The Martin 4-0-4 is an American pressurized passenger airliner built by the Glenn L. Martin Company. As well as airline use initially in the United States, it was used by the United States Coast Guard and United States Navy as the RM-1G (later as the VC-3A).
Design and development
When production of the earlier Martin 2-0-2 was stopped due to problems with wing structural failure the company decided to re-wing an improved version (which had already flown as the Martin 3-0-3). The new aircraft was the Martin 4-0-4, it had structural changes to the wings, pressurization and lengthened slightly to take 40 passengers. Like the earlier 2-0-2, the 4-0-4 was a cantilever monoplane with a standard tail unit (cantilever tailplane and single vertical stabilizer). It had rear ventral stairs and a retractable tricycle landing gear and was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16 radial piston engines.
First deliveries in 1951 were made to Eastern Air Lines (EAL) who had ordered 60 and Trans World Airlines (TWA) who had ordered 40. The only other new aircraft from the production line were delivered to the United States Coast Guard who had ordered two as executive transports with the designation RM-1G later changed to RM-1 and then in 1962 to VC-3A. In 1969 they were transferred to the United States Navy and they had both been withdrawn from use by 1970. A total of 103 aircraft was built at the Glenn L. Martin factory in Baltimore.
TWA operated their 40 4-0-4s under the name "Skyliner" on scheduled services in the eastern part of the USA between 1 September 1950 and the last flight on 29 April 1961.. EAL operated their 4-0-4s in the eastern USA using the class name "Silver Falcon". The first EAL schedule was flown on 5 January 1952 and retirement came in late 1962.
Later in their airline career, as they became displaced from the EAL and TWA fleets by turbine-powered aircraft, the 4-0-4s became popular with "second level" operators who needed to replace their Douglas DC-3s. One of the last 'major' US airlines with a large fleet of piston engined airliners was Southern Airways who operated 25 model 4-0-4s on a network of scheduled services from Atlanta as at July 1969, mainly ex-Eastern Airlines aircraft.. Southern Airways' last 4-0-4 service was flown on 30 April 1978.
Notable accidents and incidents
Of the 103 aircraft built there have been 23 hull-loss accidents including nine fatal accidents:
Published in July 2009.
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