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C-9 Skytrain

A US Navy C-9 Skytrain in flight.

The McDonnell Douglas C-9 is a military version of the DC-9. It was produced as the C-9A Nightingale for the United States Air Force, and the C-9B Skytrain II for the U.S. Naval Reserve and Marine Corps. The final active-duty flight of the C-9A Nightingale was in September 2005.[1] The Boeing C-40 Clipper is replacing the Navy Reserve's aging C-9B fleet.[2][3]

Design and development[]

The US Air Force C-9A Nightingale aircraft were used

3 1 (16)

for medical evacuation (MedEvac), passenger transportation, and special missions from 1968-2005.

The C-9B aircraft provided cargo and passenger transportation as well as forward deployed air logistics support for the Navy and Marine Corps. A C-9B was chosen by NASA for reduced gravity research,[4] replacing the aging KC-135 Vomit Comet.

Many of the Navy's C-9Bs have a higher maximum gross take-off weight (114,000 lb or 52,000 kg) and are fitted with auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the lower cargo hold to augment the aircraft's range to nearly 2,600 nautical miles (4,200 km) for overseas missions along with tail mounted infra-red (IR) scramblers to counter heat seeking missile threats in hostile environments.

The C-9 fleet was located throughout the continental U.S., Europe, and Asia.[5]


  • C-9A Nightingale - 23 aeromedical evacuation aircraft for the United States Air Force received from 1968.[6]
  • C-9B Skytrain II - 24 convertible passenger/transport versions for the United States Navy and Marine Corps delivered from 1973 to 1976. An additional five C-9s were converted from passenger configured DC-9s.[6]
  • VC-9C - 3 executive transport aircraft for the United States Air Force.[6] Three aircraft (73-1681, 73-1682, 73-1683) were delivered to the US Air Force in late 1976.
  • C-9K - 2 aircraft for the Kuwait Air Force.[6]


  • Kuwait Air Force


See also[]

Related develoment

Similar aircraft


  1. "Historic C-9 heads to Andrews for retirement", US Air Force, 24 September 2005.
  2. C-40A Clipper history page, US Navy, 16 November 2000.
  3. "C-9B Skytrain II Completes 30 years of Continuous Fleet Support", US Navy, 2 June 2003.
  4. The History of C-9B Reduced Gravity Research Program, NASA/JSC, March 25, 2008
  5. C-9 Skytrain fact file, US Navy, 15 April 2005.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Becher, Thomas. Douglas Twinjets, DC-9, MD-90, MD-90 and Boeing 717, pp. 170-176, Crowood Press, Aviation Series, 2002. ISBN 1-86126-446-1.

External links[]