There was very little literature on the Fairchild C-119s and no reference books on the individual C-119 individual histories. So I started this page in an attempt to learn a little more about "the Dollar Nineteen"; when I started Wikipedia wasn't available yet.|
Meanwhile the invitation to send contributions for sharing first hand experiences on these airplanes still stands.
Chuck Lunsford, radio operator on the "Flying Spam Can" during the 1950s, offered the following:
C-82A N9701F (c/n 10184) was used by TWA in the 1960s, to ferry engines around Europe.
"53-8145 was photographed by Ed Travis, taken at Rhein-Main shortly after they got the new airplanes, and before the whole wing was moved to Dreux."
A little bit more on the names "Packet" and "Flying Boxcar", from the book "Fairchild Aircraft 1926-1987" (by Kent A.Mitchell) the following:|
However, the first C-119 actually was a C-82 modification. To test the new powerplant installation and the new nose configuration, the 137th C-82A was pulled off the production line and sent to Fairchild's experimental shop. That airplane carried the constructor's number 10139 and the Air Force tail number 45-57769.
First designated XC-82B, then XC-119A and eventually just C-119A, the airplane was still called a Packet, whereas production C-119s would be known as Flying Boxcars, making the well established nickname official.
53-7844, being converted to a C-119K, before it was painted in desert camouflage and sent to Ethiopia.|
A great many of the tops of USAF reserve 119s were painted white after they came back to the USA.
Photo via Richard Miller of Fairchild.
|"53-7844 was a former 12th Troop Carrier Sq. airplane -- I liked flying in that one. The callsign just flowed off the tongue when radio calls were made -- Air Force 3-7844" -- easy to say in ICAO English. A picture of the finished C-119K 7844 in Ethiopian paint is seen here." (Chuck Lunsford).|
"When the need arose in Vietnam for a 3rd gun ship, 56 C-119s were pulled out of mothballs in Tucson in 1968 and converted to AC-119G and AC-119K models, they still had 3350s, and Aeroproducts 4-bladed props, and went to Vietnam and were flown with those props until there were several runaway overspeeds, that caused the loss of one Shadow and one Stinger. The Shadows had to keep the Aeroproducts propellers because they did not have the extra help of the two jet engines carried by the Stingers, however the Air Force converted the AC-K Stingers to Hamilton Standard 3-bladed props that gave less thrust, but were not prone to overspeed and runaway with the engine. As a result, whenever the civil owners of 119s could get the 3-bladed props, they installed them.
That is why N15501 is sporting 3 blades (see below), instead of 4, in Tenerife. The aircraft looks to me like it has been extensively refurbished, probably at Fox's expense, and I might speculate that the three bladed props were part of the deal. Don't know for sure, I'm just guessing. There was a military C-119L, that had different 3-bladed props, but there were only a few and the props were the only modifications. There is one, 53-8087 on display at Ft. Bragg. Those C-119K modifications sold to other countries retained the Aeroproducts 4 bladed props.
I flew about 3,000 hours in G models, and I know of only one prop overspeed in the 12th Squadron. The pilot of 53-8152 was Lt. Harry Dawley, and he landed it safely on a beach at Caraffa De Catanzaro, on the boot of Italy. For more see below. The 10th Sq., had one on 53-8141, "The Twin Fan Spam Can," on which I was the white knuckle radio operator, but they got it feathered and on the ground safely at Athens. The 11th Sq. had one on take off with an ambulance aboard, also at Athens, and the resulting gear-up crash-landing wrote off the airplane."
|"Those 51-26xx and 51-82xx tail numbers were originally built as C models -- the 12th had a few of them. They were converted to F models in the field but still retained the R-4360s, were referred to as "CF" models, and were replaced in '54 and '55 with New G models -- if they were converted to Gs with the 3350s and Aeroproducts props, it was after they were sold."|
Flight Engineer Traficante applied the "Mach Nix" nose art to C-119G "Super G" 53-8145; he wrote me: "At that time the Super "G" Constellation, Lockheed's new fast 4 engine super airplane inspired my naming my airplane. I named her "Mach Nix" with the "Super G" over the nose art. "Super G" for the Constellation and "Mach" for the speed of sound and "Nix" in the German expression "MOX NIX" (who cares)."
Thanks John !
I received following message in Jan.2006: "Hi, I was in the 317th TCW and was on a few flights from Germany; the birds that we had were 53-3150 and up to ???. I do remember that they were G- models and we got 53 but one was destroyed on the ramp when it caught a C-21 power plant. I was in Maintenance Control and also ran the Electric Shop from 1955-1958," |
Serials from the publication "United Stated Air Force Serials 1946 to 1977" by the Merseyside Aviation Society (1977):|
131700 was one of a batch of 58 Fairchild R4Q-2 Packets (c/n 10829/10856 and 10875/10904), redesignated C-119F in 1962.
'700' is seen here at Naval Air Station Glenview, IL at some unknown date. It was decommissioned and stored at Davis-Monthan's MASDC as 4C0029.
This C-119F was entered into the civil register as N3267U for Comutair, Gering, NE. It was reported stored at Nairobi, Kenya in 1996. That was the end of its flying career, because by end-2003 it was dismantled and trucked to Namibia for use in the movie "The Last Flight of the Phoenix". Click this link for more details on C-119s in this movie.
C-119 "Flying Boxcar" |
Production period/total: 1948 through 1953, 1 converted from XC-82B, 1,051 bought.
C-119C 51-2566 (c/n 10524) preserved at Warner-Robins AFB Museum (Photo: R.Leeuw 23Jul01)
Wayne King wrote the following comment on the engines used on YC-119F ('As C-119C, but with two 3.500 horsepower, R-3350-85 engines'):
I was stationed at Dreux-Senonches (frequently misspelled Senoches) AB
for 3 years beginning in March, 1956. I was an A/C Reciprocating Engine Mechanic and worked in the Engine Buildup shop. I estimate that I built or supervised the building of as many as 280 engines during that time. A few of them were P&W R-2800 models for the C-123 birds, while the majority were Wright R-3350-89A Turbo-Compound models
for the C-119G. Every C-119 engine that I worked on had an ID tag with that label.
In nov.2005 Charles Dillner wrote me:|
"I was a polehandler on the project that used the "J" models with the "beavertail". We were at Charleston AFB in 1955 and ended up in Okinawa late '55 to early 1956. Our A/C was 51-8050. We lived near the base in Charleston and remember the C-119 that crashed on takeoff in the summer of 1956. We left on a training mission the next day. These "J" models were also used in the Pacific in the late 50's and early 60's in the Discover Project.
Wright Patterson AFB Museum has one of the "J" models from our Wing on static display, aircraft 51-8037.
A pole handler helped deploy the poles, ropes and hooks from a C-119J to catch the packages released from balloons that had traveled over Russia during the Cold War. This was the "Moby Dick Project". The book which has a very good description of this work is "The Moby Dick Project" by Curtis Peebles published in 1991 by Smithsonian Institution Press. "
C-119L 53-8087 at Ft. Bragg. Photographer unknown, via Chuck Lunsford.|
The C-119L was only a regular -G model, with 3 bladed props. All C-119s from the very first one, Air Force or Marine (Navy), had removable clamshell doors.
Walt Chapman has this to say on 53-8087, another -L model:
Statistics: For C-119C
Cruising speed: 250 mph
Service ceiling: 31.800 feet
Range: 2.018 miles
data sheet (Acrobat Reader document).
In May 2006 I received following email:
Channing Ball (Sgt-ret.) wrote me the following in March 2007:
The twin booms enclosed a clam-shell door, which allowed for equipment to be loaded straight in, or vehicles could be driven up a ramp.
The high-wing, twin boom design also meant that the cargo compartment had no obstructions - it was maximized for cargo.
The Boxcar, which some also called the "Packet," was a real workhorse. It performed a variety of missions, ranging from the true transport of people and cargo from one point to another to ground attack. It performed satellite surveillance, medevac, glider tug, and airdrop, and was used by Special Forces for their unique mission. The Boxcar flew with many flags, not just that of the U.S. Air Force. It also flew in the Marine Corps and Navy, and in the service of other countries, including Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, India, Taiwan, and South Vietnam.
Source of the above: "The "C"-Planes by Bill Holder & Scott Vadnais
Another Fairchild R4Q-2 / C-119F Packet, 131688.
Photo: Official US Photo, Released (NAS Glenview,IL)
There are still quite a few of these C-119s around, but not many airworthy: C-119 Census at OldProps.|
Here is a bit more about N15501 and the movie "Flight of the Phoenix".
Doug sent me this shot of N15501 while being prepared at Greybull,WY by Hawkins and Powers for the long haul ferry flight to Namibia, to play a part in that movie.
Note the 3-blade props.
Ralph remembered his days on the Boxcar: " I started flying the C-119F in 1954 at Charleston, SC. At that time the max gross weight was 72.300 lbs, later reduced to 68.000 lb. These aircraft had Hamilton Standard props, later Aeroproducts. The Ham Standard was a pain, as we had to feel each blade for bumps before flight. They were converted to -J models and we went to catching parachutes and we went overseas to catch camera parachutes.|
The Ham Standard steel blades were hollow and tended to delaminate causing the blade to fail. So we looked for delamination bumps. The cameras were dropped from high altitude balloons and we caught them coming down by intercepting the parachutes."
Thanks Ralph !
Chuck Lunsford brought a mystery to my attention:
Photo taken by Ralph of 53-7877: "photo was taken '54/'55. I was in the 745TCS, 456TCW at Charleston AFB, SC. We spent most of our time dropping troops and heavy equipment at Pope AFB or Fort Campbell. Then our aircraft were convereted to J's for operation "Drag Net".
