C-119 Flying Boxcar

C-119 Flying Boxcar

Infobox Aircraft
name= C-119 Flying Boxcar

type=Military transport aircraft
manufacturer=Fairchild Aircraft
first flight=November 1947
introduced=December 1949
primary user= United States Air Force
more users=
number built=1,183
unit cost=
developed from = C-82 Packet
variants with their own articles= XC-120 Packplane Fairchild AC-119

The Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar (Navy designation R4Q) was an American military transport aircraft developed from the World War II Fairchild C-82 Packet, designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built. Its cargo hauling ability earned it the nickname "Flying Boxcar".


The Air Force C-119 and Navy R4Q was initially a redesign of the earlier Fairchild C-82 Packet, built between 1945 and 1948. The Packet provided service to the Air Force's Tactical Air Command and Military Air Transport Service for nearly nine years during which time its design was found to have several serious problems. All of these were addressed in the C-119.

In contrast to the C-82, the cockpit was moved forward to fit flush with the nose rather than its previous location over the cargo compartment. This resulted in more usable cargo space and larger loads than the C-82 could accommodate. The C-119 also featured more powerful engines, and a wider and stronger airframe. The first C-119 prototype (called the XC-82B) first flew in November 1947, with deliveries of C-119Bs from Fairchild's Hagerstown, Maryland factory beginning in December 1949.

In 1951 Henry J. Kaiser was awarded a contract to assemble additional C-119s at the Kaiser-Frazer automotive factory located in the former B-24 Liberator plant at Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan. Initially, the Kaiser-built C-119F would differ from the Fairchild aircraft by the use of Wright R-3350-85 Cyclone engines in place of Fairchild's use of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radial engine. The Wright engine was a proven design used previously on the B-29, and though it lacked the R-4360's superchargers it proved to be virtually identical in performance, and possibly superior at higher altitudes. Kaiser would build 71 C-119s at Willow Run in 1952 and 1953 (s/n 51-8098 to 51-8168) before converting the factory for a planned production of the Chase C-123 that would never occur. The Kaiser sub-contract was frowned upon by Fairchild, and efforts were made through political channels to stop Kaiser's production, which may have proven successful. Following Kaiser's termination of C-119 production the contract for the C-123 was instead awarded to Fairchild. Most Kaiser-built aircraft were eventually turned over to the South Vietnamese Air Force.

The AC-119G "Shadow" variant was fitted with four six-barrel 7.62 mm mini-guns, armor plating, flare-launchers, and night-capable infrared equipment. Like the AC-130 it would be a potent weapon. The AC-119 was made more deadly by the introduction of the AC-119K "Stinger" version, which featured the addition of two 20 mm cannon, improved avionics, and two underwing-mounted J-85-GE-17 turbojet engines, adding nearly 6,000 lbf of thrust.

Other major variants included the EC-119J, used for satellite tracking, and the YC-119H Skyvan, with larger wings and tail. Another variant is the "Jet-Pack" version, which incorporates a 3,400 lbf Westinghouse J34 turbojet engine in a nacelle above the fuselage.


Number Built: 1183 consisting of:
*1112 built by Fairchild
*71 built by Kaiser-Frazer CorpTwo additional airframes were built by Fairchild for static tests

Operational history

The aircraft saw extensive action during the Korean War as a troop and equipment transport. In July 1950, four C-119s were sent to FEAF for service tests. Two months later, the C-119 deployed with the 314th Troop Carrier Group and served in Korea throughout the war.

The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-119 Flying Boxcars in service from 1955 - 1973.

The C-119s saw service with the 456th Troop Carrier Wing which was attached to the Strategic Air Command from 25 April 1955 to 26 May 1956. The C-119s performed aerial recovery of high altitude balloon-borne instrument packages. C-119s from the 6593rd Test Squardon based at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii performed several aerial recoveries of film-return capsules during the early years of the Corona spy satellite program. On 1960-08-19 the recovery by a C-119 of film from the Corona mission code-named Discoverer 14 was the first successful recovery of film from an orbiting satellite and the first aerial recovery of an object returning from Earth orbit. [cite web |url=http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftDisplay.do?id=1960-010A |title=Discoverer 14 - NSSDC ID: 1960-010A |publisher=NASA]

The C-119 would go on to see extensive service in Vietnam, beginning in 1954 with aircraft secretly loaned by the CIA to French forces for troop support. These aircraft were generally flown in French markings by American CIA pilots often accompanied by French officers and support staff. The C-119 was to play a major role during the siege at Dien Bien Phu, where they flew into increasingly heavy fire while dropping supplies to the besieged French forces.

