Curtiss-Wright CW-20 / C-46 "Commando"
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03.12.2023 23:51

03.12.2023 23:07

Ilyushin IL-96

03.12.2023 23:07

Ilyushin IL-114

03.12.2023 23:06

Ilyushin DB-3

03.12.2023 23:06

Ilyushin IL-112

03.12.2023 22:48

Ilyushin IL-76

03.12.2023 22:47

02.12.2023 03:55

Boeing B-1

02.12.2023 03:54

Boeing Model 21 / NB

02.12.2023 03:54

Boeing Model 15 / PW-9 / FB

02.12.2023 03:54

Boeing Model 40

02.12.2023 03:53

Boeing F2B / Model 69

02.12.2023 03:52

Boeing XP-4

02.12.2023 03:51

Boeing XP-8 / Model 66

02.12.2023 03:51

Boeing Model 74 / XF3B-1

02.12.2023 03:51

Boeing Model 80

02.12.2023 03:50

Boeing XP-7 / Model 93

02.12.2023 03:50

Boeing F3B / Model 77

02.12.2023 03:49

Boeing Model 1

02.12.2023 02:11

Canadair CL-41 "Tutor"

01.12.2023 09:50

01.12.2023 07:23

01.12.2023 06:38

01.12.2023 05:34

01.12.2023 03:28

Kawasaki C-2

30.11.2023 01:20

Junkers Ju 390

29.11.2023 21:23

Curtiss Eagle

29.11.2023 17:07

Fairchild C-123 Provider

29.11.2023 00:58

28.11.2023 22:08

William Foard Yearout, e-mail, 03.09.2023 01:58

I am trying to determine what happened to a C49 that was parked in Princeton WV during the 50s. During much of that time is served as the meeting place for a boy scout troop. The tail number appears to be 2107305. The last digit may be incorrect. Thanks!

john mahoney, e-mail, 16.04.2022 01:48

i worked for TCA at willow run. 1978-1980 as a mech. we had 3 c-46's. real workhorses.

Eric Krask, e-mail, 01.11.2021 20:11

Did you tell them why you wore your raincoat inside out and backwards (pockets in) and carried three rolls of tape in your flight kit? And sometimes flew in only your skivvies. My first Type Rating also. Hope you're doing well.

John Posey, e-mail, 28.03.2021 16:14


I too flew these "Dumbo oil drippers" out of Ypsi for Xantop/Trans during those years. They'd fill them with freight and stick us in the cockpit with a fork lift.

Wonderful days of youth!

Heather Brownlie, e-mail, 22.08.2020 23:05

I came across this message, and I had to email you! My grandfather was Frederick Robinson, “Juney’s” older brother. My mom must be your cousin...she is Rosemary Robinson and would have been 20yrs old when the accident happened.


Joe leduc, e-mail, 02.05.2020 16:14

Hello Stan

Not sure exactly where IBX is at these days. I worked on these aircraft as an Avionics technician to get them ready for the relief work we did in Nairobi. Bill is currently enjoying retirement with his wife and still residing in Manitoba. Buffalo Airways picked up AVO and TPO which at the time of purchase only TPO was in somewhat flyable condition. AVO required extensive repair and upgrades to the Avionics and mechanical side of things and spent 6 months requiring this maintenance. Hopefully this helps!

John C Roseborough, e-mail, 01.07.2017 03:30

My dad flew these over the Hump during WWII -China, Burma, India while living in India. I flew cargo in them from Ypsilanti, MI Willow Run Airport in 1971/1972.

Stan Mason, e-mail, 17.01.2017 16:18

I have been tracing histroy and latest on C45 C-GBIX still at Gimli.
First saw aicaft in Nairobi in 1992 flying releif supplies in Air MAnitoba colours
Would like to contact Al Gawryluk (see cooment above) and also Bill Fraser ex Air Manitoba engineer -also in Nairobi at same time.
Be glad to hear from anyone with info.

jeff arnett, e-mail, 11.01.2017 07:25

Loved the plane

Anthony Gagliani prinair108@ya, 05.09.2016 23:48

Edgar Hall
Do you remember aircraft numbers with Associated Air Transport airlines that was owned by Charles Blair?

