Goverment Aircraft

The Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express was a transport derivative of the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber.

C-87 Liberator Express

Design

The C-87 was hastily designed in early 1942 to fulfill the need for a heavy cargo and personnel transport with longer range and better high-altitude performance than the C-47 Skytrain, the most widely available United States Army Air Forces transport aircraft at the time. Production began in 1942.

 

The first C-87 prototype was 41-11608. The design included various modifications, including the elimination of gun turrets and other armament along with the installation of a strengthened cargo floor, including a floor running through the bomb bay. The glassed-in bombardier compartment of the B-24 was replaced by a hinged metal cap to allow front cargo loading. A cargo door was added to the port side of the fuselage, just forward of the tail, and a row of windows was fitted along the sides of the fuselage.

 

The C-87 could be fitted with removable seats and racks to carry personnel or litters in place of cargo. In its final configuration, the C-87 could carry between 20 and 25 passengers or 12,000 lbs of cargo. Because of war production bottlenecks and shortages, many C-87 aircraft were fitted with turbosuperchargers producing lower boost pressure and power than those fitted to B-24s destined for combat use, and ceiling and climb rate were accordingly adversely affected.

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Consolidated
C-87 Liberator Express

A damaged B-24D, 42-40355 became what is referred to as the XC-87B with an extended fuselage and low altitude engine packages. This transport, "Pinocchio" as it was known, was later converted to a single tailfin with Privateer-type engine packages. This should not be confused with the cancelled XC-87B project which proposed an armed transport.

  • History

    Role Military transport aircraft

    Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft

    Introduction 1942

    Status Retired

     

  • Primary Users

    Primary users United States Army Air Forces

    Royal Air Force

    United States Navy

    Number built 287

    Developed from Consolidated B-24 Liberator

     

  • Specifications

     

     

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In 1942 and 1943, several C-87 aircraft were converted into VIP luxury passenger transports by adding insulation, padded seats, dividers, and other accommodations. The modified aircraft was capable of carrying 16 passengers, and given the designation C-87A. One C-87A in particular, serial 41-24159, was exclusively converted in 1943 to a presidential VIP transport, the Guess Where II, intended to carry President Franklin D. Roosevelt on international trips. Had it been accepted, it would have been the first aircraft to be used in presidential service, i.e. the first Air Force One.

 

Consolidated

C-87 Liberator Express

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The Consolidated C-87 Liberator Express was a transport derivative of the B-24 Liberator heavy bomber

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