Fairchild C-119 "Boxcar", Background Information


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There is very little literature on the Fairchild C-119s and no reference books on the individual C-119 histories. This page (3rd of three on my website) is an attempt to learn a little more about "the Dollar Nineteen". I would welcome contributions from anyone with some first hand experience on these airplanes.

 

Ewald Lang sent me some of his photos and he wrote the captions.
C-119 115 by Ewald Lang

C-119 9115 on Guam.
Landed on foam
This aircraft had made a wheels-up landing at Ashiya AFB Japan, in May, 1953. The crew could not extend the right main landing gear; the runway was foamed. After much consulting with ground personnel the decision was made to land with only the nose gear extended; the pilot made a perfect landing amid very loud cheers from the large crowd which had gathered to watch!
The pilot was Maj. Harry Reiner.
In June the plane was designated for overhaul and was ferried back to the States. I was scheduled for return also and volunteered to fly back, as Radio Operator.
The trip took about eight days, island hopping from Japan-Guam-Kwajalein-Johnson Is.- Hawaii-Travis AFB-Kelly AFB-Birmingham where Hayes Aircraft took possession.
The trip was not uneventful.
Midway between Kwajalein and Johnson Island the right engine started loosing oil and had to be shut-down. We flew about 1.000 miles single engine, over the Pacific, with an SA-16 Air Sea Rescue plane on our wing... just in case!
The plane was repaired on Johnson Island, after a two day wait for parts.
The aircraft's name, "Fairchild's Nightmare", was appropriate!

The Grumman SA-16 escorting us:
SA-16 escorting C-119

Some Nose Art...
C-119 Kay's Karavan
'Kay's Karavan'
Apparently this nose art was also featured in a book titled
"Fighting Colors: The Creation of Military Aircraft Nose Art"

Nose art on C-119 'Miss Cape Ann'

C-119 9160. 'Miss Cape Ann'. Crashed while over South Korea.
Propeller fractured and a piece flew through the fuselage, cutting electrical and hydraulic lines. The pilot couldn't control the plane and all crew members bailed out successfully.
They were picked up by rescue helicopter and were back at Ashiya AFB the next day. They were given honorary parachutist jump badges by the Army's 187th RCT, who were co-located at Ashiya.

C-119 Catch Her Next Time"Let'er go ... Catch'er next time" by H.Abe 1957

C-119 Alice Lee
"Alice Lee"

 

See some more photos (B-17, C-121) by Ewald Lang on my Photos by Friends & Guests (32)

Regrettably, Ewald Lang passed away on 28Jul2013, having been diagnosed with an agressive form of cancer only months before. RIP.

 

Jim Westfall sent me these images in jan.2012:
"here are pictures of sn 0120 in Venezuela."
C-119 0-90120

USAF C-119
Fairchild C-119C-12-FA Flying Boxcar 49-120 (c/n 10357) was damaged in landing at Ashiya AB, Japan on 16Mar1951. [Joe Baughers website USAF serials FY 1949]

Jim also wrote:

I am a former radio operator on the C-119 during the time period 1963-1969 when they were in service with the West Virginia Air National Guard.
We had transitioned out of HU-16's in 63 and were attached to the First Air Commando Wing at Hurlburt Field (Eglin AFB). Our squadron was the 130th ACS.  I have about 800 hours in the old bird and I believe they were G models.  Been over 40 years so the memories are not all that clear...  They were 4 bladed props (believe Hamilton Std) and we never had a runaway prop failure in those years.

I will say, with the clamshells doors off (as they were in 1968 when we were in summer camp in Alpena, MI), coming across the field at 50 feet, watching the drogue chute deploy and drag out the cargo......wow!  With the doors off, there is a HUGE hole in the rear of the aircraft.

We were the first Guard unit to deploy overseas for training in January 1964 when we flew to Albrook AFB (part of Howard AFB in the canal zone).  We also deployed there in January 1965 as well.  Both trips included stops at Guantanamo Base, Cuba.

One of our birds, serial number 49-0156 was painted in SE Asia camo colors and we flew this bird to Sembach AB Germany in the early summer 1967.  Had to install a 3.000 gallon bensen tank in the cargo hold to make the trip which originated in WV, Goose Bay, Labrador and stopped in Keflavik, Iceland (navy base) for rest and refuel.  Following that we hopped to Alconbury RAF base in England and on to Sembach.  So foggy when we landed in England that we had to shut down on the taxiway, couldn't see the follow me truck...
When the fog cleared, the tower guys couldn't understand why a twin boom in camouflage was setting on the ramp, they had never seen a C-119! 
This was, I believe just prior to the Airforce converting some C-119's to gunships for Vietnam. 
We were notified by the Air Commando wing that we stood a very good chance of being activated and having our birds converted but they eventually took some out of the boneyard instead.

