Neha Patil (Editor)

Convair 990 Coronado

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Top speed  999 km/h
Wingspan  37 m
First flight  January 24, 1961
Length  43 m
Engine type  General Electric CJ805
Manufacturer  Convair
Convair 990 Coronado httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons22

1962 jet convair 990 coronado de swissair aterriza en madrid barajas por primera vez landing

The Convair 990 Coronado was an American narrow-body four-engined jet airliner produced by the Convair division of General Dynamics, a stretched version of their earlier Convair 880 produced in response to a request from American Airlines. The 990 was lengthened by 10 ft (3.0 m), which increased the number of passengers from between 88 and 110 in the 880, to between 96 and 121. This was still fewer than the contemporary Boeing 707 (110 to 189) or Douglas DC-8 (105 to 173), although the 990 was 25–35 mph (40–56 km/h) faster than either in cruise.


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Design and development

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American Airlines asked Convair to design an aircraft for coast-to-coast flights, able to fly nonstop from New York to Los Angeles against the wind. They wanted a somewhat larger passenger capacity than the 880, which was the smallest of the first-generation U.S. jet airliners. The 990 began flight testing January 24, 1961.

Convair 990 Coronado The Convair 990 Coronado

One change from the 880 was the large anti-shock bodies on the upper trailing edge of the wings to increase the critical Mach and reduce transonic drag. The inboard shock bodies, which were larger, were also used for additional fuel tankage. Later during the design period, Convair modified the design to include fuel in the outboard pods as well, but during the initial test flights the extra weight caused the outboard engines to oscillate in certain conditions. The pods were redesigned once more, and shortened by 28 inches (710 mm), causing increased drag. The inner set of pods also served a secondary role as fuel dumps for the fuel tanks, and the outlet pipe is prominent.

Convair 990 Coronado Convair 990 Coronado Wikipedia

The engines were also changed to the uprated General Electric CJ-805-23s, which were unique in that they used a fan stage at the rear of the engines, compared to the fan stage at the front of the engine found on the Pratt & Whitney JT3D that powered the 990's competitors. The engine was a simplified, non afterburning civil version of the J79, used in military fighters. Like the J79, the CJ805 was smoky.

Convair 990 Coronado Convair 990A Coronado 30A6 Swissair Aviation Photo 1328965

Like the 880, 990s incorporated a dorsal "raceway" added to the top of the fuselage to house the two ADF antennas and one VHF antenna

Operational history

Convair 990 Coronado Convair CV990 Coronado Photos AirplanePicturesnet

The 990 did not meet the specifications promised and American Airlines reduced their order as a result. The 990A was developed by adding fairings to the engine nacelles, among other changes. Despite the modifications from the basic 880 and those in response to drag problems in testing, the aircraft never lived up to its promise of coast-to-coast nonstop capability from JFK to LAX. American Airlines' timetables show little or no difference in scheduled time between 707 and 990A flights; AA began to dispose of their 990As in 1967.

In 1963 the 990A was reported to burn 13,750 lb/h at Mach 0.84 (483 knots) at 35,000 ft at a weight of 200,000 lb. In contrast, a modern 757 carries up to 220 passengers and burns around 7000 pounds per hour.

Swissair bought eight 990As beginning in 1962, operating them on long-distance routes to South America, West Africa, the Middle and Far East, as well as on European routes with heavy traffic. Their fleet was withdrawn from service in 1975. Scandinavian Airlines also operated Coronados on their long-haul schedules to Tokyo and other destinations in the Far East.

The 990's niche was soon captured by the Boeing 720 and Boeing 720B, derivatives of the Boeing 707, and later by the Boeing 727. By the time the assembly line shut down in 1963, only 37 990s had been produced, bringing General Dynamics' entire production of commercial jet airliners to 102 airframes. The failure of airlines to broadly accept the Convair 880 and 990 led Convair to suffer what at the time was one of the largest corporate losses in history, although they later profitably built fuselages for the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, KC-10 and MD-11.

When the major airlines retired their Convair 990s, they found a second life on charter airlines. Spantax of Spain had a large fleet until the mid-1980s and so did Denver Ports of Call. In 1967, Alaska Airlines purchased Convair 990 PP-VJE from Varig, and operated it as N987AS in scheduled airline service until 1975.


