-occupied Europe:
The plane was Petlyakov Pe-8 in high-altitude configuration (fifth engine inside the hull, as turbocharger/supercharger perhaps?), hull number 42066, from 746 Long-range Aviation Regiment.


Interesting. Did the Petlyakov do any civilian service post-war that you're aware of? It seems like the perfect airframe for longer mail flights etc. within the Russia in a post war situation. Maybe even the odd passenger conversion. But then I suppose Russia had enough Il-12's for civilian use internally perhaps? I don't know wether or not the long internal routes were at all premiered within Soviet Russia in the early post-war.

Spacepope wrote:
Should be a Privateer tail, which would have been plug and play with the standard B-24 fuselage. The Dominator had a different cross section.


My apologies, Privateer it is. I need to read up on my bombers more...
 
WIederling
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:37 am

SEPilot wrote:
On the original topic of converted bombers, there is an old James Garner-Natalie Wood movie, Cash McCall (1960), that featured a B-25 converted into an executive plane.


reminds me seeing some converted early British jet fighter to business transport:
http://www.vintagewings.ca/VintageNews/ ... Vegas.aspx
( Vampire converted. ?never flew? )
 
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Phosphorus
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sun Jun 20, 2021 1:54 pm

Leovinus wrote:

Phosphorus wrote:
Regarding Pe-8 (a.k.a. TB-7 and ANT-40) bomber that took Molotov from USSR to Britain and then the US over Nazi-occupied Europe:
The plane was Petlyakov Pe-8 in high-altitude configuration (fifth engine inside the hull, as turbocharger/supercharger perhaps?), hull number 42066, from 746 Long-range Aviation Regiment.


Interesting. Did the Petlyakov do any civilian service post-war that you're aware of? It seems like the perfect airframe for longer mail flights etc. within the Russia in a post war situation. Maybe even the odd passenger conversion. But then I suppose Russia had enough Il-12's for civilian use internally perhaps? I don't know wether or not the long internal routes were at all premiered within Soviet Russia in the early post-war.


Mr. Petlyakov died before WWII was through, so he personally could not oversee the future of his babies: neither this Pe-8, nor his far more prolific Pe-2 dive bomber (more than 11 thousand built).

Pe-8 plane, once the war was over, was in fairly difficult situation. There were too few of Pe-8 planes built (less than a 100), some were lost in war, the variants were too many (4-engine vs. 5-engine -- and different engine models -- including some diesel examples, some VIP-modified variants, you get the picture). I think I've read somewhere that less than 50, and more like 30, were available. The chief designer was dead, so the plane was an orphan.

Then, a fatigue problem showed up, destroying a frame, and the type was grounded. Finally, after some investigations, the frames were sorted into hopeless -- and survivors.
Hopeless frames were stripped of spares and reportedly used in live ammunition exercises, including running over a plane with a tank (a tank was too light, and hilariously got stuck. Had to use gas torches to liberate it).

Survivable Pe-8 mainly transferred to the Polar aviation (arm of Aeroflot), painted orange, and flew for some years in extreme climes. Some (maybe one or two) were selected by research institutes for flying lab service.

Considering high degree of standardization USSR strived for, and upcoming introduction of jets, no wonder an orphan type had little future.
Moreover, Soviets were fairly unceremonious with aged planes. The destruction of obsolete types was merciless and remorseless. I remember reading that in 1960's, the factory that built Pe-2's in WWII, wanted to have an example as a monument/museum piece at its factory gate. After some search, they realized that all frames were scrapped (none of 11+ thousand examples survived), and it was easier to make a one-off (semi-plane, semi mock-up), based on WWII-era drawings from the archive.

And Pe-8 was more than an orphan. It was a reminder of "what could have been". Its first flight was in 1936, and it was designed for a bomb load of 4 tons (up to 5 tons). If USSR adopted it, and built it in proper numbers... I looked it up, from Jan 1 1939 to June 22, 1941 (start of operation Barbarossa), USSR built 17 745 new military airplanes -- mainly fighters and ground attack types. If even half of those (not to mention earlier) materials and engines were diverted to heavy bomber production -- WWII would have been a different war. A thousand of Pe-8, delivering a single punch with 4 kt of bombs on Berlin in a single raid, would make situation difficult for Nazi high command.
But launching earnest production of heavy long-range bombers would mean rethinking Red Army doctrine to "defence of the motherland". Instead of original "liberation of peoples of the whole world from capitalist oppression". Soviet high command resisted that with all they could.
As a result, some folks counted up to ten iterations of Pe-8 production "go" and "stop" orders. Instead of thousands, USSR ended up with dozens. Instead of bombing Germany into an ashtray, the Red Army first retreated to Volga, and then fought its way to Berlin, in daily hand-to-hand combat.
So each time a "go" was given, industry was making a fresh update of Pe-8. They were all different. They were too few. They never really had an advantage of maturing.
Not exactly something you strive to adopt, if you try to run civilian air operation at scale.

(late addition: I realized there are photos out there of Pe-8 carrying a missile externally. It was a post-war development, and captions say that up to five were used for these experiments. So being a odd type was apparently no deterrent for developers of new weaponry after WWII. Like this one on wiki.).
Image
 
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Spacepope
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:49 pm

Leovinus wrote:

Spacepope wrote:
Should be a Privateer tail, which would have been plug and play with the standard B-24 fuselage. The Dominator had a different cross section.


My apologies, Privateer it is. I need to read up on my bombers more...


They started life as Navy patrol bombers and were pretty popular with the Fire Tanker companies until the inflight breakup accident here in Colorado in 2002.



This thread got me to reading up on the British 4-engined heavies of WWII and I was surprised the Shorts Stirling entry on Wiki has a quite nice pic of a passenger interior.
 
Newark727
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Re: Passenger converted bomber aircraft in civilian service - Stories, facts, interiors?

Sun Jun 20, 2021 3:01 pm

I believe the single vertical tail would have been applied to Army Air Force B-24s as well had production continued further.

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