After its retirement from active duty, many C-119s and R4Qs soldiered on in the US Navy, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard until the mid-1970s, and until recently they were still in use by the Taiwanese Air Force. The last military use of the C-119 by the United States ended in 1974 when a single squadron of Navy R4Qs based at Selfridge ANG Base near Detroit, Michigan, and two squadrons based at Naval Air Station, Long Beach, California replaced their R4Qs with newer aircraft.

Many were provided to other nations as part of the Military Assistance Program, including Belgium, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Italy, Nationalist China, and as previously mentioned, South Vietnam. The type was also used by the Royal Canadian Air Force, and by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps under the designation R4Q.

Civilian use

A number of aircraft were acquired by companies who were contracted by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Bureau of Land Management to provide airtankers for fighting wildfires. Others were pressed into civilian cargo service. After a series of crashes, the age and safety of the aircraft being used as airtankers became a serious concern, and the U.S. C-119 airtanker fleet was permanently grounded in 1987. Many of these aircraft wound up being provided to museums across the U.S. in a complicated - and ultimately illegal - scheme where stored USAF Lockheed C-130A Hercules transports and Navy P-3 Orion anti-submarine patrol aircraft were provided to the contractors in exchange for the C-119s. [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=9th&navby=case&no=9810173 USA vs Fuchs, U.S. 9th Circuite Court of Appeals, Appeal 9810173, filed July 6, 2000] ] (See U.S. Forest Service airtanker scandal.)


;XC-119A:The XC-82B modified to production standards, later became C-119A, then EC-119A as an electronics test bed.;C-119B:Production variant with two R-4360-30 engines, 55 built.;C-119C:As C-119B with dorsal fins added and tailplane extensions removed, 303 built.;YC-119D:Project for a version with three-wheeled landing gear and removable pod, was designated XC-128A, none built.;YC-119E:Project for a version of the 119D with two R-3350 engine, was designated XC-128B, none built.;YC-119F:One C-119C modified with two R-3350-85 engines.;C-119F:Production variant, 256 built for the USAF and RCAF.;C-119G:As C-119F with different propellers, 480 built.;AC-119G Shadow:C-119G modified as gunships, 26 conversions.;YC-119H :Re-designed version with extended wing and modified tail surface, one converted from a C-119C.;C-119J:C-119F and G converted with a modified rear-fuselage, 62 conversions.;EC-119J:Conversions for satellite tracking.;MC-119J:Used for aircraft equipped for medical evacuation role.;YC-119K:One C-119G modified with two R-3350 engine and two J-58 underwing fitted turbojets.;C-119K:Five C-119Gs modified as YC-119K.;AC-119K Stinger:C-119G modified to C-119K standard as gun ships, 26 conversions.;C-119L:Modified variant of the C-119Gs, 22 conversions.;XC-120 Packplane:One C-119B converted with removable cargo pod.;C-128:Initially used designation for YC-119D and YC-119E variant.;R4Q-1:United States Navy version of the C-119C, 39 built.;R4Q-2:United States Navy version of the C-119F, later re-designated C-119F, 58 built.


*Belgian Air Force - 40 new and six surplus USAF aircraft.;BRA
*Brazillian Air Force - 12 former USAF aircraft.;CAN
*Royal Canadian Air Force - 35 new aircraft.;ROC(Taiwan)
*Republic of China Air Force - 114 former USAF aircraft.;ETH
*Ethiopian Air Force - eight former USAF aircraft.;FRA
*French Air Force - Nine aircraft loaned from USAF for use in Indo-China;IND
*Indian Air Force - 79 aircraft.;ITA
*Italian Air Force - 40 new aircraft, five transferred from United Nations and 25 surplus USAF aircraft.;JOR
*Royal Jordanian Air Force - four former USAF aircraft.;MAR
*Royal Moroccan Air Force - 12 former USAF aircraft and six former Canadian aircraft.;NOR
*Royal Norwegian Air Force - 8 surplus Belgian aircraft.;ESP
*Spanish Air Force - 10 former Belgian aircraft delivered but rejected and did not enter service.;flag|South Vietnam
*Vietnam Air Force - 91 aircraft transferred from USAF.;United Nations
*Five former USAF aircraft donated, operated by the Indian Air Force then passed to the Italian Air Force.;USA
*United States Air Force
*United States Marine Corps
*United States Navy


