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Budd RB-1 Conestoga

The RB-1 Conestoga was a twin-engine, stainless steel cargo aircraft developed for the United States Navy during World War II by the Budd Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It never saw combat, but it introduced design innovations that would be used in future American military cargo aircraft.

At the start of the war, there were concerns about an aluminium shortage, prompting the government to seek aircraft designs using “non-strategic materials,” typically wood.

However, the Budd Company, with its background in designing and building railway passenger cars, chose to use spot-welded stainless steel instead of the traditional riveted aluminium.

The initial 1942 orders for 200 units from the Navy and 600 from the Army seemed promising for the Conestoga.

But the anticipated aluminium shortage did not occur, and due to rising costs and production delays, the orders were drastically cut, leaving only 25 for the Navy.

Ultimately, only 17 aircraft were constructed, with all but one being sent directly to storage and sold as surplus.





9,600 lb (4,400 kg) of payload with 390 US gal (320 imp gal; 1,500 l) of fuel


68 ft (21 m)


100 feet (30 m)


31 ft 9 in (9.68 m)

Wing area

1,400 sq ft (130 m2)

Empty weight

20,156 lb (9,143 kg)

Gross weight

33,860 lb (15,359 kg)

Fuel capacity

994 US gal (828 imp gal; 3,760 l) in three wing tanks


2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp,

14-cylinder air cooled radial engines,

1,200 hp (890 kW) each


3-bladed Hamilton Standard Hydromatic,

11 ft 7 in (3.53 m) diameter constant speed fully feathering propellers.


Maximum speed

197 mph (317 km/h, 171 kn) at 7,500 ft (2,300 m)

Cruise speed

165 mph (266 km/h, 143 kn)

Stall speed

78 mph (126 km/h, 68 kn) fully loaded


700 mi (1,100 km, 610 nmi) normal

Maximum economic range

1,620 mi (1,410 nmi; 2,610 km).


U. S. Warplanes of World War II-R Merriam.

Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E Valencia Rd, Tucson, Arizona, USA.




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