Budd RB Conestoga

The RB-1 Conestoga stainless steel cargo aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy during WWII by the Budd Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Only twenty aircraft were built, and the innovative Conestoga never entered active service. The following article on the Conestoga appeared in Naval Aviation News, June 1944.

Navy Gets Steel Aircraft
Conestoga Can Carry 2 Jeeps

Budd RB Conestoga Stainless Steel Navy Cargo Transport

The Navy has accepted the Budd Conestoga, first large-size airplane of stainless steel construction, and turned the aircraft over to Naval Air Transport Service for cargo transportation. Designated the RB1 flight ship, the Conestoga is the first plane obtained by the Navy which was designed especially for cargo carrying, other Navy cargo planes being adaptations of combat aircraft or passenger transports.

The Conestoga is a high-wing monoplane, 68 ft. long, with 100-ft. wingspread. It is powered by two Pratt & Whitney engines of 1,200 hp. Except for plywood doors and floor, the plane is constructed entirely of stainless steel varying from .008 of an inch upward and is spot welded. Cargo capacity is 10,400 lbs.

The plane can carry one ambulance or two jeeps. It may be fitted with 24 seats or adapted to carry 24 stretchers. Paratroops can be launched simultaneously from doors on both sides of the fuselage while the troops’ supplies are being dropped through the rear.


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