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doulasc
Topic Author
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Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 2:30 am

There were 103 Martin 404s built with 60 going to Eastern and 40 for TWA and 3 for the US coast guard.Production
ran from 1950-1953. Most other airlines ordered the Convair 340/440 for their short range aircraft.These planes were
meant to replace the DC-3.I am curious as to why the Martin 404 did not get more orders from other airlines.
 
rugger
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:07 am

I know Martin had problems with the predecessor aircraft the Martin 202. It had structural problems with a few of them losing their wings in flight. Maybe the reputation hindered future sales of the successor.

The Convairliners, as they were known as back then had a bunch of money saving advantages over the Martin. For example most parts that go on the left side of the aircraft wil also fit on the right side. This reduces the spares inventory an airline has to carry for the aircraft. Even though they both seated about the same number of passengers, the Convair was slightly more modern than the Martin was.

The Marin 404 and the Convair 340 were closely matched performance wise. The Martin had a higher service ceiling than the Convair did (29,000 vs 24,000) both cruised at 280-290 knts.

The Martin 404 had a very small flight deck. You had to be a contortionist to get into either of the pilot seats. The throttle quadrant got in the way while trying to seat yourself. The ceiling was low. The Convair had a more roomy cockpit.

[Edited 2015-07-16 20:08:50]
 
bohica
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 4:14 am

The problem for the Martin 404 was the Martin 202. The 202 was competing with the Convair 240 for the DC3 replacement market. The Convair 240 was pressurized, the Martin 202 was not. Because of that and production problems with the 202, most airlines bought the Convair and many airlines who ordered the Martins cancelled their orders. The structural problems with the 202 didn't help either.

The Martin 404 was an improved 202 with pressurization. By the time it came out most airlines were committed to the Convair product. The 404 was too little too late.
 
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scbriml
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 5:23 am

Quoting Rugger (Reply 1):

I know Martin had problems with the predecessor aircraft the Martin 202. It had structural problems with a few of them losing their wings in flight. Maybe the reputation hindered future sales of the successor.

It's not much of a selling point, is it?

The 404 was not a bed looker, pretty similar to the Convairs:

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rugger
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:25 am

The Martin 404 was not a bad looking aircraft at all. Once in service they had decent dispatch reliability. Southern Airways flew them well into the 1970's into smaller cities in the south they flew to. Mostly hub to small city flights. They used the M404 as a replacement for the DC3.

With a drop down tail stairway they were self contained for use in airports that didn't have stairways. I had flown on Southern's M404s a number of times. The things I remember most was that the seats were up on a platform maybe 4 or 5 inches above the floor of the aisle. When you stood in the aisle you felt like you were standing in a hole or something.

As for the Convairliner almost everyone flew those at one time or another. They turned out to be very versatile aircraft.
And turboproping them even extended their lifetime and usefulness by many years.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:23 pm

Great comments form the previous posters. I flew the Martin for about six months with ASA or Aeronaves Sud Americana out of VNY. Good airplane. I recall that the radar scope inserted into the hole in the pedestal where the ashtray originally went. Talk about minimal.
 
sfjeff
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 8:42 pm

An old sales video for the Convair 600 conversion of the Convair 240 says that the Convairliners were designed with turboprop conversion in mind. I've never heard of a turboprop conversion of the Martin 404. Was there one? Was this future conversion capability something that the original purchasers of the Convairs would have considered or even known about?
Jeff in Málaga
 
nry
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 9:24 pm

Quoting doulasc (Thread starter):
Martin 404

Because no one could find it?

  
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BravoOne
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:22 pm

There were two different conversions for the CV, One was the RR Dart and the other was the Allison 501. The CV240 could not handle the more powerful Allison and was restricted to Dart conversion. I had occasion to fly the prototype CV240 when it belonged to Litton Industries. They used it as a research platform. It had been a Dart conversion, but when Litton had it the Darts had been replaced by the PW2800'
 
mkdavisA330
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:29 pm

Martin began development of a turboprop version, designated 303. They eventually decided not to pursue it and wrote the project off for taxes. I've not been able to find any information about it...
 
