Aircraft History

Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitan

In March 1958, the Canadian government ordered ten Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitans for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as a replacement for approximately 100 C-47 Dakotas. The Cosmopolitan was a 48/64 seat medium range transport aircraft capable of carrying a 6,850 kg (14,300 lb) payload.

The Cosmopolitan was originally designed and built by Convair in the United States as the Convair 440. However, when Convair phased out production of the Convair 440 in favour of its new jet powered airliner the design and manufacturing jigs were sold to Canadair in Montreal. Canadair re-engined the Convair 440 with British Napier Eland turboprop engines and designated the aircraft the Canadair 540. The Cosmopolitan airframe had the same modified Convair 440 fuselage as built for the USAF C-131F. It had a cargo door on the left side and the fuselage had been strengthened by increasing the number of under-floor beams. The RCAF took delivery of their first Canadair 540 on 7 January 1960 and promptly christened the aircraft the CC-109 Cosmopolitan.

The majority of the Cosmopolitans were assigned to 412 Squadron at CFB Uplands (Ottawa) where they were used as the RCAF's primary medium range transport. The Cosmopolitan was also a VIP transport, one of which was attached to No. 101 Transport Flight at CFB Shearwater in the 1960's. Single aircraft Cosmopolitan detachments also provided transport for the RCAF NATO Wings in Europe and for RCAF/Canadian Forces personnel at NORAD Headquarters in Colorado Springs.

The Napier engines proved to be unreliable; therefore, in 1966 eight of the ten Cosmopolitans were re-engined with Allison 501-D36 turboprop engines. The remaining two Cosmopolitans were not re-engined because by the time the RCAF ordered the engine changes the company had phased out its re-engine program and the two aircraft were scrapped. One of the re-engined Cosmopolitans was destroyed by fire and the remaining seven continued in RCAF service until retired in June 1994.

Type: Medium range transport

Wing Span: 32.11m (105ft 4in) 

Length: 23.84m (81ft 6in

Height: 8.59m (28ft 2in) 

Range: 3138 km (1960 miles)

Max. Speed: 483 kpm (300mph)

Cruising Speed: 465 kpm (289 mph)

Max. Weight: 25,855 kg (57,000 pounds)

Empty Weight: 13,733 kg (30,275 pounds)

Power Plant: Two Napier Eland NE 1.1 Turboprop engines converted to two Allison 501- D36 Turboprop engines