What would you get if a DC-4 made love to a Boeing 747-100 Freighter and they had a child? You would get one interesting looking Aviation Traders Carvair that’s what.
Actually the birth of the Carvair came more from an abundance of left over DC-4’s and a need to replace aging Bristol 170 Freighters used in car ferrying services. They weren’t just getting older, but cars were getting bigger and a larger a aircraft was needed to keep the car ferrying business profitable.
Car ferrying service was popular between England and the rest of Europe. An aircraft was needed that was able to reliably cross the channel while holding enough cars and passengers to be profitable. In the late 1950’s airlines started replacing prop aircraft, like the DC-4, with jet powered Boeing 707s and DC-8s.
To convert the old DC-4s wasn’t too difficult and was relatively inexpensive. They would take the cockpit, raise it and create an upperdeck. Unlike the Bristol 170s which only held three cars and 20 passengers, the Carvairs were able to carry five cars with 25 passengers.
The first Carvair flew on June 21, 1961 and 21 of the aircraft were built. Eight of those aircraft ended up crashing out of their lifetime in different parts of the world. One of the Carvairs, N89FA is based in the US and according to FlightAware she last flew in January 2010.
More good stuff to check out:
* Photos of Aviation Traders Carvair on Airliners.net
* Google maps shows a crashed Carvair in Alaska
* Great website about the Carvair
* Old advertisements on the Carvair’s service
* Video of Carvair