Paul Toutant (SSGT USAF / ADC retired USNR, P3 flight engineer) wrote me in July 2005: "From Aug. 1955 to Aug. 1958 I was a crew chief / flight engineer on C-119's in Neubiberg (Munich) Germany and Evereux, France, in the 41st Troop Carrier Squadron. In March 1957 the squadron was moved to France. We were part of the 317 Troop Carrier Wing.|
The plane that I crewed was sn 53-8121, which I brought back to the States when they were replaced by C-130's. I brought 2 planes back to the States: one going to Enid (?) OK and the other to Portland, OR.
I also flew on C-47's and B-25's, some of the last ones in the USAF. Sure do miss aviating..."
More on props and engines, by Chuck Lunsford:
The C-119 had two different engines. The original XC-82B, the C-119B, of which only 55 were built, and the C-119C all had P&W R-4360 engines, with Hamilton Standard 4 bladed props -- most were reversible.
When the F models were built, they were supposed to have the PW 4360, but that is when SAC got priority for those engines, and Fairchild had to change to Wright R-3350 turbo-compound variants, and the Aeroproducts 4 bladed propellers. There was a shortage of 3350s at that time - 1951 - and some of the production was delayed, most notably the Kaiser-Frazer sub-contract airplanes which were built in Detroit.
Added to all of this confusion is that all C-119s were eventually converted to G models in the form of modifications, including the engines and props. To my knowledge, the only C-119s built from the start as G models were the 53-78-- series. I believe the last C models built with the PW 4360 were the 51-82-- series. They were modified to F models in the field, but retained the PW 4360s, and were referred to un-officially, as CF models. However, pilot logs for flying time in those aircraft say the aircraft was officially a C model.
I know several crew chiefs and flight engineers who flew both the CF and the G models. One of the things they didn't like was the Aeroproducts 4 bladed props. They required constant attention. The over-speed, runaway problem continued to plague the C-119s, even up to and including Vietnam, where there were several losses. The Air Force then went to three bladed props on the AC-119K aircraft, but not on the AC-119G. The reason given to me was the 3 bladed props gave less thrust, but the 2 additional jets on the AC-Ks compensated for that. The AC-Gs were so weight-critical at takeoff they could not afford the loss of thrust, so stayed with the 4 bladed Aeroproducts props.
AC-119 Gunship info at www.hurlburt.af.mil/basewide/airpark/c119/index.shtml|
AC-119 in Vietnam at airwarvietnam.com/ac119.htm
71st Special Operations Sqdn in Vietnam www.atterburybakalarairmuseum.org/71st_vietnam.htm
Gunships on www.ais.org/~schnars/aero/gunships.htm
Lee Meyers wrote me in June 2005:|
"As a former jumper in the 101st., from 1958 to 1961, I jumped out of a lot of C-119s. They were a lot of fun to unass. The crew chiefs would stand between the doors when they were open with a fire ax to prevent anyone from takeing them out with them when we jumped!
I remember the runups at the very end of the runway and on departures the floor of the aircraft vibrated so badly, it would hurt your feet a little so we would lift them up and hold them there until they backed off on the power...
The C-119 and C-123 were our primary aircraft until we started getting A-model C130s in 1959 and we continued to use all three models. I did on one occasion get to jump out of a C124.
Joel F.Jackson sent me these newspaper clippings relating to a C-119 crash in Tennessee in 1951: one and two
Bonnie Aguilar wrote me in June 2009:
Jack Williamson wrote me with the following-|
"I'm not sure how many years H&P flew the C-119, but I joined them in 1979 and flew a few hours in Tankers T-133, T-140, and as primary I was assigned to T-137. During 1980 I flew T-139, T-137 and T-136 as primary. In 1981 I was assigned to T-136 and flew a few flights in T-138.
T-137 was configured with the jet pod on top as were all the C-119s in fire service. I flew C-119s for another operator until 1986.
As is the case with all airplanes, the C-119 had its peculiarities but they were honest ones and readily visable to an experienced pilot during his first walk around inspection.
I flew as tankers the DC-6, DC-7, PB4Y, S-2, C-119 The C-119 flew like a fighter and was by far my favorite in a steep short canyon.
When an airplane was crippled it was normally stripped of all usable components, most certainly the J-33 engine. H&P swapped parts and engines from airplane to airplane at regular intervals, no one ever tried to keep track of them.
As is the case with most airplanes, if it were maintained properly, and flown by a knowledgeable crew, by the book it would perform for you."
Duane Delk wrote me in Sep.2005:
In the USAF I flew as a Flight Engineer on KC-97G's/C-97G, C-124 A&C and C-141 A&B. I flew as a Flt Mech on B-25J's and C-119C, F&G's.
The C-119 was interesting. I flew C-119C's out of MacDill AFB,FL in the mid 50's. SAC used them for support aircraft. We either had 4 or 6 of them, I can't remember exactly. The only tail numbers that I remember were 49-185 and 49-140. We got 185 from Hayes Aircraft in Birmingham,AL out of what was called IRAN: Inspect and Repair As Necessary. It was in pretty good shape. 49-140 came straight from Vietnam. It had been on loan to the French and it was in horrible shape.
