Douglas C-133 Cargomaster
|C-133B Cargomaster N199AB was the last of the type to fly when it was delivered from Ted Stevens International Airport to Travis Air Force Base for preservation in 2008|
|The United States Air Force gave Douglas two development contracts in
the early 1950s to provide it with an airlifter based on the emerging turboprop
technology. The C-132 did not progress beyond the mock-up stage, but the
smaller C-133 won an initial order for 12 aircraft.
No prototype was built and the first production machine, a C-133A, flew for the first time on April 23, 1956. The type differed considerably from its C-74 and C-124 predecessors, notably in having a shoulder-mounted wing and main landing gear units housed in external pods. These characteristics left the fuselage uncluttered and low enough to the ground for easy loading through a rear ramp.
The first of 35 C-133As was delivered in August 1957 and was powered by four 6,000hp Pratt and Whitney T-34-P-3 turboprops. Later aircraft had 7,100hp T-34-P-7W powerplants with water injection. The last three aircraft had clamshell doors, as opposed to upper and lower sections on earlier models, and this enabled Titan missiles to be carried. Fifteen C-133Bs retained the clamshell doors and had uprated engines.
The 50 aircraft gave sterling service during the Vietnam War but were withdrawn prematurely in 1971 due to fatigue problems. One civil operated aircraft made the last flight of the type in 2008 when it was delivered from Anchorage, Alaska, to the museum at Travis Air Force Base in California.
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