A Project of the Coast Guard Aviation Association

Schweizer RU-38 “Twin- Condor” (1998)

In 1998 Congress set aside $450,000 to begin the plan being to rebuild the Coast Guard’s two RG-8s into the new twin-engine version one at a time with the remaining aircraft staying in service while the conversion on the first was carried out. The plan included building a third RU-38 from available spare parts.

Concerns about the lack of anti-icing capability and weather radar, the aircraft’s limited ditching characteristics in the event of an emergency, inability to launch in high winds, lack of engine-out capability, small cockpit, and pilot fatigue, led the service to explore a modification of the RG-8 to a twin-engine design

The withdrawal of Air Force support for the program though caused the Coast Guard to limit the plan to converting its two RG-8s. On 24 January 1994 the Coast Guard sent CG-8101 to Schweizer in Elmira, New York, for conversion while the remaining aircraft continued operating out of Air Station Miami. A RG-8 crashed. Schweizer continued the conversion of CG-8101 and completed a second RU-38A from available spare parts. By September 1999 both aircraft were operating from Air Station Miami. The “new” aircraft were capable of longer flights, an additional crewmember, and carried FLIR sensors, a television/video camera and APN-215 weather radar.

The project was terminated in 2000 when the aircraft were deemed to be unsuccessful in meeting their required missions.