View Full Version : C-87 Vs. B-24?

7th Oct 2003, 20:37
Dear All,

Just finished reading Earnest Gann's classic "Fate is the Hunter" (again)...

Anyway, in it he says that he was none to happy flying the C-87 indeed an evil bastard contraption, nothing like the relatively efficient B-24 ..He has many other not very complimentary things to say as well.

Here's the question? Were the two aeroplanes (airplanes if you prefer) that much different? Gann certainly says so in no uncertain terms, but in the official specs I can't find that much difference between the B-24D and the C-87, apart from the 25 seat for pax rather than a bomb load.

Rgds BEX

8th Oct 2003, 10:35
BEXIL160, I've got a magazine article stashed away somewhere that goes into some detail on the changes that were made to the B-24 to arrive at a C-87. I'll see if I can locate it. I seem to recall that there was some modification made to the engine superchargers that may have affected the performance, but I could be wrong on that.

8th Oct 2003, 15:52
Thanks, I'm very interesred in what made these two so different.

Gann does mention superchargers, but if that was the only thing making the C87 a "pig", why not just swop the engines for the same as in the B-24 (Engines weren't in that short suppy at the time)

Thanks again.

rgds BEX

10th Oct 2003, 05:13
Hello BEX.
Unfortunately all the information that I could find was an article in the Winter 2000 journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. It describes the conversion from B-24 to C-87, but contains no real information on what would affect the flying qualities enough to make the aircraft a dog.


The author does mention that the control cables had to be rerouted through the top of the aircraft. This could, I suppose, account for a certain amount of control sloppiness. Also, I believe the B-24 wing was an early version of a high aspect ratio, laminar flow airfoil. That type of wing performs better at altitude and not as well down low where most of the cargo flights operated. If indeed the engines were equipped with only a single stage supercharger, (no high blower) I can see why the performance left a lot to be desired. Of course this is pure speculation on my part. :D

You could try airtanker.com for more info. Up until July or August, I believe Hawkins and Powers operated a couple of PB4Y's, the US Navy single tail version of the B-24, in a firebomber role. Sadly, they lost one in an inflight structural failure along with the crew, and the second one has been grounded.

11th Oct 2003, 23:48
Thanks PigBoat, alll very much appreciated.....

The mystery continues....

Best rgds
BEX :ok:

12th Oct 2003, 18:14
I seem to remember reading somewhere that Hawkins & Powers took the P&W R-1830 out of their PB4Ys and replaced them with the more powerful Wright R-2600 (as used in the B-25 Mitchell).

13th Oct 2003, 21:16
There was also the C-109 fuel hauler, using the same airframe , 4*400 gallon fuel tanks were added in the bomb bay, a 102 gallon in the bombardiers compartment in the nose and 3 contoured metal tanks above the bomb bay for another 334 gallons. total of 4,500 usg of fuel (2500 of it could be non aviation) it was known as the C one-oh-boom for obvious reasons.

on the hump routes on average one a week burned at the end of the runway after failing to rotate or overrunning.

However (2 sides every story) the C-87 could reach 28-30,000 feet much higher than the C-47s and C-53s that had preceded it, and it also had guns to fight back against the jap fighters. (er though no trained gunners or gun maintainers)

all the above comes from a good book on the burma china hump.
" Flying the Hump" in original ww2 color
by Jeff Ethell and Don Downie
isbn 076031131