Northrop YC-125 Raider
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|National origin||United States|
|First flight||1 August 1949|
|Primary user||United States Air Force|
Design and development
Northrop's first postwar civil design was a three-engined STOL passenger and cargo transport named the Northrop N-23 Pioneer. The Pioneer could carry 36 passengers or five tons of cargo and first flew on 21 December 1946. The aircraft had good performance, but there was little interest due to the availability of cheap war surplus aircraft. The Pioneer was lost in a fatal crash on 19 February 1948 when it lost a new tailfin design in flight. In 1948, the United States Air Force expressed interest in an aircraft of the same configuration and placed an order with Northrop for 23 aircraft, 13 troop transports designated the C-125A Raider and 10 for Arctic rescue work designated the C-125B. With the company designation N-32 Raider the first aircraft flew on 1 August 1949.
The aircraft was powered by three 1,200 hp (890 kW) Wright R-1820-99 Cyclone radial engines. The aircraft could also be fitted with JATO rockets that enabled it to take off in less than 500 feet (150 m). The 13 troop transporters were designated YC-125A in-service and the Arctic rescue version the YC-125B.
Deliveries of the YC-125 to the USAF began in 1950. These aircraft did not serve long as they were underpowered and they were soon sent to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas and relegated to be ground instructional trainers until retired in 1955 and declared surplus.
Most of the surplus aircraft were purchased by Frank Ambrose and sold to bush operators in South and Central America.
- N-23 Pioneer
- Prototype three-engined STOL transport, one built.
- N-32 Raider
- Company designation of military version of the N-23.
- YC-125A Raider
- N-32 with seats for thirty troops, 13 built.
- YC-125B Raider
- Arctic rescue version of the N-32 with twenty stretchers and provision for a ski undercarriage. Ten built (serials 48-618/627).
- Proposed Canadair licensed produced variant from 1949, with 3 x Canadian Pratt & Whitney R-1820 engines. Was redesignated CL-12 in the same year. Project was dropped sometime around early 1950.
- Another proposed Canadair variant. Improvements including the replacement of the three engines with two Allison T56 turboprops were studied. Project abandoned in the early 1950s.
- YC-125A (XB-GEY, former 48-636) is on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
- YC-125B (Serial 48-626, painted as 48-622) is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
Data from National Museum of the US Air Force YC-125B Factsheet
- Crew: 4
- Length: 67 ft 1 in (20.45 m)
- Wingspan: 86 ft 6 in (26.37 m)
- Height: 23 ft 1 in (7.04 m)
- Max takeoff weight: 41,900 lb (19,006 kg)
- Powerplant: 3 × Wright R-1820-99 Cyclone 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
- Propellers: 3-bladed constant-speed propellers
- Maximum speed: 207 mph (333 km/h, 180 kn)
- Cruise speed: 171 mph (275 km/h, 149 kn)
- Range: 1,856 mi (2,987 km, 1,613 nmi)
- Service ceiling: 12,200 ft (3,700 m)
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- Associated Press, "Test Pilot Dies; Crew Bails Out", San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Friday 20 February 1948, Volume LIV, Number 149, page 1.
- "Northrop YC-125 Raider." Pima Air and Space Museum. Retrieved: 12 September 2012.
- Chong, Anthony (2016-06-15). Flying Wings & Radical Things: Northrop's Secret Aerospace Projects & Concepts 1939-1994. Specialty Press. pp. 80, 81. ISBN 978-1-58007-229-8.
- "Northrop YC-125A".
- "1951 Northrop YC-125B".
- "NORTHROP YC-125B RAIDER". NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE US AIR FORCE™. Archived from the original on 30 December 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2019.
- Andrade, John M. U.S Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Leicestershire, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
- The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982–1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1986.