There was very little literature on the Fairchild C-119s and no reference books on the individual C-119 individual histories. So I started these pages in an attempt to learn a little more about "the Dollar Nineteen"; when I started Wikipedia wasn't available yet.
Ernest Kaiser wrote me in july 2012:I was with the 456th, Sq 744, in 1953, '54, until we parted, they to Okinawa, myself to Greenville AFB.
A few items I'd like to contribute to your C-119 pages: The F model was marked with the lower boom fin. The engines we R-3350-85, turbocompound.
The 119s came in two variants, Fairchild and Kaiser. The Kaiser model had an escape hatch in the cockit, just ahead of the entry ladder, a handle which would allow you to pull up the floor panel, which automatically released the outer panel, making a clear opening out of the cockpit.
In late 1953, the GM's hydromatic transmission plant burned down (fact). Charlie Wilson, former GM pres, was secretary of defence (fact), the defence dept canceled Kaiser's contract to build 119s at Willow Run (fact, I went there to load parts from the plant, which we took to Charleston AFB) , GM took over Willow Run to make hydromatics (fact).
Interesting item: the 119s used water/alcohol injection for the 3350-85s. two 50 gal tanks, one on each side. The tanks had a cast magnesium screen to filter large items (pea sized), the alcohol slowly was dissolving the magnesium casting, it made a greenish slime. I wrote up the problem, but nothing happened while I was still there. I was sure that eventually it would cause an engine failure, but..???
My experiences, plus a few more.
Ernest P. Kaiser
A/1st USAF. 1952-1956>
Robert Jordan sent me this in nov.2012, and he wrote:
"Hereís a C-119 I photographed landing at DaNang in 1971 or 72. It has '161' on the nose."
Robert Jordan, Radar Operator at the 620th TCS
71-72 'Motel' TACC, 620th TCS Monkey Mtn Vietnam ASM ISO/T
72-74 Kindsbach COC, Germany (Det 1, 615th AC&W) SDO
77-78 Watertown, NY, 655th AC&W
Came across this photo on a Dutch (claims Wikipedia as source) website: http://www.kennislink.nl/publicaties/dossier-vijftig-jaar-ruimtevaart
|Mark Schroeder did me the pleasure of sending me these images from his collection; he wrote:
"I have some assorted photographs and back stories on some planes you may find interesting. I live in Anchorage and am from Fairbanks, so I am no stranger to the old prop planes!"
The photo shows a C-119 with USMC tailcode QD and the BuNo. shows as 13..00. When QD was assigned to C-130B's they were based at Kessler AFB,MS with 815TAS/459TAW: perhaps a clue? -Webmaster.
|Colleen Rankin sent me this in Feb.2013, she wrote:
"I live very remote, on Afognak Island, about 80 miles north of Kodiak, Alaska.
While doing beach cleanups this summer we found something that we felt was an airplane part, wrapped up in fishing net and it had made its way to shore.
The part has honeycomb between the inner and outer wall. A friend did some research and found out about Warm Wind Three, a C-119 that disappeared in November of 1952 on a flight from Anchorage to Kodiak...
Do you know anyone that may be able to confirm if this could be part of that aircraft? It is of a size that might be an engine cowling."
The Aviation Safety Network database provided details on 'Warm Wind Three':
If you are interested in more Plane Mysteries go HERE..
| Ed Hobson sent me this in March 2013.
Checking the Aviation Safety Network database, I found USAF C-119C 49-161 (c/n 10398) crashing at sea in 1953, only 24 km NNE of Ashiya Air Force Base (link). Was 49-161 towed ashore and stored at Ashiya AB?
The Korean War was from 1950 - 1953. The C-119 was a major transport for the US airforces.
UPDATE SENT SEP.2013 BY TED QUACKENBUSH:
James Harvey Knauss wrote me in april 2013: "You have done a good job of presenting one of the world’s worst airplanes.
Fsgt Leon Murtagh, RAAF C-47 Dakota pilot Korean War : career photos 1948 - 1953
You'll find many photos of transports here, including the C-119.
Thanks to Neil Morrison for sharing this link.
| Henry Young did me the pleasure of sending these photos. When I asked him what he did at the time and how he came in the opportunity to make these photos, he wrote:
On this website http://www.c82packet.com/stewarddavis1.html N383S was described as "... From 1970, Steward-Davis began supplying US C-119G operators with their Jet-Pak 3402 kits, up to 29 were eventually sold.
N383S (c/n 10999) was registered to Hawkins & Powers of Greybull,WY and flown as Tanker 133.
