Aircraft, Airport, Aircraft Specification

Convair C-131

Convair C-131

The Famous C-131 Samaritan

Samaritan? This is not just a sympathetic person who resides in Nablus or, the Child of Israel. This is not just a person who is debated if a Jew or an Arab or a Jordanian or an Israeli. Uh- huh! The word “Samaritan” is also the name attached to the American military transport Convair C-131. This highly conventional aircraft “the C-131” was a military version of the Convair CV-240. A total of 512, Convair C-131, were built between 1954-1956. The C-131, introduced in 1950, retired in 1990.

A U.S. Navy Convair C-131F Samaritan (BuNo 141000) from Fleet Tactical Support Squadron VR-30 Providers in flight

Convair C-131, replaced the Douglas DC-3

The C-131 was a production requirement by American Airlines for a harried airliner, to replace the aging Douglas DC-3. It is a twin-engine aircraft powered by 2x Pratt and Whitney R-2800-99. A “Double Wasp” with 2,500 horsepower for each radial piston engine and driving the propeller with three blades. Able to reach a maximum speed of 295 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 255 miles. It has a range of 450 Miles or 725 km, with a service ceiling of 24, 500 ft and a rate of climb of 1,410 ft/min and can accommodate 48 passengers with four crews. The C-131 was in use by the United States Air Force (USAF), the United States Navy (USN) as Operational Support Aircraft (OSA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

A C-131B used by the New Mexico Air National Guard.

Multiple roles in warfare service branches

The United States Air Force (USAF) used the C-131 Samaritan for medical evacuation and VIP transport right up to the late 1970s. On the other hand, the United States Coast Guard continued to use the aircraft until 1983. And the Air National Guard and United States Navy units operated additional C-131 as Operational Support Aircraft (OSA) for Air National Guard flying wings and as naval air station “station aircraft” until 1990. After 36 years of service to the military branches, it was finally laid to rest, and taken over by the C-9 Nightingale used by the United States American Air force USAF. The C-130 Hercules used by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). And the C-12 Hurons used by the United States Navy (USN).

A U.S. Coast Guard Convair HC-131A Samaritan

The Convair C-131 call sign “Air Force One”

The Convair C-131 model aircraft that once enjoyed the most famous call sign: Air Force One might have ended its service. But, this workhorse who served pilots, troops, prisoners, patients, President Nixon, Vice president Gerald Ford and other heads of state will go down in history. And be remembered by all who have flown on it. Not forgetting the FBI, who used this magnificent aircraft for several secret missions and ended nicknaming it Slingshot Airlines. The C-131 has earned its retirement and is now on display in many museums throughout the United States for the public to see and enjoy.

Vice president, Gerald Ford (with pipe) toured the country in a VC-131H

Museums where the Convair C-131 are on exhibitions:

HC-131A – Edward H. White II Memorial Museum – Brooks AFB, Texas
HC-131A – Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum – Pueblo, Colorado
C-131A – Minnesota Air National Guard Museum – Minneapolis, Minnesota
C-131B – Kelly Field Heritage Museum – Lackland AFB, Texas
C-131B – Air Force Armament Museum – Eglin AFB, Florida
C-131D- Air Mobility Command Museum – Dover AFB, Delaware
C-131D- Hill Aerospace Museum – Hill AFB, Utah
C-131D- March Field Air Museum – March AFB, Riverside, California
C-131D- Aerospace Museum of California – California
C-131D – Selfridge Military Air Museum – Selfridge ANG Base, Michigan
C-131D – South Dakota Air and Space Museum – Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota
C-131D – Jimmy Doolittle Air & Space Museum – Travis AFB, California
C-131D – United States Air Force Museum – Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio
C-131F – National Museum of Naval Aviation – NAS, Pensacola, Florida

Convair C-131B La Paz
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