Jeeps for Aircraft Ground Support


Here's an interesting piece of Jeep literature: an undated 36-page booklet titled Jeep Vehicles for Aircraft Ground Support. It dates from between 1955 and 1959, since the truck featured on the cover (and on nine pages of the book) is built on a CJ-6 chassis, and the Convair C-53D-DO on the cover left the United Airlines fleet in 1959. In fact the booklet probably dates from prior to 1957 since there are no Forward Control trucks included.

Front coverIt's interesting that the operator seen in the cover photo is dressed like a pilot in his official hat, necktie and aviator sunglasses, although what he's doing is emptying the sewage from the aircraft's washrooms. Yes, the pride of the Jeep airport fleet is the "Jeep Lavatory Truck."

Since this was a dual tanker designed to carry 106 gallons of flush water and up to 210 gallons of refuse, it seems a bit surprising that it was built on the half-ton CJ-6 rather than the one-ton truck seen below. See a rear view of the Lavatory Truck (70K JPEG) which is also a better view of the Convair Mainliner "Walla Walla", in service with United from 1954 until 1959 according to a fleet list. The control tower in that photo reveals that the pictures were taken at Toledo Municipal Airport.

Baggage tractorJeeps equipped for baggage loading, as seen in Building Conveyor Belt CJ-3Bs, are not mentioned in the booklet. Possibly Willys Motors had no agreement with Phelps Mfg. to promote their "Hoveyors", although one is pictured in another mid-1950s booklet, Jeep Vehicles in Public Service.

The CJ-3B and CJ-5 are included here as "baggage tractors," essentially stock vehicles with optional drawbar and pintle hook. The specifications for both models list a 6-volt battery as standard. Interestingly, the specs for the 3B also state that the "Shock absorbers are direct-acting, 2-way hydraulic control (Airplane Type)." The aircraft seen behind a 3B pulling baggage carts for TWA is "Star of the Yellow Sea," an early Lockheed Constellation in service with TWA from 1947 until 1962 according to a fleet list.

ADI WaterThe second specialized vehicle included in the booklet is the "Jeep ADI Water Truck," which again is a dual tanker, designed to carry 235 gallons each of drinking water and Aircraft De-Ice, with hydraulic-powered pump motors. The chassis is the 1-ton Willys truck with Super Hurricane 6-cylinder engine. A rear view photo (80K JPEG) shows some of the plumbing and hoses, as well as the 8-foot aluminum ladder.

The truck seen here carries a United Airlines logo on the door, but the location of the airport where the photos were taken is not apparent. The United DC-7 "City of Newark" was in service from 1954 until 1960 according to a fleet list.

ToledoThe Jeep Utility Delivery is recommended as a "message carrier, food carrier or service vehicle." The Trans-Canada Air Lines Jeep seen here has some distinctive features; a large grille guard, fire extinguisher on the fender step, side reflectors and a single side window in the rear cargo area.

The aircraft appears to be one of the TCADC-4M-2 North Stars. TCA modified the DC-4 by changing the engines to Rolls-Royce Merlins (the same engine used in late P-51 Mustangs), converting it into the Canadair DC-4M-2. This gave it greater range and speed, although it was noisier than the standard DC-4.

Crash wagonJeep Vehicles for Aircraft Ground Support includes a different photo of a CJ-3B Crash Wagon than I've seen in other Willys publications. Comparing this with another 3B crash wagon photo (50K JPEG) in the booklet Jeep Vehicles in Public Service, it appears that the rear-mounted foam cylinder pivots forward to allow some of the weight to rest over the axle. A carbon dioxide cylinder is mounted across the body just behind the front seats.

SnowplowThe third CJ-3B in the booklet is equipped with a snowplow, as an example of other available Jeep Special Equipment. Again this is a different photo than is seen in other Willys advertising, but it doesn't appear to have been taken at an airport.

Other vehicles illustrated in Jeep Vehicles for Aircraft Ground Support include the Forward Control trucks, the DJ-3A Dispatcher (70K JPEG) and the Utility Wagon "Crew Carrier" (90K JPEG.)

Thanks to Brian Petry for providing the scans and much of the information on these photos. -- Derek Redmond

Also on CJ3B.info, see more photos of Airport Ground Service Jeeps.

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Last updated 4 April 2017 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond