The museum's C-9 was the first delivered to the military airlift command in 1968
In the mid-1960s there was a definite need to replace the propeller-driven C-118 and C-131 aircraft that had been used as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) aircraft since the Korean War. The U.S. Air Force opted to buy a version of the dependable commercial DC-9.
Designated the C-9A Nightingale, this McDonnell Douglas-built aircraft is a medium to long range swept-wing, twin-engine jet transport that can be configured to haul 30 to 40 stretcher patients, 40 ambulatory patients, or a combination of the two.
On a typical mission a C-9 could be dispatched from Scott AFB in Illinois, Ramstein AB in in Germany, or Yokota AB in Japan to fly to civilian or military airstrips, pick up patients, and fly them to hospitals over 1,000 miles away. Twenty C-9s were used as MEDEVAC aircraft with another three C-9Cs used as VIP transports.
The last C-9s were retired in 2005 after a 37-year career.
Manufacturer: McDonnell Douglas
Type: MEDEVAC aircraft
Powerplant: Two 14,510-lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9 turbofan engines
Maximum Speed: 562 mph
Range: 2,063 mi.
Service Ceiling: 33,400 ft
Takeoff Weight: 120,747 lb
Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, flight mechanic, two flight nurses, and three aeronautical technicians
Payload: 30-40 stretcher patients, 40 ambulatory patients, or a combination of the two
Wing Span: 93 ft 5 in
Length: 119 ft 4 in
Height: 27 ft 6 in
Above: C-9s transported both walking and stretcher-bound patients. In addition to being deployed to war zones, they have also helped after natural disasters.
Unlike most freighter versions of airliners, Nightingales retained cabin windows along most of the length of its fuselage.
Standard colors for the C-9A fleet since their introduction has been this gray and white scheme.
The radome carries a weather radar set to enable aircraft to operate in adverse weather conditions.
There are three entrances to the C-9A; two with hydraulic stairways and a third with a large cargo door and elevator for loading stretcher patients.
C-9s were painted with the international Red Cross symbol on their tails.