(Sadly, Duane passed away on 11Jan2010. See A Career On Vintage Prop Transports)
"A memorial plaque was found by me recently, it had on the reverse side of the tombstone (bearing the name DICKINSON [HARRY & BERNICE] at Riverside Cemetery, Spencer, Iowa) written the following-
Hank Redding sent me the following in August 2010:
Here is the actual aircraft that crashed with Major Andrews; he's praying -as a goodwill gesture- that the airplane will be airworthy to fly..? Needless to say that things went bad and the aircraft crashed and some lives were lost. (Photo provided by Bob Renes)
As a result of this crash, all G-Model C-119s in the world (all with Aero Products propellers and electric regulators) were grounded for several weeks, until a temporary fix was installed. It simply blocked reverse pitch. After that, we flew without reverse for four or five months. Eventually, the manufacturer found the cause and devised a permanent fix. There were no more such problems.
I’m not absolutely certain, but I’m pretty sure that Phil told me that he was in the left seat.
In the climb to the assigned cruise altitude of 10,000 feet, the right engine rpm increased somewhat. Phil adjusted it, but less than a half minute later, it increased again, and all efforts to control it, including reducing the MP to 30 inches, and slamming the propeller control into feather position, failed. Engine rpm surged and pegged the tach, then slowed to 3,400. At the surge, the aircraft snapped violently into a yaw to the right. Phil regained some control by cutting power on the left engine, but the descent rate was very high. He was able to reduce the right engine speed to 2,500 only by reducing the airspeed from 160 to 85 knots. Experimenting with higher airspeeds, but only to 110 knots, caused the rpm to return to 3,400.
Phil ordered the crew to bail out at something under 5,000 feet.
At the first sight of parachutes, a couple of Japanese fishing boats headed for the scene. The first boat picked up Magnor first, about ten minutes after he hit the water. Soon afterward, they picked up Higgins, but, although Magnor applied artificial respiration for more than 30 minutes, Higgins didn’t survive. During that time, the boat crew picked up Andrews, then Gilbert. Meanwhile, another boat had picked up Cooper. The fishermen searched for another half hour for others, but found no one. About 45 minutes into the trip back to Ashiya, they saw an SA-16, and they waved but were not seen. About a half hour later, they saw a crash boat, and even hoisted a chute on the mast, but were again not seen. The fishermen dropped the crew off at the crash boat dock, and the airman on duty called the hospital. An ambulance and a doctor arrived, and they were all transported to the hospital.
My research and conversations with Phil and Ed convince me that it was only Phil’s superior piloting skills that allowed anyone to survive.
Incidentally, Phil passed away on 14FEB09.
My squadron (37th TCS) was right next to the 36th, but I asked a friend of mine, Bob Renes who was at Ashiya during the same time, if he could furnish any info and he suppied the above report.
Note from the webmaster on fate '842' - assuming this is 52-5842, by Joe Baugher's website I learned the following; "52- 5842 (c/n 11001) to Indian AF in 1963".
|Ian MacFarlane sent me these Belgian Ar Force C-119 photos and he remembers them well. His memory was triggered due to an exchange on Classic-Propliner Yahoo forum on C-119 names; he wrote-
" I remember the Belgian Air Force used to call their C-119's Packets or Charlie One Nineteen.
We used to see them regularly at Newcastle and previously RAF Ouston on their trooping flights for "Operation Over Tyne" (which it is still called today) at the Otterburn Ranges in Northumberland, England.
In the latter days of its service we used to provide a handling service (Ground Power usually) at Newcastle to the BAF and they referred to them as Packets or Charlie One Nineteen and certainly used the latter on the R/T to I/D their type when on initial call. Also telex messages never mentioned anything other than Packet or C-119 - Boxcar was never ever used, it was the same in Diplomatic Clearances to ATC. If we had crews from both the C-119 and DC-6A in the office at the same time and you asked who is flying what - it was alway the Packet or Charlie One Nineteen.
Correct me if I am wrong, but some of the C-119's appeared to be fitted with a two stroke type engine and only used only for Engine starting, anyone remember this?"
|"CP-31 - was at RAF Ouston (still used by the Army!) which is located about 5 miles north west of Newcastle Airport, it was hard to get good sharp photographs of taxying aircraft due to my camera having a manual focus and the fastest shutter speed being 1/300 - the C-119's used to taxi past at quite a speed as it was quite some distance to the main runway."|
|"CP-46 - this photograph was taken from the Aero Club garden as you can see by the small fence, note the other C-119 to the left of CP-46 was parked along side a DC-6A."|
C-119G OT-CAQ / CP-17 (10679), NCL 03Apr73.
Ian wrote: "I actually managed to photograph about 30 different Belgian C-119's at Newcastle/RAF Ouston.
Ouston used to be good for taxi photographs as you could stand at a small fence/gate and help your self; the Domestic site was at the other side if the airfield and no one ever came around and to use the main runway this taxiway had to be used. On rare occassions aircraft used one of the shorter runways which meant no photographs. I have seen DC-4/6's land on the shorter runways only."
Forty-six C-119s were delivered to the Belgian Air Force from 1952 onwards, initially C-119F's (1951 serials), and later C-119G's.
|Chuck Lunsford wrote this about the various C-82 / C-119 names....
