de Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo

By:      Norm Goyer

The de Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo was essentially a larger Caribou with prop jet engines.

The de Havilland DHC-5 Buffalo was essentially a larger Caribou with prop jet engines.

We would like to thank Wikipedia for the history and technical facts regarding the de Havilland Buffalo. NG

The de Havilland DHC-4 Caribou was very well liked by those who flew them in the military or in commercial STOL duties. De Havilland decided to improve even more on this popularity by boosting both the power, performance and reliability with General Electric T-64 prop jets.. The new deHavilland Buffalo was designed mostly due to an 1962 United States Army requirement for a STOL transport capable of carrying the same payload as the CH-47A Chinook helicopter.  De Havilland of Canada based its design to meet the requirement for an enlarged version of its DHC-4 Caribou, already in large-scale service with the United States Army, to be powered by General Electric T64 turboprops rather than the Pratt & Whitney R-2000 piston engines of the Caribou. (It had already flown a T-64 powered Caribou on  September 22, 1961).

De Havilland’s design, the DHC-5 Buffalo carried nearly twice the payload as the Caribou while having better STOL performance. Unfortunately no further US orders followed  because  the United States Air Force considered themselves adequately equipped with the Fairchild Aircraft C-123 Provider.

Other  countries also used the versatile Buffalo in their air forces. This one belongs to Egypt

Other countries also used the versatile Buffalo in their air forces. This one belongs to Egypt

But the new DHC-5 was a performer. The de Havilland company claimed a takeoff distance over a 50 ft (15 m) obstacle of 1,210 ft (369 m) at 41,000 lb (18,597 kg) and a landing distance of over a 50 ft (15 m) obstacle of 980 ft (299 m) at 39,100 lb (17,735 kg) for the DHC-5A model. For many reasons the Buffalo became one of the most used aircraft for testing completely different construction and design ideas.  In the early 1970s, a NASA C-8A Buffalo (nicknamed Bisontennial in 1976) was fitted with a short-span Boeing wing incorporating split-flow turbofan engines based on the Rolls-Royce Spey  (providing both propulsion and augmenter airflow for the powered lift system).  Beginning in 1972, with its first flight in this experimental configuration, this aircraft was used jointly by the NASA Ames Research Center and the Canadian Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce for STOL research. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, NASA used another C-8A Buffalo in the Quiet Short-Haul Research Aircraft (QSRA) program.

Its experimental wing was designed, fabricated and installed by Boeing. Boeing’s new wing was a sweptsupercritical design incorporating a boundary layer control system. Instead of the standard engines, this aircraft was powered by four prototype Avco Lycoming YF102 high-bypass turbofan engines (originally from the Northrop YA-9 program) mounted above the wing to take advantage of the Coandă effect. In 1980, this aircraft participated in carrier trials aboard USS Kitty Hawk, demonstrating STOL performance without the use of catapults or arrestor gear.

The Buffalo was also used in several instances as a highly modified test aircraft using new wings and engines. One landed and took off from a carrier without using the catapult or tail hook.

The Buffalo was also used in several instances as a highly modified test aircraft using new wings and engines. One landed and took off from a carrier without using the catapult or tail hook.

Production of the DHC-5A ended in 1972 after orders to Brazil and Peru had been completed but the Buffalo program was  restarted with the DHC-5D model in 1974. This variant sold to several overseas air forces beginning with Egypt. There are currently two Buffalo aircraft still being used commercially in Canada. They are operated by Arctic Sunwest ChartersYellowknifeNorthwest Territories.

Specifications of the DHC-5D Buffalo

Performance

 

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