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Convair 880 CV-880

General Dynamics was officially established on April 24, 1952 by the shareholders of Electric Boat Corporation. General Dynamics acquired Convair from the Atlas Group in March 1953. Over the next 40 years, Convair operated largely as an independent company under the General Dynamics umbrella. It would produce several notable aircraft, including the 880/990 series jetliner, the F-102A, and the B-58 Hustler. In 1961 General Dynamics reorganized into Eastern Group New York and Western Group San Diego. The Western Group housed all aerospace activities and discontinued the Convair label.

The four-engine Convair 880 was nearly the same in configuration as the Boeing 707 a the McDonnell Douglas DC-8. In fact, when seen at the airport, the Convair 880 was often confused with one or the other of the more familiar 707 or DC-8 aircraft. On the Convair 880 airliner, the CJ805 derivative of the J79 engine marked GE's entry into the civil airline market.

The Convair 880 first flew in 1959. The 880 was somewhat smaller and lighter in weight than the 707 and the DC-8. The gross weight of the 880 is 192 700 pounds. The range the aircraft was not intercontinental, and the payloads was lower than those of the Boeing and Douglas aircraft. For these reasons, perhaps, and because the aircraft became available to the airlines somewhat later than the 707 and the DC-8, only a relatively small number of Convair jet transports were built. Total production of the 880 was 65.

Analysts have determined three primary reasons for the early sweep of the jet age. First there was a surplus of aeronautic engineers that had entered into the civilian job market following World War II. Secondly, the economy was on an upsurge and manufacturers were willing to pump millions into research and development. Lastly, there was the air of competition between airlines for control of larger passenger loads and greater air mileage. Pan American World Airways sparked the drive for competition when they ordered a total of forty-five new jet engine planes in October 1955. The first transatlantic flight for Pan Am's new jet -engine Boeing 707 took place on October 26, 1958.

During the latter half of the 1950s, TWA saw a decrease in business. The Super Connies could not compete with the speed and passenger capacity of the Boeing 707s and TWA fell to third place in passenger service across the Atlantic. To compensate for the drop in ranking, TWA concentrated on rapidly intensifying domestic service. On March 20,1959, when jet service finally arrived at TWA, it was on a gamble when it acquired its first and only 707.

Howard Hughes was stubborn about acquiring jet planes for TWA. When he decided to order in a new fleet, he chose the Convair CV-880, also known as the Skylarks and Golden Arrows. Hughes placed the order in June 1956 and the first flight took place on January 27, 1959, three months behind Pan Am. However, TWA ran into financial trouble and Convair 880 service did not begin until January 12, 1961.

Take-off weight87540 kg192995 lb
Empty weight42185 kg93000 lb
Wingspan36.6 m120 ft 1 in
Length39.4 m129 ft 3 in
Height11.0 m36 ft 1 in
Wing area185.8 m22000 sq ft
ENGINE4 x GE CJ-805, 51.8kN
Cruise speed990 km/h615 mph
Range w/max.fuel7100 km4412 miles
Range w/max.payload6400 km3977 miles

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:29:20 ZULU