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Douglas C-133 Cargomaster


Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft


United States | 1957



"Before the arrival of the Lockheed C-5 Galaxy, no transport aircraft could match the hauling capabilities of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster."



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 02/26/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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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.

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Cockpit
While traditional jobs involve workstations, office desks, or cubicles, aircraft provide operators with their own unique, ever-changing view of the world below.
Cockpit image
[ Click to Enlarge ]
Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Douglas C-133B Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft.
4 x Pratt & Whitney T34-P-9W turboprop engines developing 7,500 horsepower.
Propulsion
359 mph
578 kph | 312 kts
Max Speed
32,152 ft
9,800 m | 6 miles
Service Ceiling
4,101 miles
6,600 km | 3,564 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Structure
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Douglas C-133B Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft.
6
(MANNED)
Crew
157.5 ft
48.00 m
O/A Length
179.8 ft
(54.80 m)
O/A Width
48.2 ft
(14.70 m)
O/A Height
110,231 lb
(50,000 kg)
Empty Weight
275,578 lb
(125,000 kg)
MTOW
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
RANGE
ALT
SPEED
Variants
Notable series variants as part of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster family line.
C-133A - Initial Production Model; 35 examples.
C-133B - Second batch production model; 15 examples.
Operators
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 50 Units

Contractor(s): Douglas Aircraft Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (retired) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (359mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Production Comparison
50
36183
44000
Entry compared against Ilyushin IL-2 (military) and Cessna 172 (civilian) total production.
MACH Regime (Sonic)
Sub
Trans
Super
Hyper
HiHyper
ReEntry
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
EarlyYrs
WWI
Interwar
WWII
ColdWar
Postwar
Modern
Future
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Image of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster
Image courtesy of C.T. of the C-133 Project via email
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Image of the Douglas C-133 Cargomaster

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
TRANSPORT
Recognition
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Douglas C-133 Cargomaster Heavy-Lift Military Transport Aircraft appears in the following collections:
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