WA707atMSP
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 10:46 pm

Quoting mkdavisA330 (Reply 9):
Martin began development of a turboprop version, designated 303.

The original Martin 303 wasn't a turboprop, it was a version of the 202 that United ordered. United cancelled their order before delivery, and switched to the Convair 340.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:07 pm

Side note here. Frank Sinatra had a very nice M404 for his personal use. Decked with a piano bar no less. I think it finally went ot the President of Mexico. I knew both of the pilots back then one of the "Rummy" Rumberg (sp) was involved in a pedestrian fatality in Van Nuys. Big scandal and news story back. Today it wouldn't make the back page in LA.

[Edited 2015-07-17 16:36:56]
 
Viscount724
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:54 am

Quoting Rugger (Reply 4):
With a drop down tail stairway they were self contained for use in airports that didn't have stairways.

As did almost all Convairs. If memory correct, only a few 240s lacked airstairs. I believe all 340s and 440s had forward airstairs. The 240 had 3 door options...a regular door without airstairs at the left rear, forward airstairs on the right side (launch customer AA's requirement to match their DC-3s which also had a right-side door), and rear ventral airstairs. I don't think many had the ventral stairs (Western Airlines was one), and I can only recall the no-airstairs option being chosen by Pan Am.

The forward airstairs was moved from the right side to the more usual left side on the 340 and 440.
 
BravoOne
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:21 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 12):
. I don't think many had the ventral stairs (Western Airlines was one), and I can only recall the no-airstairs option being chosen by Pan Am.

Western had an inflight explosion due to a passenger inserting an explosive device in the shaver outlet in the rear lav. It was thought that that the additional structure involved with the ventral stair kept the tail from blowing off the airplane. The crew made a successful landing at George AFB with no injuries other than one lass passenger
 
sparky35805
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 1:22 am

TWA and Eastern wanted an aircraft superior to the Convair 240.Convair told them that they would be happy to sell them 240s,so they turned to Martin.Martin agreed to build the 404 which was a stretched,pressurized version of the 202.They also sold TWA twelve 202s from unfinished airframes of cancelled orders.These had some improvements and higher weight than the standard 202 and were known as 202A's.They were available for Summer of 1950 delivery so TWA could retire their five 307 Stratoliners.The 404 deliveries started for both TWA and Eastern in 1951 .
Convair then decided that they would improve the 240 when United and Braniff came calling and the 340 was born.A great aircraft,but like the 240,it suffered from excessive cabin noise.This was improved with the 440,but it was still noisy in the cabin.
Eastern operated both type through here (HSV) .The Martins did not have weight restrictions from our 5000 ft runway,but in the summer,if take off was south over a hill,at least four seats would have to be empty on the 440.If you talked to ten pilots,five would tell you they liked the 440 and the other five,the Martin.Eastern had sixty Martins and Southern would later operate twenty five ex Eastern 404s from 1951-1962 for Eastern and 1961-1978 for Southern without a passenger fatality.With operations in all kind of weather,especially thunder storms in the south,and numerous take off and landings at small airports each day,not a bad saftey record.
 
nikeherc
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 2:26 am

I was on a Piedmont 404 in the summer of 1967. The flight was a puddle jumper from GSO to ORF. It was a foggy, rainy night and shortly after takeoff from Rocky Mount, water vapor began condensing as it came out of the cabin air vents. An older woman shouted "We're on fire". The male flight attendant jokingly replied "Sure looks like it." He then proceeded to offer the traditional Piedmont choice of "coffee, tea or bullion."

Those were the days.
DC6 to 777 and most things in between
 
sparky35805
Posts: 211
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:12 am

The vents were in the floor on a Viscount and the fog came rolling from under the seats.
 
crownvic
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 3:56 am

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 8):
There were two different conversions for the CV, One was the RR Dart and the other was the Allison 501. The CV240 could not handle the more powerful Allison and was restricted to Dart conversion. I had occasion to fly the prototype CV240 when it belonged to Litton Industries. They used it as a research platform. It had been a Dart conversion, but when Litton had it the Darts had been replaced by the PW2800'

Actually, there were 3 conversions, if you include the Eland Napier engines, that were short lived.

Quoting nikeherc (Reply 15):
I was on a Piedmont 404 in the summer of 1967. The flight was a puddle jumper from GSO to ORF. It was a foggy, rainy night and shortly after takeoff from Rocky Mount, water vapor began condensing as it came out of the cabin air vents. An older woman shouted "We're on fire". The male flight attendant jokingly replied "Sure looks like it." He then proceeded to offer the traditional Piedmont choice of "coffee, tea or bullion."

This was a common trait of the A/C on all Martins and F/As frequently would warn passengers not to worry.
 
milesrich
Posts: 1508
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2003 2:46 am

RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 6:34 pm

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 10):

Quoting mkdavisA330 (Reply 9):
Martin began development of a turboprop version, designated 303.

The original Martin 303 wasn't a turboprop, it was a version of the 202 that United ordered. United cancelled their order before delivery, and switched to the Convair 340.
Quoting sparky35805 (Reply 14):

TWA and Eastern wanted an aircraft superior to the Convair 240.Convair told them that they would be happy to sell them 240s,so they turned to Martin.Martin agreed to build the 404 which was a stretched,pressurized version of the 202.They also sold TWA twelve 202s from unfinished airframes of cancelled orders.These had some improvements and higher weight than the standard 202 and were known as 202A's.They were available for Summer of 1950 delivery so TWA could retire their five 307 Stratoliners.The 404 deliveries started for both TWA and Eastern in 1951 .
Convair then decided that they would improve the 240 when United and Braniff came calling and the 340 was born.A great aircraft,but like the 240,it suffered from excessive cabin noise.This was improved with the 440,but it was still noisy in the cabin.
Eastern operated both type through here (HSV) .The Martins did not have weight restrictions from our 5000 ft runway,but in the summer,if take off was south over a hill,at least four seats would have to be empty on the 440.If you talked to ten pilots,five would tell you they liked the 440 and the other five,the Martin.Eastern had sixty Martins and Southern would later operate twenty five ex Eastern 404s from 1951-1962 for Eastern and 1961-1978 for Southern without a passenger fatality.With operations in all kind of weather,especially thunder storms in the south,and numerous take off and landings at small airports each day,not a bad saftey record.

The Martin 202 was a competitor of the Convair 240, and did not compete very well. It was smaller, unpressurized, and had structural problems. The Martin had a lot of orders, but production delays and economic conditions caused cancellation of most of the orders before Northwest started operating the airplane and experienced metal fatigue problems on low hours airplanes. United canceled 303s in 1947 and didn't order the Convairs for four years.

American originally ordered 100 Convair 240s, but reduced the order to 75 when post war air traffic did not materialize as they expected. United originally rejected the 240 because they were concerned about its range and its ability to operate from high-hot airports.

TWA and Eastern ordered the 404 long before Convair agreed to build the 340. In fact, it was losing those two orders that helped convince Convair that they would have to build a bigger airplane if they were going to sell any more Convair twins. But Martin did not enlarge the 404 sufficiently to attract more orders, and when the EA and TW orders were complete, the line was shuttered, so two years later, Convair with its 340 and later 440 was the only game in town. Additionally, I think the success of the 240 and the failure of the 202, probably discouraged other carriers from considering Martin. And the committments they made to TWA and Eastern did not allow to them to promise early delivery dates to other airlines either. United put the 340 into service in late 1952, long after the 404 line had been shut down. And the 340 carried an additional passengers for little or no extra cost.
 
airtechy
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 7:36 pm

I flew the Southern 404 out of the old Huntsville airport several times. Wasn't there a tower located close in almost directly in line with the centerline of the runway.....and a rock quarry off the end?   

Jim
 
BravoOne
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RE: Why Didn't The Martin 404 Sell Well

Sat Jul 18, 2015 8:04 pm

Great to hear these stories from those in the know  I had no idea what the history of the 404 was other than the M202 was not a successful aircraft design.

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