  • 990 : Initial production version.
  • 990A : Higher cruising speed and longer range.
  • Operators

  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aerolíneas Peruanas S.A.* Aerolineas Peruanas operated two Convair 990As from Callao International Airport, Lima.
  • Air France (one aircraft leased in 1967)
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines*
  • AREA (Ecuador)
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Ciskei International Airways
  • Denver Ports of Call
  • Iran Air
  • Garuda Indonesian Airways*
  • Internord Aviation
  • Lebanese International Airways
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Modern Air Transport
  • NASA
  • Nomads Travel Club
  • Nordair
  • Northeast
  • SAS*
  • Spantax
  • Swissair*
  • Thai Airways International
  • Varig* / Real-Aerovias
  • *Original operators.

    Accidents and incidents

  • May 30, 1963: An American Airlines Convair 990 (N5616) burned out on the ground while parked at Newark International Airport.
  • May 28, 1968: A Garuda Indonesian Airways Convair 990 (PK-GJA) crashed in a nearly vertical attitude, minutes after takeoff from Bombay-Santacruz Airport outside Mumbai, India, killing all 29 passengers and crew on board and one person on the ground. The aircraft was departing for Karachi, Pakistan.
  • January 5, 1970: A Spantax Convair 990 (EC-BNM) crashed at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport outside Stockholm, Sweden while taking off on a three-engine ferry flight to Zürich, Switzerland, killing five of seven passengers; the three crew members survived.
  • February 21, 1970: Swissair Flight 330 crashed near Würenlingen, Switzerland while trying to return to the airport after a bomb detonated in the aft cargo compartment, killing all nine crew and 38 passengers.
  • August 8, 1970: A Modern Air Transport Convair 990 (N5603) was being ferried from New York to Acapulco when it crashed on approach to Alvarez International Airport, Mexico, killing one of eight crew.
  • December 3, 1972: Spantax Flight 275 a Convair 990 (EC-BZR), crashed at Los Rodeos Airport on the island of Tenerife while taking off in almost zero visibility, killing all seven crew and 148 passengers.
  • March 5, 1973: The 1973 Nantes mid-air collision occurred when Spantax Flight 400, a Convair 990, on a flight from Madrid to London was involved in a midair collision with Iberia Flight 504, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9, over Nantes. The Convair 990 lost part of its left wing, but its pilots managed to land safely at Cognac – Châteaubernard Air Base. The DC-9 crashed killing all 68 passengers and crew on board.
  • April 12, 1973: A U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C (157332) operating from NAS Moffett Field in Sunnyvale, California collided with a NASA Convair 990 (N711NA) during approach to runway 32R. The aircraft crashed on the Sunnyvale Municipal Golf Course, half a mile short of the runway, resulting in the destruction of both aircraft and the deaths of all aboard except for one Navy crewman.
  • July 17, 1985: A NASA Convair 990 (N712NA) suffered a blown tire during take-off at a speed of around 140 knots at Riverside-March AFB, CA. While attempting to clear the runway, the rim shattered and caused a puncture of the right-wing fuel tank forward of the right main gear. All 19 occupants survived but the subsequent intense fire destroyed the plane, its equipment, and documentation.
  • Survivors

  • 30-10-2 – In storage at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. This aircraft was formerly operated by Aérolíneas Peruanas.
  • 30-10-5 – Cockpit in storage at a scrapyard in Tucson, Arizona.
  • 30-10-12 – On display at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne, Switzerland. This aircraft was formerly operated by Swissair.
  • 30-10-18 – Forward fuselage preserved at Sabadell Airport in Sabadell, Spain for cabin crew training. This aircraft was formerly operated by Spantax.
  • 30-10-29 – On display as a gate guardian at Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, California. This aircraft was formerly operated by American Airlines, Modern Air Transport, and NASA.
  • 30-10-30 – In storage at Palma de Mallorca Airport in Palma, Majorca since 1987. This aircraft was formerly operated by Spantax.
  • Specifications (Convair 990A)

    Data from Macdonald Aircraft Handbook

    General characteristics

  • Crew: Four
  • Capacity: 149 passengers
  • Length: 139 ft 9 in (42.5 m)
  • Wingspan: 120 ft (36.6 m)
  • Height: 39 ft 6 in (11 m)
  • Wing area: 2,250 sq ft (209 m²)
  • Empty weight: 113,000 lb (51,256 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 253,000 lb (111,674 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × General Electric CJ805-23B turbofans, 16,050 lbf (71.4 kN) each
  • Performance

  • Maximum speed: 621 mph (540 kn, 1,000 km/h) at 21,200 ft (6,460 m)
  • Cruise speed: 557 mph (484 kn, 896 km/h) at 35,000 ft (10,668 m)
  • Range: 3,595 mi (3,124 nmi, 5,785 km)
  • References

    Convair 990 Coronado Wikipedia