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Douglas C-133 Cargomaster

United States (1957)
Picture of Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft
Picture of Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft Picture of Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft
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Before the arrival of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, no transport aircraft could match the hauling capabilities of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 2/26/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Since setting up shop in 1921, the Douglas Aircraft Company emerged as a major aircraft-maker prior to, and during, the World War 2 years (1939-1945). This continued into the Cold War period as the company put out more successful aircraft that included the A-1 "Skyraider" attacker, the A-4 "Skyhawk" navy fighter, and various impressive experimental / research types. Another part of the Douglas aircraft stable became the transport section where its DC-series shined during the Second World War. Douglas continued this tradition in the post-war period by selling the USAF on its C-133 "Cargomaster" turboprop-powered heavy hauler - 50 of the type were produced from the period spanning 1956 to 1961 and these served into the early 1970s.

The C-133 was born from a USAF requirement for a new strategic transport primarily intended for the heavy hauling role. The Douglas approach was to use a high-winged monoplane arrangement for strong inherent lift and to each wing would be fitted two engine nacelles. The tail was raised to allow access to the cargo hold aft and the general fuselage shape was rather simplistic - slim and rounded. The tail unit sported a large, high-reaching single vertical fin with low-mounted horizontal planes. A multi-wheeled tricycle was fitted for ground running and its short legs aided in access to the cargo hold. The flight deck sat at the extreme forward end of the aircraft, affording the pilots excellent vision over the short nose assembly which incorporated a noticeable protrusion.

Rather interestingly, no prototypes were ordered for the C-133 program and the type was quickly inducted into service through the C-133A production models. A first-flight of one of these was had on April 23rd, 1956 and service entry occurred as soon as August 1957. The complete production run of the C-133 was just fifty aircraft and the series was not exported to American allies. Thirty-five of the stock were C-133A production models and the remaining fifteen were made up of the follow-on C-133B.


Picture of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft
Picture of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft


C-133s operated during the Vietnam War (1955-1975) where their heavy haul expertise was put to the test (no other American transport could match its heavy-haul capabilities). The line was in constant use until it was succeeded by the mammoth Lockheed C-5 "Galaxy" jet-powered heavy transport. The C-5 was introduced in June of 1970 and the C-133 was out of service in 1971. During its time aloft, the C-133 managed several air records (both officially and unofficially) for aircraft of its class. Some after-service aircraft went on to see extended lives under the banners of the Cargomaster Corporation and the Foundation for Airborne Relief.

As completed, the C-133 featured a crew of six personnel consisting of two pilots, two flight engineers, a loadmaster, and a navigator. The fuselage measured 157.5 feet in length and the wingspan was 179.7 feet. The tail gave the large aircraft a reach up to 48.2 feet. Empty weight was 109,415lb against an MTOW of 286,000lb. Power was from 4 x Pratt & Whitney T34-P-9W turboprop engines delivering 7,500 horsepower each. This provided a maximum speed of 360 miles per hour with a cruise speed of 322 mph, a range out to 3,560 nautical miles, and a service ceiling up to 32,300 feet.




Cockpit picture from the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft
Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Cockpit Picture


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (359mph).

    Graph average of 300 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Douglas C-133B's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
50
50


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: United States
Year: 1957
Type: Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft
Manufacturer(s): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
Production: 50
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
United States (retired)
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Douglas C-133B model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
6


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
157.48 ft


Meters
48 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
179.79 ft


Meters
54.8 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
48.23 ft


Meters
14.7 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
110,231 lb


Kilograms
50,000 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
275,578 lb


Kilograms
125,000 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
4 x Pratt & Whitney T34-P-9W turboprop engines developing 7,500 horsepower.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
359 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
578 kph


Knots
312 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
4,101 mi


Kilometers
6,600 km


Nautical Miles
3,564 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
32,152 ft


Meters
9,800 m


Miles
6.09 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• C-133A - Initial Production Model; 35 examples.
• C-133B - Second batch production model; 15 examples.