In Germany, we spent two weeks dropping German Army paratroopers around their country. Some fun!
I have built two model aircraft 1:72 scale of the C-119, one is a C model in camoflauge and the other is a G model in aluminum. (for good measure also have a model of the HU-16). I have additionally a couple of pictures of serial 49-0120 taken at El Liberatador AB in Venezuela in January 1964 (above) as well as a good shot of the north atlantic ice pack breaking up with the unmistakeable wing of the dollar nineteen in the view.

Jim Westfall

 

 

"Love your site about the C-119s ... I was at 6922nd RGM, Ashiya, 1956-57, and spent the last part of my tour at K-55 Osan-ni, Korea.

Sometime in 1956, there was a loss of one of the C-119s stationed at Ashiya Air Base, rumored to have been buzzing fishing boats off Itazuke and hit a mast, damaging a prop and crashing onto the beach area killing all four crewmen. I know the accident happened as I was still at Ashiya the time, and for a while the wreckage was placed on the side of the outer (beach) road with a huge sign, "This Accident cost $500,000.00 and Four Lives." Now I can't find any reference to it at all! No references, no articles, no newspapers - even the Stars and Stripes, no photos, no mention of any kind. I was in USAFSS and always suspected there was a lot more to the story ... security, and all. This total black-out certainly confirms my doubts ....

Do you have any information about this terrible episode? The wreckage was displayed for SOME reason, but WHY the total removal of all public information?

Did you know there were C-119s equipped to monitor radio traffic that flew south of the DMZ to keep tabs on North Korea? The plane was all blacked out, but I helped repair the DF unit on one at Taegu.
Don't remember the unit number, but I do remember being told (off hand) that every member, including the air crews, were cleared CRYPTO; and they NEVER violated air space lest they lose a ship and give the communists a vast amount of technology."

THANKS!

Col. R F Cunningham

 

 

 

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>

 

C-119 at Da Nang
Robert Jordan sent me this in nov.2012, and he wrote:
"Here’s 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

Pickup from space!
The caption translates as: "the aircraft catches the roll of film after it has been dropped from the
American spy satellite KH-1. KeyHole-1 was the first spy satellite and was part of the American
Corona-program".

 

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!"

C-119's US Marines Corp
Mark:"My father in law was a WW2 & Korean War USMC aviator and I have some images of his travels that include a C-119 being loaded in Japan, a flock of surplus B-17 in Brasil."
(See also Photos by Friends & Guests - 35).

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.
EMAIL


 

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."
Plane debris washed ashore Alaska

The Aviation Safety Network database provided details on 'Warm Wind Three':
C-119 51-2560 (c/n 10518) crashed into Mt. McKinley 07Nov1952. The airplane was on a flight to the Big Delta in the Interior as part of Excercise Warmwind. ASN.
But I fail to see how parts of that plane crash could find its way out to sea..?

If it is part of a C-119 perhaps C-119 49-0172 (c/n 10409) would be a better candidate: 16Jan 1952. On a routine resupply mission to Seoul Air Base (K-16), the airplane suffered a possible prop blade failure.
Both engines separated from aircraft in flight, and the Flying Boxcar crashed into the sea off Pohang (K-3). ASN.

If you are interested in more Plane Mysteries go HERE..

 

Ed Hobson sent me this in March 2013.

C-119 wreck at Ashiya, Japan


Ed wrote: "Here are 3 pictures of a crashed C-119 at Ashiya (Japan) taken in the fall of 1956. It is a burned out hulk sitting on the grass at the end of the runway near the beach.
Sometime while I was there, another C-119 crashed into a local mountain near the base. It must have been sometime between 1956 and 1959. But before 1958 as that is when we got the C-130's."

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?
Also on ASN the 1955 (March 1st) mishap, with fewer details, of USAF C-119 33 km north of Ashiya, no identity of the aircraft or crash known and reported as written off (3 crew fatalities). But read on..

I kept digging and found a likely candidate on Airliners.net, a photo by Ted Quackenbush, which offered the following information:"53-3150 (c/n 11161, plane named 'Sweetheart') of 817th Troop Carrier Sq. ('Skyrunners'), it had to abort takeoff and got a little banged up (30Mar1956). Good pilots ensured no one was injured in this crash."
Here is another photo by Ted Quackenbush, on www.baaa-acro.com/photos/C119-1.jpg
ASN has no data on this event, nor www.baaa-acro.htm, only Ted's photos.