A number of C-119s have been preserved in museums.
*C-119 serial number 51-8037 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
*C-119C serial 48322 - At the Milestones of Flight Museum, Fox Field, Lancaster, California. Last operated by Hemet Valley Flying Service as Tanker 82, registered N13745.
*C-119C serial 49-199 - At the Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California. Transferred to the U.S. Forest Service after retirement from the Air Force.
*C-119 (serial number unknown) Flying J Ranch near Pima, Arizona in Graham County.
*C-119G serial 51-8024L - At the Strategic Air and Space Museum, Ashland, Nebraska. [ [http://www.strategicairandspace.com/collections/C-119.html C-119G, S/N 51-8024L information page, Strategic Air & Space Museum website] ]
*C-119 - Zenith Aviation's Tanker 140 has been purchased by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum. [ [http://www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org/images/aircraft_of_museum_03.pdf Museum aircraft listing] ]
*C-119C - serial 50-0128 Pope AFB, N. Carolina marked as 50-0182
*C-119C - serial 49-0157 Pima Air Museum, Tucson, AZ
*C-119 - "IK450" Indian Air Force Museum, Palam, New Delhi. This unit is fitted with an external jet-pack. [ [http://shanx9328.fotopic.net/p37048067.html Picture_024.jpg:: Another view of the C-119, also note the external jetpack on top of the fuselage for JATOs (Jet assisted take off) @ Fotopic.Net ] ]
*C-119G serial 254, CP46/OT-CEH (Belgium Airforce), ex 53-8151. At the Royal Army and Military History Museum in Brussels, Belgium. [ [http://www.scramble.nl/wiki/index.php?title=Brussels_-_Brussels_Air_Museum Royal Army and Military History Museum Collection] at Scramble.nl ]
*R4Q-2 - (serial number unknown) Painted in United States Air Force colors to depict it as a C-119 on static display at the Fort Campbell, Ky museum.
*C-119G serial 52-5850 - At the Grissom Air Museum, located in Peru, Indiana.

pecifications (C-119)

aircraft specifications

plane or copter?=plane
jet or prop?=prop

** 62 troops "or"
** 35 stretchers
payload main=10,000 lb
payload alt=4,500 kg
payload more=of cargo
length main=86 ft 6 in
length alt=26.37 m
span main=109 ft 3 in
span alt=33.30 m
height main=26 ft 6 in
height alt=8.08 m
area main=1,447 ft²
area alt=134.4 m²
empty weight main=40,000 lb
empty weight alt=18,000 kg
loaded weight main=64,000 lb
loaded weight alt=29,000 kg
max takeoff weight main=74,000 lb
max takeoff weight alt=34,000 kg
engine (prop)=Pratt & Whitney R-4360-20
type of prop=radial engines
number of props=2
power main=3,500 hp
power alt=2,611 kW each
more general=
** Alternate powerplant:Wright R-3350-85 "Cyclone" radials, 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) each
max speed main=296 mph
max speed alt=257 knots, 450 km/h
range main=2,280 mi
range alt=1,980 nm, 3,670 km
ceiling main=23,900 ft
ceiling alt=7,290 m
climb rate main=1,010 ft/min
climb rate alt=5.1 m/s
loading main=44 lb/ft²
loading alt=216 kg/m²
power/mass main=0.11 hp/lb
power/mass alt=180 W/kg

Popular culture

The 2004 film "Flight of the Phoenix" employed a C-119 instead of the C-82 Packet featured in the original 1965 film. (The airplane in the novel is referred to as a "Skytruck".) The studio had been offered the Hawkins & Power's flyable C-82, but the director favored the more graceful lines of the C-119 for this version. A C-119G owned by Hawkins & Powers Aviation Inc. and registered as N15501 was flown to Africa with the addition of a single jet mounted on the upper surface, which was then removed for filming. Three ex-USMC C-119Fs were also used for the various wreck scenes.

ee also

*C-82 Packet
*XC-120 Packplane
*Fairchild AC-119
similar aircraft=
*Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy
*Blackburn Beverley
*Nord Noratlas
*List of military aircraft of the United States
*List of military aircraft of the United States (naval)
see also=


Air Force "Website of origin: [http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=790 USAF Museum]

External links

* [http://www.oldprops.ukhome.net/C119%20Census.htm C-119 Survivors Census]

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