Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar


The C-119 Flying Boxcar, developed from the Fairchild C-82 Packet, was a twin-engine, twin-boom, twin-tail transport designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients, and mechanized equipment, and to drop cargo and troops by parachute (utilizing its “clamshell” cargo doors in the rear cockpit). The first C-119 made its maiden flight in November 1947 and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,150 C-119s had been built. The USAF used the airplane extensively during the Korean Conflict as a transport. In South Vietnam, the airplane once again entered combat, this time in the ground support role as the AC-119G “Shadow” and AC-119K “Stinger” gunships mounting side-firing weapons capable of unleashing up to 6,000 rounds per minute per gun.

When acting as a transport, the C-119 could carry up to 62 fully-equipped troops or a 30,000 pound cargo load.

Perhaps the Boxcar’s most notable feat happened when it made the world’s first mid-air recovery of a capsule returning from outer space. This occurred southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii on 19 August 1960 when it snagged the chute attached to the Discovery XIV satellite at an altitude of 8,000 feet.


Official DesignationC-119G Flying Boxcar
Unofficial NicknamesCrowd Killer, Dollar Nineteen
Primary RoleTactical airlift
Secondary RoleAerial gunship
National OriginUSA
Original ContractorFairchild Aircraft Corporation
Wingspan109 feet, 4 inches
Length86 feet, 6 inches
Height at Tail26 feet, 6 inches
ArmamentSee AC-119G
EnginesTwo Wright R-3350-85 radials
Horsepower3,500 shp each
Cruise Speed200 mph
Max Speed290 mph
Range2,280 miles
Service Ceiling30,000 feet
Operating WeightUnknown
Max Payload30,000 pounds or 67 troops
Max Takeoff Weight74,000 pounds
Date Deployed1947
Total Produced480 aircraft