The Korean War was from 1950 - 1953. The C-119 was a major transport for the US airforces.
You may find this website useful: www.koreanwar.org/html/units/usaf/63tcs.htm

UPDATE SENT SEP.2013 BY TED QUACKENBUSH:
"I can provide the following facts related to this March 1956 Ashiya crash, thanks to Mr. Al T. Lloyd, a freelance aviation writer I corresponded with in 2002; heo was in preparation of his 300-page book on the C-82/C-119 titled 'Fairchild C-82 Packet and C-119 Flying Boxcar' (ISBN 1-85780-201-2 published 2005). Mr Lloyd was able to view the accident report which reads as follows:
The props were locked out of reverse due to a maintenance condition.
The right engine began losing power at about 70 knots. Wet runway from light rain. Pilot applied brakes, then assisted by copilot. No effect. With about 3500 feet of remaining runway, the pilot tried to ground loop to the right, also to effect. Then they began to retract the gear.
Noselandinggear folded first and tore off doors. Left Mainlandinggear retracted and right gear partial retraction.
Acft crossed PSP overrun and came to rest at the edge of the drop off with an undulating slope. Aircraft broke apart. Cockpit crew went out nav blister, back-enders went out troop doors.
Crew: 2 pilots and an FE
PAX: 2 officers from 315th AD & 2 EM from Fifth AF 6147th TACCG at K-14. "
./end quote


James Harvey Knauss wrote me in april 2013: "You have done a good job of presenting one of the world’s worst airplanes.
I was a 1/Lt at Ashiya, Japan in 1955 flying those things, and I remember the loss of the bird that Robert H. Dickinson was in. We looked for the thing for days!
All C-119s were grounded for quite some time, I was glad of that.  I left Ashiya and the Air Force one year later. 
As you can tell I do not have anything good to say about the thing.  But it is history.
I did enjoy my time in C-47s."
(And indeed, the ASN database shows that in the 1950s sometimes a month did not go by without a C-119 crash, sometimes multiple crashes in one month -Webmaster).


 

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.

 

 

The legendary Ed Dugan C-119 crash
Greg Lee sent me photos of the legendary Ed 'Dead' Dugan C-119 crash in Alaska.

 

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:

Fairchild C-119 N383S in Alaska


Henry added to this photo: "A Fairchild C-119 that was hauling some large vehicles from our base at Campbell Airstrip (Anchorage) to a remote location.
It had wing mounted auxiliary jet engines and an empty mount for a top mounted jet.
One of the pilots told me at the time that it was used for tests of the 'Snap and Grab'-system of retrieving objects from the ground or air.
Some of your C-119 people might know a little more.
It was registered as N383S."

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.
One Jet-Pak C-119G prototype (N383S), was the STOLMASTER, which had a choice of 1, 2 or 3 quick-attach jet-pods.
First flight was 9 May, 1967.

N383S (c/n 10999) was registered to Hawkins & Powers of Greybull,WY and flown as Tanker 133.
Here is a photo shared on Facebook with credit to the photographer by Geoff Goodall, the date:1977 - but without any details as to the location.
C-119 Tanker 133 N383S

Aad van der Voet (of OldWings.nl) had the details of N383S' demise: "N383S crashed on 06Jun1979 in the Banning Pass, Morongo Indian Reservation, just east of Banning, CA, when a wing separated from the fuselage.
At the time the aircraft was executing a steep downhill drop during firefighting operations."

Only very few airtanker crashes are listed on the NTSB site, don't know why, anyone? EMAIL



 

Crash C-119 53-3195 Pallet Mountain
Could not see a way from the website of Joe Idoni to ask permit to use this photo, so instead screendumped a page for use as thumbnail and link to a year 2005 hike up to remains of Fairchild C-119 53-3195 at Pallet Mountain, California. Either click the thumbnail or HERE..

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:

C-119 Alaska

Here's Kaiser-Frazer C-119L N8504W (c/n 259) at Dahl Creek,Alaska:
C-119 N8504W damaged beyond repair, Alaska
From Aviation Safety Network (ASN): The right hand main landing gear shear pin failed, causing the gear to collapse. Aircraft damaged beyond repair. Date of accident 07Sep1981. Never salvaged, I believe?
Operator was 'J.D.Gifford & Associates', but I would like to know more details on who they were, what they did.
EMAIL

Paul wrote:
"The multi-year government contract for flying construction materials to remote Alaskan locations evolved to eight C-119s and ended with seven. The atmosphere at the Anchorage ramp always emitted a since of adventure!
Here's a shot of an empty take off from Ambler's 2500ft strip. Ten ton loads were flown in..!"
C-119 taking off from Ambler's 2.500 ft gravel strip


 

 

 

 

 

Chuck Lunsford wrote a book about his days as a radio operator onboard the C-119:
Click here "Departure Message"

He also wrote a novel, featuring the C-119 Flying Boxcar, called "Boxcar Down, the Albanian Incident" Click here

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.

 

 


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