Here is another website with details on the 01Oct1966 crash: www.av.qnet.com/~carcomm/wreck25.htm
|Paul Weston sent me these images, of his flying days in the early 1980s, in Alaska:
Here's Kaiser-Frazer C-119L N8504W (c/n 259) at Dahl Creek,Alaska:
Richard B. Gifford sent me this interesting account in Feb.2015:
The C-119 wasn't a very good airplane, and it taught this young pilot
how to deal with serious emergencies quite often. It did have two
outstanding features: It had a world-class deicing system and there
was no published crosswind limitation in the book. I've landed it in
a direct 55 knot crosswind, and I've known pilots who bettered that.
|Murray wrote me Oct.2014 (but did not get round to adding it until may 2015):
"I looked through your website regarding the Packet, Fairchild C-119 with which I did have some experience. I was trained as an airborne radio operator at Keesler AFB and at graduation, November 1954, was assigned to the 816th Troop Carrier Squadron ('The Packet Rats') of the 483rd Troop Carrier Wing, Ashiya in Japan.
With our lack of loadmasters, I was also cross-trained to handle those operations as well. I had both good and bad experiences with the C-119G.
I was crewing on 52-5929 on a 'ball-buster' flight from Ashiya to Tachikawa to Seoul then on to other South Korean bases before returning to Ashiya. I had boarded 13 typical passengers plus a nattily dressed army major plus his faithful travelling companion, a tech sergeant who were the paymaster accompanying 6 1/2 million in US$ MPC certificates packed in 12 wooden crates and bound for Seoul.... The funds had been delivered by an armoured car accompanied by a weapons carrier with a mounted 50cal machine gun(manned and loaded).
We took the active runway and everything looked and felt normal.
We started our takeoff roll and at about 60mph our starboard prop reversed pitch. We spun off the active onto the grass while our left seat (I think his name was Capt. Fox but I'm not certain) grabbed the controls and reversed pitch on the port prop and brought the aircraft to a stop.
I contacted 'space control' and advised them of our situation and requested a bus to take our passengers back to the terminal. Almost immediately, the armoured car pulled up and demanded that we unload the money ASAP and we did. A bus did arrive to take our passengers away and we called for a tug to take us to a hardstand so we could figure out what happened.
This aircraft was a conversion to the 3350/aeroprop combination and was not the first to run into the reversing problem. We spent the next 30 days at the prop lab at Tachikawa (thankfully they had one!) and discovered that the prop regulator conversions had been shipped to Japan without 'pickling' and with original fluids inside and the condition of the fluids was never checked after the conversion. They had lost their viscosity and damaged the pitch controls and had to be replaced.
I remember all C-119G conversions were put AOCP until new regulators were shipped to replace the bad ones. The four of us were stuck in transient crew quarters and the only money we had was a daily allowance supplied by our pilot, enough for cigarettes and burgers. We had to send for spare underwear and socks not knowing when we would be able to return to Ashiya; it was a month later!
A side note: This occurred in March of 1955, just after all aircrews had been given a lecture by our Operations Officer about the Ashiya C-119 that had gone down in the Sea of Japan earlier that month with the loss of 3 of its 7 crewmen. It seems the 'after-event' report told the story: All 5 cockpit crew left the aircraft via the escape chute located just forward of the jump seat and with the yellow "T" handle, the first time this chute had been successfully used to our knowledge. All 5 had chutes open properly but one man drowned before the 5 were a picked up by local Japanese fishing boats. The other two deaths were the two spare crewmen who had sacked out laying on their parachutes in the cargo compartment when the event occurred. The aircraft went into a violent spin as one prop regulator had reversed in flight and the two crewmen were unable to don their parachutes due to centrifugal force and leave the aircraft before it spun into the sea...
We also had a report that another identically-equipped C-119 had gone into a Korean mountain, killing all aboard and assumed for the same reason.
One shameful incident: We were responsible for mounting and dismounting the IFF transceiver in the ceiling of the fuselage before and after each flight. This was a heavy piece of apparatus that had to be slid onto 2 rails and screwed down for safety. On one flight, i had inadvertently mis-alligned the mount and the screw-downs had not properly caught. During the flight, vibration caused the IFF to get loose and it fell out of the ceiling onto the shoulder of one of our passengers.
| Chuck Lunsford wrote a book about his days as a radio operator onboard the C-119:
Both books can be bought through Amazon.com and are also available as eBook for Kindle!
|Charles 'Chuck' Lunsford (76) succumbed to cancer; he passed away on 21Sep12.
I will miss our regular correspondence on the C-119 and less mundane subjects. I learned much from him and shared the information on the
C-119 Information Pages, esspecially at a time when so little on this aircraft had been published in writing.
Rest in peace, old friend. - Ruud Leeuw, webmaster
| Another writer, Larry E. Fletcher (ex USAF Captain), used his personal experience to write a novel about the C-119 Gunship in Vietnam: "Shadows of Saigon, Air Commandos in SE Asia".
Update Jan.2014: the book CHARLIE CHASERS – History of USAF AC-119 “Shadow” Gunships in the Vietnam War – was published by Hellgate Press in 2013. My website is www.shadowgunships.com. Hardback, Paperback, and Ebooks are available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and from the publisher at http://hellgatepress.com.