" The official name of the C-82 was "Packet." The first few C-82s were built by North American and they designed it, but Fairchild took over the contract and tooled up to built 200-plus C-82As. The C-82 had its shortcomings, so a 'redesign' was done, and the result was the XC-82B, still called a Packet.
The new design was such a great and radical departure from the C-82 that the Air Force gave it a new designation: C-119A. The XC-82B and the C-119A were the same, one-off airplane, tail number 45-7769, pulled from the C-82 line and re-worked.
It gets counted as two different airplanes, but it was the same one.
When a contract was let to build 55 of the new C-119s in 1946, they were designated C-119B. Fairchild insisted it was just a redesigned C-82 Packet and they never changed the name. The official name of the C-119 was also "Packet," same as the C-82. Both the C-82 and the C-119, all the way to the last C-119G off the assembly line, 53-7884, were officially named Packet.
C-119Js got a beaver-tail with an open-in-flight cargo door, C-119Ks got small jets under the wings, and C-119Ls got 3-bladed props--all still called Packet, including the C models and F models.
There were no D or E model other than design submissions. All C-119s were eventually modified to G models. There was a one-off C-119H, a C model pulled off the assembly line and extensively modified to compete for the contract ultimately won by Lockheed with the C-130.
A derivitive of the name was given to the XC-120, a re-worked C-82 that had removable pods, and was also a one-off. There were a total of 1,112 C-119s built from 1947 to 1953. In the late '60s, 52 C-119 Packets were pulled out of mothballs and sent to St. Augustine and modified to AC-119G 'Shadow' and AC-119K 'Stinger' gun ships, but those were only nicknames, as was the term "Flying Boxcar," which was applied to both the C-82 and C-119 because their cargo compartments were just about the same size as a railroad boxcar...
All Flying Boxcars, Dollar-Nineteens, Charlie one one niners, Shadows Stingers, etc., manufactured by North American, Fairchild and Kaiser-Frazer.... were Packets."
Jim Fowler wrote me in Mar.2006: |
"I came upon your web page recently and thought I could add a few facts I didn't see...
I am a former member of the 456th Troop Carrier Wing. I first went to the Wing in May 1953. We were stationed at Miami IAP and the Wing had recently changed from the 435 TCW to the 456 TCW and our aircraft had been upgraded to C-119F models (they had Wright Cyclone R-3350 turbo compound engines and Hamilton Standard 24260 propellers. The C-119s of the 456th TCW started with serial numbers 51-803? to 51-8159.
Later that summer we transferred to Charleston AFB,SC where we were an active Troop Carrier Wing. Again later we started training for our future role as a Aerial Recovery unit for a project we, in the lower ranks, were not officially informed of...
During the next few years our aircraft were modified for the new project; there were engine modifications, hydraulic systems to handle the recovery poles, winch reels for the recovery of parachutes and their packages, long range fuel tanks were added and special rear doors to replace the old style clamshell doors. The new doors were called beavertail doors and were flight operable: lifting up in flight, then the bottom door surface raised into the upper part of the door, allowing recovery procedure.
It was said at the time that we had air-to-ground, air-to-water and air-to-air recovery capability.
We had good pilots but there were mishaps such as getting too close to a parachute and catching it with an engine and prop rather than the poles... This caused damage to the engine and the props, not to mention a minor laundry problem to those onboard!
The 456th TCW had 3 Squadrons and during project operations each squadron had a detachment. These were the 744th (with a red nosecone band), the 745th (had a green nosecone band) and the 746th squadron (with the distinctive blue nosecone band). The one and only Blue Nosed Mules was stationed at NAS Kodiak, Alaska.
You can look up most project information on the web using the keyword Operation Genetrix."
(ex member 746th TCS)
Found this website on Genetrix, WS-461L, and Chaika: Cold War Balloons and Balloon Fighters, with lots of details and also a drawing of a C-119F with Beavertail modification, as used by 456 TCW for recovering Genetrix payloads.
This photo is an Official Canadian Dept of Defense photograph, released for use.
It shows Fairchild CC-119F Flying Boxcar 22110 of 435 Sqdn making an airdrop from, what I thought, an unusual hatch...
I thought airdropping was limited to the cargohold's sidedoors or the (removed) clamshell doors and had not come across photos depicting this kind of action; I have John Lameck to thank for forwarding this photo to me.
http://www.airforce.forces.gc.ca, thru the main page, to History, and then to Historical aircraft.
Btw... did the Canadians use any nicknames for the CC-119 ???
Chuck Lunsford wrote me the following in explanation: "that Canadian airplane is dropping 'para-tainers.' Full name was parachute containers, and they were bundles hung from a rail that went from back to front in the center of the cargo compartment. A winding motor would pull them toward the front where they would drop off the rail and fall through the hatch.
Chuck also relayed the following anecdote:
In May 2006 Andre Swygert made me aware of a posting on the HistoryChannel.com bulletinboard by John M Hays, which I here reproduce in part:
In May 2006 Jim Reed wrote me:
Click on the 2 thumbnails for larger images:
Jim writes about these photos:
"Here is the third photo of the night formation. It was still light when we took off but it got mighty dark later". -Jim
Jim also got to fly DC-3s later, have a look here.
|In July 2006 I received following email and photos:
"Attached are photos of a plaque recently erected by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, marking the crash of a C-119G into the top of Blue Mountain in Perry County Pennsylvania on October 26, 1956.
I hunt deer in that area and had often heard stories about the crash. DCR errected the plaque within the last year. This area is part of the Tuscarora State Forest. The photos are of the top and bottom halves of the plaque.
I took the photos on July 2, 2006. I had seen the plaque in May while spring gobbler hunting. I was up at our deer camp to cut grass and before leaving for home, took the photos."
Michael L. Landis
|Art Barry sent me this photo in Sep.2006, of the same memorial plaque, an overall view: |
Steve Shaffer sent me below clipping in Sep.2013, found on Facebook:
And here's another link, provided by Steve:
|Jerre Divelbiss wrote me in Oct.2006 with a question:
"I am looking for some information on a Military Plane Crash. It was on Sunday January 15th 1961 about 6 miles outside Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. The Plane was a C-119 assigned to the 433rd Troop Carrier Wing at Kelly AFB Texas (51-2639, c/n 10628). There were 5 men onboard and all were killed. The pilot was James H. Wilson, S/N A0750750. I'm looking for any information pertaining to the cause, exact location and/or photos.
Am trying to find this information for the pilot's son, Rick Wilson.
I found a link on Aviation-Safety.net:
it identifies the Fairchild C-119C-26-FA Flying Boxcar as (military serial) 51-2639 (construction no. 10628) but offers no information on cause, exact location and does not provide photos either.
In Aug.2008 I got an email from 'Youngstown, OH Bob' and he included copies of several Accident Reports in this Acrobat Reader .pdf Fuile
|In July 2006 Mike Swiatecki shared this with me-
"I flew as crewchief on a Marine Corps C-119, stationed at NAS Minneapolis in the summer of 1969 through March of 1970.
When everything was working right, which by the way wasn't very often..., they flew great. The winter months were not kind to that aircraft. The Wright 3350 engine had a 70 gallon oil tank. Pre-heaters were used in the late fall and winter months to help warm up the area around the engines. By the time you got the pre-heaters off the aircraft and got everything else ready to go the effect of the pre-heaters was lost!
A five horsepower APU was used to help crank the engine. All the pilots cared about was getting the engine started. The initial surge in engine RPM with those very cold temps and a 60 weight engine oil caused the inter cylinder drains and push rod tube seals to leak like sieves.
Replacing those blown seals outside on the tarmac and washing down the tailbooms with PD-680 dry cleaning solvent on those very cold days are two of the memories I will carry to my grave about my time with the C-119...
Still, she was a great aircraft to be in: firing up that 3350 on a -10 degree winter morning you could see, feel, hear, and smell the horsepower! Though of course the 115/145 octane avgas helped heighten all of your senses back then."
Adrian Reedy wrote me in Sep.2006 and also included some photos:
Jacob Chakko wrote me in Oct.2006:
Jacob further wrote to me:
"Not much info has been 'webbed' regarding Steward-Davis Inc in Long Beach,CA. They were really a fantastic outfit and I had the great honor and privilege of working with them both within the IAF in India, and later from within S-D Inc working with India.
I have written my MEMOIRS which has been published here, it refers to many interesting episodes.
I am now 82, going on 83.
Steward-Davis Inc fell on some bad times later on about the late 1970s, early 80s and since we did not pursue very high tech situations, I guess we fell by the wayside. But while we were active, I am sure we contributed to the progress that the US can and will always be proud of. You can get some info on the Internet, but I am sure my book could also be of interest.
Herb Steward passed away 2 years ago at 84 in LA. Dan Thompson the VP is still alive and lives in LA and is 88.
A picture herewith of the Orpheus Jet Packet C119G in the IAF flying on the Jet alone, with the propellors feathered !
It is a really a sight for those who have have been able to see it. It is not flying straight and level, but will do a very long powered glide. And this picture is one that has adorned many a flight office in the IAF."
Kindest regards to you. Jacob Chakko.
Franz A. Vajda sent me following information in April 2010:
Indian Air Force C-119Gs (Total 79)
End 1954: 26 received - 53-4637 to 4662 - Indian IK441 to 466, to 12° sqn
July 1960: 29 received - mixed - Indian BK502 to 530 to 19° sqn
May 1963: 24 received - mixed - Indian K962 to 985, both sqns
Used until 1985
[Source: ? ]
Chris Le Fave wrote me in Oct.2006 with following request:
In Aug.2008 I got an email from 'Youngstown, OH Bob' and he included copies of several Accident Reports in this Acrobat Reader .pdf File among which a report on 53-3195.
| Chuck Lunsford forwarded me this unsettling photograph of C-119G Flying Boxcar 53-8152.
