Manufacturer: Convair

Model: unknown

Name: Capistrano

Type: Transport


Status: Service test

Country: United States of America

Service: U.S. Air Force (MATS)

Designation: YC-128A


For a long time Convair did not believe in the use of jet power for airliners and transport aircraft. The success of the Convair Liner family of aircraft seemed to prove the company right for a while. At a time when Boeing and Douglas were beginning to explore the realm of jet power, Convair continued to work on developments of its successful B-36 bomber.

Although the Model 37 series failed to find customers (in either its XC-99 military form or as the civilian Super Clipper), Convair persisted and came up with the most improbable and unique transport ever, a three-deck behemoth their called the Model 770 Capistrano (keeping in line with their tradition of Californian names) which Convair believed would be the future of transportation.

Unfortunately, beyond an order for 10 aircraft by the U.S. Air Force as the YC-128A, the Capistrano did not attract any customers. Too big, too expensive, outdated by the jets even before it was put into service, it was a failed project from the start.

Convair didn't take long to realize their mistake and made a quick u-turn to offer the Models 880 Golden Arrow and 990 Coronado, but even these came too late on a market which was already dominated by Boeing and Douglas.

Convair's vision of transport giants being the future of air transport was not completely flawed, however, since the much later Antonov Mriya or the Airbus A380 were both moves in that direction.


What is more crazy than a gigantic double-decker transport? A humongous triple-decker one! I was inspired by a photo of the ill-fated Convair XC-99 prototype to create the improbable Convair Model 770 Capistrano, or YC-128A in USAF/MATS guise...

The name was picked so as to be in line with the company's previous use of names from California's coastline and islands (Catalina and Coronado). The toughest bit was to find a background image that would fit the colors, lighting and mood. I still can't say I'm 100% satisfied with my choice though...

A description of how I created this picture can be found in the tutorial presented below right.

Viewers' comments:
  • Love it! (Mimikios)
  • Hillarious!! A masterpiece! Five engines on one side and the advert I am rolling (aq13ed)
  • Interesting explanations... (Tophe)

My comments: