Convair CV-240 - CV-640
Convairliner / Metropolitan

Aero Favourite 11

Aero Favourites!
© - All rights reserved - ©

Aero Favourite 11
Convair CV-240 / CV-340 / CV-440 / CV-580 / CV-640
Page 2

About the Convairliner

After World War II Convair (Consolidated Vultee) started developing a new pressurized short-haul airliner in order to satisfy an American Airlines specification for a Douglas DC-3 replacement. The original design was the CV-110, which first flew on July 8, 1946. American, however, considered this aircraft to be too small and asked for a scaled-up version. The result was the CV-240 Convairliner. Because it had two engines and seated forty passengers, it was designated CV-240.
The first flight of the CV-240 was on March 16, 1947. American received its first of seventy-five aircraft on February 28, 1948.

The United States Air Force acquired the CV-240 as a VIP aircraft and for medical evacuation. In USAF-service the aircraft was designated C-131 'Samaritan'. In US Navy service it was designated R4Y. Both air force and navy also used the aircraft as T-29 for navigation training. Convair built 566 CV-240s (176 for the airlines plus 364 T-29s and 26 C-131s).
Convair developed the CV-340 for United Airlines. It had a stretched fuselage for four extra seats. Convair also enlarged the wing for better performance at higher altitudes. The first flight was on 5 October 1951 and delivery to United began in March 1952. 311 CV-340s were built, including 65 C-131s.
The CV-440 named 'Metropolitan' offered a high-density interior for 52 seats. It had improved soundproofing and Convair offered an optional weather radar, which resulted in a longer nose. It flew for the first time on 6 October 1955 and Convair built a total of 199 CV-440s, including 21 C-131s.
The Convairliners appeared very suitable aircraft for conversion with turboprop engines. The turboprop offered many advantages over the earlier piston engines, including better performance and more reliability. The first conversion was done in Britain with Napier Eland engines on a CV-340, which flew for the first time on 9 February 1955. It was designated CV-540. Canadair built ten completely new aircraft with this configuration, as CL-66, but in Canadian Air Force service they were known as CC-109. After Eland production ended in 1962, some converted CV-540 aircraft were reverted by Canadair to piston power plants.
The Convair 580 is a conversion of the CV-340 by PacAero Engineering Corporation in California with Allison 501 D13 turboprops. It flew for the first time on 19 January 1960 and entered service with Frontier Airlines in 1964.
The Convair 600 and 640 are conversions of earlier models with Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines. The CV-600 was a modified CV-240 and started its operational life with Central Airlines in November 1965. The Convair 640 is a conversion of the CV-340 or CV-440. The first aircraft entered service in December 1965 with Caribair.
The Convair 5800 is a conversion of the CV-580 by Kelowna Flightcraft in Canada. It is a 580 stretched by 14ft 3in. These conversions also have a new freight door, digital avionics with EFIS and Allison 501-D22 engines.
A total of 1076 Convairliners was built. About 240 aircraft were converted with turboprop engines. Only a small number is still in service.

Convair CV-580

A Gray Line Air CV-580 with Allison turboprop engines taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale Airport in the early nineties.

Convair 440
This Canadian Convair 440 was used as a corporate aircraft during the 1990s by Executive Airlines. The picture is taken at Miami International Airport.

Convair Convairliner Zantop

Zantop International Airlines CV-640 cargo aircraft with Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops were a common sight for many years at Willow Run Airport near Detroit.

Convair CV-540

This CV-580 in basic Renown Air livery was seen while landing at Miami International Airport during the 1990's.


The US cargo airline Trans Continental Airlines flew several Convairliners converted to freighters. This CV-440 freighter was seen at Willow Run Airport near Detroit in the early 1990's.

1    2    3    4    5