The photo was taken by Harry Dawley who also wrote the following (and check the link to that pdf file for more details):
Chuck Lunsford added the following comment:
Joe Baugher's list says they went to the Italian Air Force, but I know 8140 crashed in Texas, 8152 was probably written off (but see below), and I have pictures of 8156 attached to a guard unit in New England. I'm beginning to wonder if all my research about the Kaisers was right...
So what happened to 53-8152 ???
So the rumor of it being towed off the beach, repaired and flown out of there, is true. If nothing else happened to 53-8152, then it could have been ferried to the USA in 1962, sent to AMARC, where it could then have been sold or given (e.g. under the NATO agreement to the Italian Air Force).
Then Chuck sent me this photo, with has the caption: "View looking North-Eastalonf the beach, distance from photographer to aircraft 300 feet. Wreckage in the foreground had been torn loose from the nose section of the aircraft by the sea action and washed ashore during hight tide. Left propellor had been removed prior to this photograph."
|"I noticed the subject of engine water-injection (actually a mixture of alcohol and water injected directly into the cylinders on take off) has been little adressed and somewhat underexposed..
I think each R4Q carried 100 gallons and about 4 to 5 gals would be used on each takeoff; the pilot would flip a toggle switch, the water went in and away you went!
Well I recall one where it didn't...
Once upon a time...: it was early 1960's and our squadron lost an engine in Guantanamo Bay (Cuba!). I was one of mechanics "chosen" to go down there and change that engine; it promised to be a simple job, would take about 4 days.
Off we went. We brought an engine on an L-stand and a spare L-stand for the old engine, plus about 8 or 9 guys.
Things went well: we changed the engine, did a couple of test hops and some 10 hours flying around the airfield. At no time during these procedures the water-injection system was used; we did not need it, being empty.
Now sun rises on the 4th day and we are ready to fly this big bird home....
I clearly recall that day: we took off with the ocean on our right and a sort of small mountain in front of us. To improve our take off, the pilot flipped the switch for the water injection and... we saw the left engine go on fire!!! Smoke pouring out everywhere... people on the ground knew this plane was going to crash!
Meanwhile, back in the cargo bay: we were on fire, so we grabbed harnesses and chutes and were lined up at the clamshell door waiting for the word 'jump'....
This would have been a disaster, because the shutes would never have opened in time, we never got over one thousand feet and at least 12 hundred was needed for that type of shute.
We could see a runway right in front of us, on the other side of that mountain, but the pilot did not want to land there, because that was the Cuban side (or maybe the runway wasn't long enough to take off again later); in any event, the pilot kept a cool head.
He considered that all he saw was smoke, but the instuments gave no fire warninglights; he reduced that engine to 15 hundred rpm and slowly turned to fly out over the water on one engine.
Boy, that must have been the longest 10 or 15 minutes !!
After the landing we talked about what happened. We found oil all the way out to the end of the boom and I suppose the heat from the turbines caused all the smoke, but we never did have a fire.
We spent 7 days trying to figure out what the cause was. We literally tore that engine apart, but couldn't find a thing. Cherry Point flew down a rep (I think from Pratt & Whitney, but to no avail).
All we found was the water went to the oil tank and was vented out, it never went into the engine.
By the 10th day or so it was decided to leave our cargo behind, because they did know it was 'water' -related and it was best to lighten the load on that that flight home.
At homebase they found that the gasket on the power controlvalve wasn't installed correctly, was reversed in some way and instead of water going to the cylinders it went into the oil tank!
Three near disasters that day, imagine if we had jumped or if the pilot had landed on Cuban soil (this was shortly before the Cuban missile crisis) or if the pilot had feathered that engine.. Thanks to a cool head we got back safely.
I have relived that event many,many times in the past 45 years and I thought it a good idea to share it here,"
Robert Vlach wrote me in Feb.2007 with this recollection:
Roger Wyckof replied to this:
|Giancarlo de Astis wrote me in Feb.2007:
I stumbled across your website on a search for Fairchild C-119 inboard wing flaps and was wondering if you know of any for sale or would have some contacts about ones for sale or being scrapped.
We are located in Boulder,CO. The flaps are used for functional furniture. Please reference the website www.deastisdesigns.com.
We went to the Hawkins and Powers auction in Greybull last summer but sadly only found two unattached; there were entire C-119’s there, but they were sold to scrappers and/or museums at a price way out of our range. We are a very small business, myself and my wife, and it was difficult for us to compete on that scale.
We are not sure how to get access to AMARC. Haveco (National Aircraft Inc.) in Tucson was scrapping a plane, but the others were sold for the movie Flight of the Phoenix, so there are no more available there either...
Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.
|Fred Mitchell wrote me in June; while he wasn't a C-119 crewmember, he has nice C-119 recollections to share:
"I just ran across the website... For the first time in years I remembered an incident at Addison,TX in 1962 involving a C-119 that was converted to an electronics lab and operated by Fairchild. I worked for Texas Instruments at the time and we had a hangar on the Addison airport, which back then was still very much the typical GA airport with a few hangars and a coffee shop. The other corporate tenant besides TI was Collins Radio. The Fairchild C-119 was there because TI was developing some electronics for a Fairchild reconaissance drone. I was on a different project, so had little to do with that operation, but was just a witness to this story. This airplane had no jets, which has a bearing on the story.
One afternoon the C-119 took off and immediately began a return to the pattern. We noticed that one engine was smoking and the downwind speed seemed painfully slow... There was no control tower in those days, barely a Unicom, but there was no other pattern traffic. Right at touchdown the port engine exhaust flamed up. I'm pretty sure the electronics guys were hitting the ground through the open rear doors before the ship stopped rolling, but the fire (oil, I'm sure) went out by itself. The airport "emergency equipment" (a fuel truck!) came rolling out to meet the airplane as it stopped on the runway.
A big A-frame crane was borrowed from Collins, and the C-119 was positioned on the ramp in front of the TI hangar. A replacement engine was flown in by another C-119 and the engine change was done in the open, on the spot. I would swear that those were R-4360s, but after all it has been 45 years! I do remember hearing that 14 gallons of oil disappeared during that very abbreviated flight.
An amusing sidelight was watching a sort of STOL demo between the C-119 and a C-130 that was there being fitted with some spook stuff by Collins. The C-119 got the first shot and didn't look bad, but the lightweight C-130 did more of a "VTOL" than "STOL" to win hands down...
By 1968 I was working for Varo, a night vision company, and I spent one day at Lockbourne AFB looking over an AC-119 that was a candidate for an IR searchlight, which in those days Varo built for tanks, but nothing came of it."
|Lou Ruggiero sent me these photos in Dec.2007.
Lou wrote: "Here are 3 photos I thought you may enjoy... They are C-119G models in the Shadow Gun Ship Configeration, sitting in their reventments at Phan Rang Air Base,RVN late 1968.
The aircraft were assigned to the 71 Special Operations Squadron, which was later replaced by the 17th SOS in June 1969."
USAF AC-119 Gunship -Stories & Sorties-
AC-119 on Wikipedia
In Dec.2007 I received following email from Bud Foster:
I came across one reference of C-119C 49-167: it had been in an accident on 05Oct1950 in Korea.No details though and obviously repaired for further service.
Hugo provide following photos and information in Jan.2008:
I was a radio operator in VMR 252, stationed a Cherry Point, NC, from November 1951 to November 1953. The photo was taken on a flight from Cherry Point to Guantanamo, and we had a weapons carrier vehicle aboard. Our sister squadron at the Point, VMR 153, was also flying south and our pilot asked if they would pose for a photo, which was done. They pulled along side and pealed off when I was taking my picture. The call letters of VMR 153 were AC as reflected on the tail. The call letters on our tail were LH (love how). When I started flying in 1952 we were flying R4Q-1’s with 4360 engines. Shortly thereafter we were given R4Q-2’s powered by 3350 engines with turbines, which for a while could blow up. Consequently, we lined the cockpit and cargo area with flak curtains which curtailed our load capacity considerably.
During my time with VMR-252, we lost one plane in Whiting Field,FL killing 42 ROTC students returning from summer training in Texas, and returning to Norfolk. The flight along with all the other ships of the squadron stopped at Whiting Field to refuel Speculation, was the the night take-off accident happened because of failure of the horizon gyro. The only survivor was the navigator, named Jerry Tuttle, from upstate NY.
This one was taken in 1951 or 1952, while flying somewhere over the States.
I think it is a very special picture of three R4Q’s in formation, with clearly visible numbers and tail markings. They are numbers 574, 738, and 579, with all showing LH on the tails which was the USMC, VMR-252 tail markings.
S/Sgt. Hugo A. Ruiz
Here are some images Hugo sent along:
Hugo wrote to these photos: "The photo with the clam shells open was taken in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
The shot of a take off was in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico.
And the others are photos of our squadron aircraft, while parked or taxiing and one of me after an air drop at Camp Lejeune.
All were taken in 1952/53 and all are shots of VMR 252 aircraft."
|Roger Wyckoff wrote me in Feb.2008:
"On checking out Hugo Ruiz's photos, I noticed one R4Q-1 that I flew on while I was with VMR-253 at Iwakuni. The one with '580' on it.
I believe it is a R4Q-1, prior to being outfitted with the radar noses.
580 is probably BuNo 126580, which would be the one Marine R4Q used in the making of the 1965 Flight of the Phoenix movie, starring Jimmy Stewart."
Check out Roger Wyckoff shares photos and memories
Larry Kraus wrote:
"I ended up spending most of September and the begining of October of 1980 at Fox Field in Tanker 68. It was a split contract that started in Alamogordo in April and moved to West Yellowstone in July.They wanted to close the base at WYS around September 1st because of freezing conditions and crummy weather.
I ended up going to Porterville and Fresno before ending up at Fox. Here is a picture of Tanker 81 at Silver City from a fire that we both worked out of SVC in 1980."
My gateway to various C-119 pages|
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) was diagnosed with liver and spine 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.