In the spring of 1933, the Army Air Corps tested the prototype Curtiss T-32 "Condor II" twin engine biplane transport. The plane was quickly designed and produced to fill a need for a larger capacity commercial airliner. The Curtiss-Wright company hoped to sell the type before more advanced types being designed entered service (i.e. the Douglas DC-2).
During the early 1930s, the Army General Staff still believed that a large biplane was more reliable than a monoplane aircraft, so two T-32 transports were purchased with the designation YC-30. The plane featured a retractable landing gear operated by electric motors making it among the first transports with retractable landing gear. The YC-30 also had many access panels designed for easy and speedy ground maintenance tasks. The basic structure of the YC-30 was a steel and aluminum alloy framework and fabric covering.
The first YC-30 (S/N 33-320) was received by the Air Corps on May 12, 1933. Both planes were initially used as VIP transports and then as regular staff transports until withdrawn from service in 1938.
Twin engine biplane
Redesignation after testing completed
TECHNICAL NOTES: Engines: Two Wright R-1820-23 radials of 650 hp each Maximum speed: 161 mph Cruising speed: 130 mph Range: 720 miles Service ceiling: 23,000 ft. Span: 82 ft. 0 in.
Length: 50 ft. 4 in. Height: 16 ft. 4 in. Weight: 17,500 lbs. maximum gross weight Crew: Three (pilot, co-pilot, navigator/engineer)
Passenger capacity: 15 Serial numbers: 33-320 and 33-321