Consolidated RY-3

Last revised December 2, 2001

The RY-3 was the transport version of the PB4Y-2 Privateer. It was assigned the company designation of Model 101. The RY-3 differed from the PB4Y-2 in having no armament and in having a series of windows cut into the sides of the fuselage. A large loading door was cut into the side of the rear fuselage, and fairings were installed where the nose and tail turrets had been. A crew of four and 28 passengers could be carried. 16,641 pounds of cargo could be carried in the all-freight configuration. A hinged nose allowed up to 1600 pounds of cargo to be carried in the forward section.

The Navy ordered 112 RY-3s in March of 1944, but only 34 RY-3s were actually built. Only a few of these planes actually ended up serving with the Navy, primarily being operated by the Marine Corps. Most of the RY-3s were delivered instead to the Royal Air Force. 26 RY-3s were delivered to the RAF as Liberator C.IX starting in February of 1945. RAF serials were JT973, JT975/JT998, and JV936). They were assigned to Nos. 231 and 232 Squadrons of RAF Transport Command. The famous Commando, which was LB-30 AL504, was also converted to single-tailed RY-3 configuration in 1944.

At the end of the war, the remaining RY-3s on the original order were cancelled, including 63 more Liberator C.IXs intended for the RAF (JV937/JV999). Also cancelled was a version for the USAAF designated C-87C.

The RAF's experience with the Liberator C.IX was not a happy one. Three (including Commando) were lost in fatal crashes, and there were speculations that there was something basically wrong with the structural integrity of the aircraft. All surviving RAF Liberator C.IXs except one were struck off charge in April of 1946 and either returned to the US Navy or else were scrapped. The sole remaining Liberator C.IX (JT973, ex BuNo 90021) ended up flying ice-research missions with the Royal Canadian Air Force under the auspices of the National Research Council. It was given the name Rockcliffe Icewagon. It was kept flying by scavenging spare parts from the Liberator stores, and later from the U.S. Navy's PB4Y-2 inventory. Rockcliffe Icewagon flew her last mission in late 1948, when it was replaced by a Canadair North Star (Merlin-powered DC-4) and scrapped.

Serials of Consolidated-Vultee RY-3 Privateer:

90020/90050		Consolidated-Vultee RY-3 Privateer
					90021/90047 to RAF as JT973/JT999
					90048 to RAF as JV936
					90049/90050 to RAF as JV937/JV938 but never delivered
90051/90056		cancelled contract for RY-3 Privateer
					Were to have gone to RAF as JV939/JV944
90057/90059		Consolidated-Vultee RY-3 Privateer
					Were to have gone to RAF as JV945/JV947 but were never delivered
90060/90131		cancelled contract for RY-3 Privateer
					90060/90111 were to have gone to RAF as JV948/JV999
90132/90384		cancelled contract for R2Y-1

Disposition of Liberator IX, delivered between Jan & July 1945

JT973 (BuNo 90021) 20/9/48 SOC
JT975 (BuNo 90023) 28/2/46 SOC
JT976 (BuNo 90024) 28/2/46 SOC
JT977 (BuNo 90025) -
JT978 (BuNo 90026) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT979 (BuNo 90027) Overshot landing at Whenaupai, New Zealand 4/7/45
JT980 (BuNo 90028) -
JT981 (BuNO 90029) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT982 (BuNo 90030) Crashed in the Atlantic 4/7/45
JT983 (BuNo 90031) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT984 (BuNo 90032) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT985 (BuNo 90033) Hit hill in bad weather, Dorset, 15/6/45
JT986 (BuNo 90034) 28/2/46 SOC
JT987 (BuNo 90035) 28/2/46 SOC
JT988 (BuNo 90036) 28/2/46 SOC
JT989 (BuNo 90037) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT990 (BuNo 90038) 26/2/46 SOC
JT991 (BuNo 90039) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT992 (BuNo 90040) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT993 (BuNo 90041) 28/2/46 SOC
JT994 (BuNo 90042) 28/2/46 SOC
JT995 (BuNo 90043) -
JT996 (BuNo 90044) -
JT997 (BuNo 90045) returned to US Navy 16/4/46
JT998 (BuNo 90046)
JT999 (BuNo 90047)

JV936 (BuNo 90048) Returned to US
JV937 to JV999 not delivered

Specification of Consolidated-Vultee RY-3 Privateer:

Four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 fourteen-cylinder unsupercharged air cooled radial engines rated at 1350 hp. Performance: Maximum speed 248.5 mph at 12,000 feet. Cruising speed 158 mph. Initial climb rate 1180 feet per minute. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be reached in 16.3 minutes. Service ceiling 18,300 feet. Dimensions: wingspan 110 feet 0 inches, length 75 feet 5 1/4 inches, height 29 feet 0 inches, wing area 1048 square feet. Weights: 31,000 pounds empty, 60,000 pounds gross. A crew of four and 28 passengers could be carried. 16,641 pounds of cargo could be carried in the all-freight configuration. A hinged nose allowed up to 1600 pounds of cargo to be carried in the forward section.


  1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  2. British Military Aircraft Serials, 1912-1969, Bruce Robertson, Ian Allen, 1969.

  3. Liberator: America's Global Bomber, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co, Inc, 1993.

  4. B-24 Liberator in Action, Larry Davis, Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1987.

  5. General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecesssors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  6. Consolidated B-24D-M Liberator IN USAAF-RAF-RAAF-MLD-IAF-CzechAF and CNAF Service, Ernest R. McDowell, Arco, 1970.

  7. United States Navy Aircraft Since 1911, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  8. American Combat Planes, 3rd Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  9. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard Press.

  10. E-mail from Terence Geary on disposition of RAF Liberator IXs.

  11. E-mail from Roy Howard on BuNo, RAF serial number tie-ups.