Convair 990


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The Convair 990 was produced in response to American Airlines requirement for a larger airliner than the Convair 880. Only 37 Cv-990s were manufactured from 1961 to 1963.

American Airlines was the primary U.S. customer for the Cv-990. Swissair, VARIG, and Garuda Indonesian Airways were among the early foreign operators of the Cv-990. Scandanavian Airlines System ordered several Cv-990s, but did not take up most of their orders. Some Cv-990s found their way to service in South America with Aerolineas Peruanas SA.


Save the last airworthy Convair 990!

The last airworthy Convair 990 is in danger of being scrapped at El Paso International Airport, Texas. Check out the situation at the Convair 990 Preservation Project web site.


  Convair 880 Convair 990 Boeing 707-120 Douglas DC-8
Wing Span 120 ft. 120 ft. 130 ft. 10 in. 142 ft. 5 in.
Length 129 ft. 4 in. 139 ft. 5 in. 144 ft. 6 in. 150 ft. 6 in.
Passengers 88 - 110 96 - 121 110 - 189 105 - 173
Maximum Cruise Speed 615 mph 610 mph 585 mph 579 mph

Following their retirement from airline service, NASA made use of several Cv-990s as airborne observation platforms and research aircraft.

Convair 990, N5617 at NAS Moffett in August 1975, shortly after its acquisition by NASA Convair 990, N5617 at NAS Moffett in August 1975, shortly after its acquisition by NASA. Its Convair airframe number is 30-10-29. It was delivered to American Airlines in May 1962 as N5617. Modern Air Transport purchased it in 1968. NASA acquired it for use at Ames Research Center in May 1975 and registered it as N713NA. NASA later re-registered it as N710NA.

The fuselage of Convair 990, N7876 at NAS Moffett in August 1975, shortly after its acquisition by NASA The fuselage of Convair 990, N7876 in use by NASA at NAS Moffett in August 1975. Its Convair airframe number is 30-10-4. Initially it served Convair as a Cv-990 demonstrator, registered as N5604G. It was delivered to Garuda Indonesian Airways as PK-GJB, Sriwijaja on October 23, 1963. It was purchased by California Airmotive Corporation in June 1973 and registered as N7876. It crashed on the Jakarta Guam leg of its delivery flight to the U.S. on September 10, 1973. Under the nose someone has spray painted Robinson Caruso NAS (sic).

Link to the Aviation Safety Network's account of the crash of N7876 at Guam.

Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California on March 27, 1980 Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California on March 27, 1980. Its Convair airframe number is 30-10-2. It was the second Convair 990 built and flew for the first time on January 30, 1961. It served Convair as a Cv-990 demonstrator, registered as N5602G. It was delivered to Garrett Airesearch on July 8, 1964 which leased it to Aerolineas Peruanas SA (APSA) on February 1, 1965. F. B. Ayer and Associates purchased it from APSA on August 21, 1973. It was stored at Tucson IAP, Arizona until 1980, when it was sold to Gulfstream American Corporation and flown to Mojave.

Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California on May 3, 1980 Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California on May 3, 1980. Gulfstream American has already pulled the engines. It is still sitting in the desert sun at Mojave.

Convair 990, N990AC at Marana, Arizona on December 30, 1981 Convair 990, N990AC at Marana, Arizona on December 30, 1981. Its Convair airframe number is 30-10-5. It was ordered by Scandanavian Airlines System as OY-KVA but not taken up. Convair registered it as N8484H before delivering it to APSA on November 13, 1963. APSA registered it as OB-OAG-728 and later OB-R-728. F. B. Ayer and Associates purchased it from APSA in August 1973, re-registered it as N990AC, and sold it to General Dynamics Corporation, which flew it to Marana, Arizona and parked it. It was purchased by NASA in May 1982.

Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983 Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983. Its Convair airframe number is 30-10-37. It was the penultimate Cv-990. It was delivered to Garuda Indonesian Airways as PK-GJC, Majapakit on September 3, 1963. It was purchased by California Airmotive Corporation in June 1973 and registered as N7878. This Cv-990 survived its delivery flight to the U.S.

The original Galileo, N711NA was lost in a mid-air collision with a P-3 Orion on approach to NAS Moffett on April 12, 1973. NASA acquired N712NA to replace Galileo on September 4, 1973.

Link to VP-47's account of the crash of Galileo, N711NA at NAS Moffett.

Following an aborted take-off at March AFB, California on July 17, 1985, Galileo II caught fire and burned.

Link to the Aviation Safety Network's account of the burning of Galileo II, N712NA at March AFB.

Note that the slipper tanks on N712NA are painted black while they are painted gray on N710NA in the background.

Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II and N710NA at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983 Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II and N710NA at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983. N710NA was used at the Ames Research Center until 1983 when it was withdrawn from use. It was stored at Marana, Arizona until it was refurbished in 1989 for use at the Dryden FRC, where it was registered as N810NA. After serving as the Landing Systems Research Aircraft in 1993 and 1994, it was retired to Mojave.

Link to NASA Dryden's Landing Systems Research Aircraft Fact Sheet.

Link to NASA Dryden's Landing Systems Research Aircraft Photo Gallery.

Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983 Convair 990, N712NA Galileo II at NAS Moffett on July 3, 1983.

Convair 990, N810NA in storage at Mojave on July 27, 1997 The former Landing Systems Research Aircraft Convair 990, N810NA in storage at Mojave on July 27, 1997.

Convair 990, N810NA former NASA Landing Systems Research Aircraft at Mojave on September 10, 2001 Seen here on September 10, 2001, Convair 990, N810NA has been moved to a position adjacent to the main entrance to the airport from Highway 58.

Convair Cv-990, N990AB formerly of Aerolineas Peruanas at Mojave on September 10, 2001 Convair Cv-990, N990AB at Mojave on September 10, 2001.

Recent photo of the cockpit of Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California The interior of N990AB is still in fairly good condition. This photo of the cockpit was taken during the summer of 2001 by Alan Radecki.

Recent photo of the cabin of Convair 990, N990AB at Mojave, California The seats in N990AB are still intact as seen in this photo taken during the summer of 2001 by Alan Radecki.

December 6, 2008 Convair 990 N810NA NASA Landing Systems Research Aircraft displayed adjacent to the main entrance to the Mojave Airport on December 6, 2008. It was used at the NASA Ames Research Center until 1983 when it was withdrawn from use. It was stored at Marana, Arizona until it was refurbished in 1989 for use at the Dryden FRC. After serving as the Landing Systems Research Aircraft in 1993 and 1994, it was retired to the Mojave Airport.

Panorama size: 266 megapixels (19525 x 13632 pixels)
Input images: 64 (8 columns by 8 rows)
Field of view: 81.8 degrees wide by 57.1 degrees high (top=39.0, bottom=-18.1)

Art Prints Convair 990 Mojave Airport California December 6, 2008. You can purchase prints of this photo as large as 40 inches by 60 inches.

Convair 990 N810NA NASA Landing Systems Research Aircraft, Mojave Airport, November 16, 2014 Convair 990 N810NA NASA Landing Systems Research Aircraft displayed adjacent to the main entrance to the Mojave Airport on November 16, 2014.

Photography Prints Mojave Airport Convair 990 Gate Guard November 16 2014. You can purchase prints of this photo as large as 32 inches by 48 inches.

Link to the Convair 990 Preservation Society home page.

Much of the information on this page is from Jet Airliner Production List by J. R. Roach and A. B. Eastwood, Published by The Aviation Hobby Shop, 1992.


Book about Convair jetliners available from

Early American Jetliners: Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 and Convair CV-880 by Ugo Vicenzi Early American Jetliners: Boeing 707, Douglas DC-8 and Convair CV-880 by Ugo Vicenzi


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