McDonnell-Douglas C-9A, "Nightingale"

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow



FREE Admission & Parking

McDonnell-Douglas C-9A, Nightingale

The C-9A Nightingale is the only aircraft in the USAF inventory specifically designed for the movement of litter and ambulatory patients. It provided service not only to the military but also to the Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian hospitals throughout the world. Experience gained in the early stages of American involvement in the Vietnam War highlighted the need for a medium-range aero-medical transport and a relatively low-cost expedient. An initial order for right off-the-shelf commercial McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Series 30 airliners was placed to be set aside for military conversion. Modifications included the provision for an intensive care section, galleys, and electrical systems for cardiac monitors, respirators, incubators, and infusion pumps. Another feature was the addition of a third access door with a built-in hydraulic ramp that served to facilitate the loading of litters. Accommodation was provided for up to 40 litters and 40 ambulatory patients, two nurses, and three aero-medical attendants.

The first C-9A was rolled out on 17 June 1968 and 21 were delivered to the Military Airlift Command at Scott AFB. The fleet would fly over 100,000 missions annually, airlifting over 600,000 patients. The C-9 on display served with the 375th Airlift Wing of Air Mobility Command and also with the 932nd Air Reserve Wing. The C-9 fleet was retired from active duty in 2003 and from reserve status in 2005.


Wing Span: 93 ft 5 in
Length: 119 ft 3 in
Height: 27 ft 6 in
Weight (Empty): 52,935 lbs
Maximum Speed: 565 mph
Power Plant: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A Turbofan Engines
Click here to return to our Air Park page.