Military Aviation

C-9 A/C Nightingale

C-9 A/C Nightingale


The C-9 is a twin-engine, T-tailed, medium-range, swept-wing jet aircraft used primarily for Air Mobility Command's aeromedical evacuation mission.


The Nightingale is a modified version of the McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Corporation's DC-9. It is the only aircraft in the inventory specifically designed for the movement of litter and ambulatory patients.

The C-9A's airlift capability to carry 40 litter patients, 40 ambulatory and four litter patients, or various combinations thereof, provides the flexibility for Air Mobility Command's worldwide aeromedical evacuation role.

A hydraulically operated folding ramp allows efficient loading and unloading of litter patients and special medical equipment.

The plane has:

The 375th Airlift Wing at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., operates C-9A Nightingales for Air Mobility Command. C-9A's are assigned to the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, for use in the Pacific theater. C-9s also are assigned to the 435th Airlift Wing at Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, for use in the European and Middle East theaterS.

The C-9A Nightingale demonstrates its uniqueness and versatility daily by its ability to serve not only military, but Department of Veterans Affairs and civilian hospitals throughout the world, using military and commercial airfields.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Aeromedical evacuation
Contractor: McDonnell Douglas Corporation
Power Plant: Two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A turbofan engines
Thrust: 14,500 pounds (6,525 kilograms) each engine
Length: 119 feet, 3 inches (35.7 meters)
Wingspan: 93 feet, 3 inches (27.9 meters)
Height: 27 feet, 5 inches (8.2 meters)
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 108,000 pounds (48,600 kilograms)
Range: More than 2,000 miles (1,739 nautical miles)
Ceiling: 35,000 feet (10,606 meters)
Speed: 565 mph (Mach 0.86) at 25,000 feet (7583.3 meters), with maximum takeoff weight
Load: 40 litter patients or four litters and 40 ambulatory patients or other combinations
Crew: Eight (pilot, co-pilot, flight mechanic, two flight nurses and three aeromedical technicians)
Date Deployed: August 1968
Unit Cost: $17 million
Inventory: Active force, 10; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0

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