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 Designation||C-119G Flying Boxcar|
|Unofficial Nicknames||Crowd Killer, Dollar Nineteen|
|Primary Role||Tactical airlift|
|Secondary Role||Aerial gunship|
|Original Contractor||Fairchild Aircraft Corporation|
|Wingspan||109 feet, 4 inches|
|Length||86 feet, 6 inches|
|Height at Tail||26 feet, 6 inches|
|Engines||Two Wright R-3350-85 radials|
|Horsepower||3,500 shp each|
|Cruise Speed||200 mph|
|Max Speed||290 mph|
|Service Ceiling||30,000 feet|
|Max Payload||30,000 pounds or 67 troops|
|Max Takeoff Weight||74,000 pounds|
|Total Produced||480 aircraft|