Aviation of World War II
С-87 Liberator Express
C-87 Liberator Express - transport version of the B-24 long-range bomber. During the modifications, all defensive weapons and bomber equipment were dismantled, the glazing of the bow of the bombardier's cockpit was sewn up with metal sheets. In the freed fuselage space, a floor was installed and up to 25 passenger seats were mounted. Rectangular windows were installed along the sides of the fuselage. In the left side of the fuselage there was a large door with dimensions of 1.8 × 1.8 m. In place of the dorsal turret, an astrodome was mounted, respectively, the navigator's cabin was moved to the rear of the cockpit. In place of the tail turret, a metal fairing was installed. The crew usually consisted of four people - the commander, co-pilot, navigator and radio operator.
The transporter was ordered into production under the designation C-87 Liberator Express. All C-87s were assembled at the Consolidated plant in Fort Worth between September 2, 1942 and August 10, 1944. The first 73 C-87s were converted from the remaining Fort Worth B-24Ds. A total of 287 C-87 transports were manufactured. No serial numbers were assigned for the C-87, but there were six different versions of the C-87.
The C-87A was the VIP version of the C-87, a luxury aircraft with only 16 passenger seats, while the aircraft could be equipped with five berths. The first three C-87As were named Gulliver I, Gulliver II and Gulliver III. A total of six aircraft were manufactured: three for the USAAF and three for the US Navy. C-87A # 41-24159 later became President Franklin Roosevelt's first "Air Force One" and was renamed "Guess Where II".
The C-87 was not popular with crews who complained about poor fuel system and engine performance, as well as cockpit equipment. On the plane, fuel leaks from tanks and fires in the air were not uncommon. The C-87 had an ineffective anti-icing system, which was dangerous when icing in the Himalayas. In this regard, the C-87s were decommissioned and replaced with more reliable Douglas C-54 Skymasters.
Up to a range of 1600 km, the average payload is 4500 kg. On transoceanic routes 2700 kg.