The C-9A, known as the Nightingale, was developed to fill the need for an aeromedical evacuation (medevac) aircraft. The Air Force purchased 20 C-9As to replace older propeller-driven medevac planes.
This plane, serial number 67-22584, was the first C-9A delivered to the Military Airlift Command in 1968 and was retired from the Air Mobility Command (AMC) in August 2005 after 37 years of outstanding service. It was delivered by a crew from the 932nd Airlift Wing Stationed at Scott AFB, Illinois.
The C-9A Nightingale is a modified version of the McDonnell Douglas DC-9. It’s the only aircraft in the inventory specifically designed for the movement of litter and ambulatory patients. The C-9A’s airlift capability to carry 40 litter patients or 40 ambulatory and four litter patients, or combinations of those, provides the flexibility for AMC’s worldwide aeromedical evacuation role.
In addition to speed, quiet, and comfort for patients, the aircraft has many special features for the care of patients:
- Hydraulically operated folding ramp, which allows for efficient loading and unloading of litter patients and special medical equipment
- Ceiling receptacles for securing intravenous bottles
- Special care area with a separate ventilation system for patients requiring isolation or intensive care
- Eleven vacuum and therapeutic oxygen outlets positioned in sidewall service panels at litter tier locations
- A 28 VDC outlet located in the special care area. Twenty-two 115 VAC-60 hertz electrical outlets, located throughout the cabin, permit the use of cardiac monitors, respirators, incubators, and infusion pumps at any location within the cabin.
- Medical refrigerator for preserving whole blood and biological drugs
- Medical supply work area with sink, medicine storage section and work table, fore and aft galleys, and lavatories
- Aft-facing commercial airline seats for ambulatory patients
- Medical crew director’s station with desk, communication panel, and a control panel to monitor cabin temperature, therapeutic oxygen, and vacuum systems
- Auxiliary power unit that provides electrical power for uninterrupted cabin air conditioning, quick servicing during en route stops, and self-starting for the twin engines