The Convair 340, a 44 seat propliner made its first flight on this day in aviation history.
One of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Convair 340's
The Convair 340 is a variant of and based on the Convair 240. The origin of the Convair 240 family (13 civil variants and 5 military variants) dates back to the late '40s of the last century. American Airlines was looking for a replacement of its Douglas DC-3 fleet.
The first version of what would become the Convair CV-240 was called the Convair Model 110. The Model 110 was a low wing all-metal aircraft with a capacity for 30 passengers in an unpressurised cabin. It featured integrated airstairs to facilitate easy access, without depending on ground- The Convair Model 110 Prototype handling equipment for access. It also had a tricycle landing gear, with a nose wheel. The prototype model 110 flew for the first time on the 8th of July 1946. In the meantime, American Airlines changed its requirements. They wanted 40 seats and a pressurised cabin. The Model 110 was used for development work on what would become the Convair CV-240 before it was broken up in4 1947.
The Convair CV-240 was a 40 seat aircraft with a pressurised cabin powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Radial engines delivering 2400 hp. 176 Convair CV-240 would be built for the civil market. (In service with the United States Air Force the Convar CV-240 and its variants were known as the COnvaor C131 Samaritan)
United Airlines asked Convair for a variant of the CV-240 with a 44 seat capacity and better high altitude performance. Convair stretched the CV-240 to 79' 2" (24.13 meters) an extension of 4 1/2' (1.37 meters) to accommodate the extra row of seats. To improve the high altitude flight characteristics and performance the wingspan was increased from 91' 9" (27.97 meters) to 105' 4" (32.12 meters). KLM Royal Dutch Airlines used the CV-340 to replace the 12 CV-240's it had in its fleet. KLM operated 13 CV-340 aircraft. A total of 209 Convair CV-340 would be produced by Convair. Some specifications for the CV-340;
Length: 79'2 (24.13 meters)
Wingspan: 105' 4" (32.12 meters)
Height: 26' 11" (8.20 meters)
Capacity: 44 passengers
Empty weight: 29.500 lbs (13.375 kg)
MTOW : 47.000 lbs (21.270 kg)
Engines: 2x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16 or CB17 18 cylinder "Double Wasp" Radial engines with a displacement 2800 cu in (46 litres)
Cruise speed: 240 knots (450 kph)
Range: 900 nm (1674 km)
Operational ceiling: 24.000 feet (7200 meters)