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de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou



The decision to build the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou was taken in 1956, the object being to develop an aircraft combining the load-carrying capability of the Douglas DC-3 with the STOL performance of the Beaver and Otter.
First flown on 30 July 1958 the de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou is powered by two 1,450hp Pratt & Whitney R-2000 Twin Wasp radials. It can carry 36 troops, 26 paratroops, 22 stretchers, or freight (including vehicles) up to 8,740 lb (3,965 kg) in weight.




The Caribou is a twin-engined high-wing monoplane with full-span double-slotted Fowler flaps and fully-reversible propellers, which allow it to achieve steep approach and very short take-offs and landings. The high wing centre-section has marked anhedral and distinctive high placement of the tail provide easy access to a large cargo compartment, while the low-pressure tyres permit operation on unprepared runways. The rear door was designed as a ramp for items weighing up to 3048kg. The Caribou is not pressurised and is not fitted with auto-pilot or weather radar.




The newly independent Kenya built a small air force, assisted by British advisors. The first planes to be acquired were DHC Beavers and Caribou. Kenyan pilots were trained by the RAF in Britain.


The Canadian army placed an order for two and the US Army followed with five, the US Secretary of Defense waiving a restriction which limited the US Army to fixed-wing aircraft with an empty weight less than 2268kg.

The Caribou served with the RCAF as the CC-108 and with the US Army as the AC-1 (1962 designation CV-2A). As a result of its evaluation of the first five aircraft the US Army adopted the Caribou as standard equipment and placed orders for 159.
The second batch of aircraft was designated CV-2B. Following tension on the border between China and India, the US Army handed over two Caribous to the Indian Air Force in early 1963. In January 1967 the 134 Caribous still in service with the US Army were transferred to US Air Force charge as C-7A and C-7B transports.

A YAC-1 Caribou evaluation aircraft, fourth off the Downsview line and redesignated as a CV-2A in 1962, was used by the 'Golden Knights' parachute team.

Eighteen Caribous were ordered for the RAAF in May 1963 and the first aircraft, A4-134, was handed over at Downsview, Toronto in Februrary 1964. Three aircraft were then ferried by No.38 Sqn crews to Australia via Europe. Three later Caribous on ferry were diverted to form RAAF transport Flight Vietnam.


In total the RAAF received 29 Caribous.
In 1964 three US Army CV-2 Caribou flew Travis AFB, California, via Hawaii, Wake Island, Guam, the Philippines to Vietnam in elapsed time of just under 65 hours. Manned by crews from 10th Air Transport Brigade from Ft. Benning, Ga. The Caribou flew combat missions in South Vietnam. The Army CV-2s were joined by three from the RAAF.

It was the last piston-engined aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force. The Caribou was last operated by No 38 Squadron from RAAF Base Townsville.

In Canadian service the Caribou was replaced by the DHC-5 Buffalo and surplus examples were sold to a number of nations including Colombia, Oman and Tanzania. Many of the Canadian aircraft had been loaned to the United Nations, seeing extensive international service. Production ended in 1973. The DHC-4A model supplanted the DHC-4 on the production line from aircraft no. 24: the two models are very similar apart from the later model's increase in weight, maximum take-off weight of the DHC-4 being 11793kg. Total production was 307.



DHC-4A Caribou
Engines: 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2000-7M Twin Wasp, 1,450 hp / 1081kW
Max take-off weight: 12927 kg / 28499 lb
Empty weight: 8283 kg / 18261 lb
Wingspan: 29.15 m / 96 ft 8 in
Length: 22.12 m / 73 ft 7 in
Height: 9.68 m / 32 ft 9 in
Wing area: 84.72 sq.m / 911.92 sq ft
Max. speed: 348 km/h / 216 mph
Cruise speed: 293 km/h / 182 mph
Service Ceiling: 7560 m / 24800 ft
Range w/max.payload: 389 km / 242 miles
Crew: 2
Passengers: 32



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