In 1953, an AN/APS-42 weather radar with its distinctive “thimble” radome (the black dome on the nose of the aircraft) was installed. The spectators are looking into the cargo bay, which used a special hoist to load cargo. (U.S. Air Force photo).
Using measurements taken from the original aircraft and photographs, Lt. Col. Howard T. Meek (USAF, Ret) constructed this 1/72 scale model of the XC-99 from scratch using various types of wood. (U.S. Air Force photo).
Using various types of wood, Lt Col Howard T. Meek (USAF, Ret) constructed this 1/72 scale model of the Convair XC-99 from scratch. The Convair XC-99, a transport version of the Convair B-36 bomber, made its first flight in November 1947. Designed to carry 400 troops, 335 litter patients, or 100,000 pounds of cargo, the double-decked XC-99 was powered by six 3,500 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-41 pusher-type engines turning 19-foot reversible-pitch propellers. With a wingspan of 230 feet and a length of 185 feet, the XC-99 had a design gross weight of 320,000 pounds.
Incapable of being refueled in mid-air, the XC-99 had a maximum range of about 8,000 miles with a reduced load. The aircraft required a five-man crew and an equal number of relief crew members for long flights. If placed into production, the XC-99 would have been used to support the Strategic Air Command, but the U.S. Air Force determined that it had no need for such a large cargo aircraft at that time.
Convair briefly considered building a commercial version of the plane, but in the end, Convair built only one XC-99. That aircraft logged more than 7,400 hours of flying time and moved more than 60 million pounds of cargo before making its final flight on March 19, 1957.