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History, Specifications, Prototype

Brief History
Shortly after World War II the English aircraft manufacturer Bristol created the first postwar transport plane. The twin engine Bristol 170 "Freighter" could carry both passengers (upto 20) and freight (upto 3 passenger cars). In this mixed passenger / car configuration, the Freighter was used for air ferry services between England and the European continent.

The capacity of the Bristol however became insufficient. Developing a completely new aircraft specifically for the ferry service needs was economically not feasible. However in the late fifties and early sixties many airlines were replacing their piston-engined equipment by jets so there were many inexpensive second hand aircraft available. Hence the approach of modifying existing planes to carry both cars and passengers across the Channel. The Southend, England based company Aviation Traders designed the Carvair (Car-via-Air) in response to Channel Air Bridge's requirement for a Bristol Freighter replacement.

The prototype first flew on the 17th of June, 1961 and ultimately 21 Carvairs were built from 1961 until 1968. Over the years the Carvair was used mostly as a full freighter plane. Currently only three airworthy samples remain.

Technical Description
The Carvair is based on the Douglas DC-4, a plane that was built in large numbers in the 1940's. The airframe from the wings rearward is that of a standard DC-4 exept for the vertical tail. This had to be lengthened due to the enlarged fuselage (2,63m longer than the standard DC-4) and subsequently became similar in size to that of a DC-7. The most obvious change is the location of the cockpit. This was set atop the fuselage to simplify the loading of cars: a large freight door was installed where the cockpit was. This resulted in a large, bulbous nose giving the Carvair it's typical appearance and enabling the transport of 5 cars and 23 passengers simultanously.
Carvair Specifications
Wingspan : 35.8m - Length : 31.3m - Height : 9.1m
Weight (empty) : 18.762kg - Weight (max) : 33.475kg
Maximum Speed : 350km/h - Service Ceiling : 5.800m
Range (maximum payload) : 3.400km
Power Plants : four 1.080kW Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7M2 Twin Wasp radial engines

Carvair prototype @ Geneva by Keith Evans
These photo's are from the early sixties, sent to me by Mr Keith Evans in March 2009. Another unique contribution to the site!

"Hello Paul, I lived in Southend in the early 60s, when my father worked at the airport for Channel Air Bridge. My first flight ever was in a Bristol Freighter from SEN to Ostend at the age of 5. I have attached a couple of pictures taken by my father of the prototype Carvair G-ANYB on it's proving flight to Geneva in 1962. Please feel free to use these pictures on your Carvair website. Cheers, -Keith."

Prototypes (that were never built)
The following side views were made by Fernand Van de Plas and show the prototypes that Aviation Traders had on the drawing boards. These planes were based on the DC-6 but unfortunately never built.