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YC-125 Raider
The aircraft on display in the National Museum of the USAF. Painted to represent the YC-125B used for cold weather tests, Wright-Patterson AFB, 1950.
Role transport
Manufacturer Northrop Corporation
First flight 1 August 1949
Introduction 1950
Retired 1955
Primary user U.S. Air Force
Produced 1949-1950
Number built 23

The Northrop YC-125 Raider was a 1940s American three-engined STOL utility transport built by Northrop Corporation, Hawthorne, California.

Design and development

Northrop's first postwar civil design was a three-engined STOL passenger and cargo transport named the Northrop N-23 Pioneer. The Pioneer could carry 36 passengers or five tons of cargo and first flew on 21 December 1946. The aircraft had a good performance, but there was little interest due to the availability of cheap war surplus aircraft. The Pioneer was lost in a fatal crash in 1947. In 1948 the United States Air Force expressed interest in an aircraft of the same configuration and placed an order with Northrop for 23 aircraft, 13 troop transports designated the C-125A Raider and 10 for Arctic rescue work designated the C-125B. With the company designation N-32 Raider the first aircraft flew on 1 August 1949.

The aircraft was powered by three 1200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-99 Cyclone radial engines. The aircraft could also be fitted with JATO rockets that enabled it to take off in less than 500 ft (152 m). The 13 troop transporters were designated YC-125A in-service and the Arctic rescue version the YC-125B.

The Canadian company Canadair considered building the N-23 under licence but did not proceed.

Operational history

Deliveries of the YC-125 to the USAF began in 1950. Aircraft did not serve long as they were underpowered and they were sent soon to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas and relegated to be ground instructional trainers until retired in 1955 and declared surplus.

Most of the surplus aircraft were purchased by Frank Ambrose and sold to bush operators in South and Central America.[1]


A YC-125 performs a JATO takeoff

N-23 Pioneer
Prototype three-engined STOL transport, one built.
N-32 Raider
Company designation of military version of the N-23.
YC-125A Raider
N-32 with seats for thirty troops, 13 built (serials 48-628/640).
YC-125B Raider
Arctic rescue version of the N-32 with twenty stretchers and provision for a ski undercarriage. Ten built (serials 48-618/627).



Specifications (YC-125B)


Data from National Museum of the US Air Force YC-125B Factsheet[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: four
  • Length: 67 ft 1 in (20.45 m)
  • Wingspan: 86 ft 6 in (26.37 m)
  • Height: 23 ft 1 in (7.04 m)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 41,900 lb (19,006 kg)
  • Powerplant: 3 × Wright R-1820-99 Cyclone radial, (1200 hp)895 kW each


  • Maximum speed: 207 mph (478 kmh)
  • Cruise speed: 171 mph (275 kmh)
  • Range: 1,856 miles (2,987 km)
  • Service ceiling: 12,200 ft (3,719 m)

See also


  1. "Northrop YC-125 Raider." Pima Air and Space Museum. Retrieved: 12 September 2012.
  2. "Factsheets: Northrop YC-125B Raider." Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 9 November 2010.
  • Andrade, John M. U.S Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Leicestershire, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft (Part Work 1982-1985). London: Orbis Publishing, 1986.

External links

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