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Martin 4-0-4

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

Martin 4-0-4
The last airworthy Martin 404 in Pacific Air Lines markings in January 2008 just a few weeks before the last flight of the type.
Role short/medium range airliner
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company
First flight 1950
Introduced 1951
Primary users Eastern Air Lines
Trans World Airlines
Produced 1947-1953
Number built 103
Developed from Martin 2-0-2

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.

Operational history

United States Coast Guard RM-1 in 1958
United States Coast Guard RM-1 in 1958

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 In 1969 they were transferred to the United States Navy and they had both been withdrawn from use by 1970.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.

The last airworthy 4-0-4, an ex TWA aircraft, was ferried to the Planes of Fame Museum in February 2008, where it is on display together with a Martin 2-0-2.



An Eastern Airlines Martin 404 circa 1955
An Eastern Airlines Martin 404 circa 1955
  • Aero Proveedora Proa Ltda
 Dominican Republic
 United States
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 United States

Notable accidents and incidents

Of the 103 aircraft built there have been 23 hull-loss accidents including nine fatal accidents:

  • 19 February, 1955: TWA Flight 260 crashed into the Sandia Mountains, killing the three crew and 13 passengers.
  • 1 April, 1956: TWA Flight 400 crashed on takeoff from Greater Pittsburgh International Airport, 22 of the 36 people aboard the aircraft died.
  • 2 July 1963: Mohawk Airlines Flight 121 crashed during takeoff from Rochester-Monroe airport, killing seven people and injuring 36.
  • 30 May 1970: A 4-0-4 leased to Le High Acres Development Company crashed on take-off at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
  • 2 October, 1970: Wichita State University football team charter flight crashed near Silver Plume, Colorado killing 30 of the 40 people onboard..
  • 19 August 1985: A Compania Area Nacional aircraft destroyed when an engine failed on take-off, La Paz, Bolivia.


Data from

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3 or 4
  • Capacity: 40
  • Length: 74 ft 7 in (22.73 m)
  • Wingspan: 93 ft 3 in (28.42 m)
  • Height: 28 ft 5 in (8.66 m)
  • Wing area: 864 ft² (80.27 m²)
  • Empty weight: 29,126 lb (13,211 kg)
  • Gross weight: 44,900 lb (20,366 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-CB16 radial piston engine, 2,400 hp (1,790 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 312 mph (502 km/h)
  • Range: 1,080 miles (1,783 km)
  • Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,840 m)

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


External links

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Published in July 2009.

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