Louis Piazza, e-mail, 19.03.2015 02:57

there are a number of books about flying the C-46 in the CBI
during WWII. My brother in law turning 95, 4-19-15 was a pilot flying the C-46, C-87 & C-109 (both converted B-24's) in the CBI from 9/44 to 9/45 and earning his 750 hours. Of those that survived the worst flying in the world, there were 509 crashes with 1,314 killed while 1,171 walked out of the jungles and 345 still missing.

Alex Mello, e-mail, 11.12.2014 05:34

For anyone wishing to see this beautiful aircraft in person please email We are a non-profit that still operate the only military painted C-46F left flying in the lower 49 states. We are located at the Charlotte/Monroe Executive airport, (KEQY) Monroe, NC. We normally man the aircraft during the week, and weekends with a little advanced notice. Please stop by to say hello. N78774 "The Tinker Belle"

Barton, e-mail, 30.09.2014 21:09

I was an RO on C-46s and C-47s in the CBI. I felt okay in the 47 but always nervous flying in the Curtis Abortion (as it was called and sung of in a rather ribald ditty). Never had anything untoward in a C-47 but I had several occasions with white knuckles and sweaty palms.

Colleen, e-mail, 08.07.2014 00:43

Correction, there were about 700 young women in the first engineering program.

Colleen, e-mail, 07.07.2014 23:07

Have read all comments here w great interest; proud of all you heroes of the wars. Writing an article about my neighbor who was a Curtiss-Wright Cadette in WWII. She and 900 other college girls trained in aeronautical engineering to assist in the plants making the C-46 in Buffalo. Have been fascinated to learn of the use of this plane for "flying the Hump", etc. Great to learn there are some still in the air today!

Jim Thompson, e-mail, 24.10.2013 10:53

Westair Transport flew C-46's to DEW line outposts in the late 1950's. Many outpost airfields had short runways that used the old Pacific airfield metal landing ramp covers.

Jim Thompson, e-mail, 24.10.2013 10:53

Westair Transport flew C-46's to DEW line outposts in the late 1950's. Many outpost airfields had short runways that used the old Pacific airfield metal landing ramp covers.

Cyril E Jackson Squella, e-mail, 19.04.2013 23:59

In early 1969 I flu from Chile to the U S A (at 18 year old
what a fantastic adventure )Santiago to Antofagasta to Oruro (Bolivia) to Lima (Peru ) to Panama City (Panama) to finalmente MIAMI The plane c-46 T A S tansportes aereos Squella CC_CEX

Cyril E Jackson Squella, e-mail, 19.04.2013 23:59

In early 1969 I flu from Chile to the U S A (at 18 year old
what a fantastic adventure )Santiago to Antofagasta to Oruro (Bolivia) to Lima (Peru ) to Panama City (Panama) to finalmente MIAMI The plane c-46 T A S tansportes aereos Squella CC_CEX

lawrence varick, e-mail, 20.11.2012 15:26

corrected email above

Hans Danielsen, e-mail, 04.08.2012 22:47

Flew the C-46 as copilot for Transair Sweden in 1964, after flying the DC-3 for the same company. Also a short period in Congo, flying for UN. The Curtiss was powerful and agile - much more sprity than the Dak. But a handful during x-winds. It was a challenge to fly , but loved it!! The sound from those Pratts on take off is sommething I shall never forget!

Martin O'Donnell, e-mail, 30.05.2012 13:23

Used to load one almost everyday in Alaska back in "69/70". Reeve Aleutian flew 2. Lots of fun loading anti-freeze in drums pushing them "Up Hill" to get them "Forward". Memories------------

Ray Bopp, e-mail, 10.05.2012 01:43

I worked for Skycoach in Chicago. Mel Lawerence was the Honcho.Sales and scheduleing and honey bucket's....that was me. The ommando's were 28mike and 16victor....A DC4,070.I found myself doing stuff I never dreamed of.I'm 86 now and 1953,54 are years that keep my blood flowing. the best of luck, Bopp

Stan Miller, e-mail, 13.04.2012 20:03

I piloted 46Ds during WWII. Our Combat Cargo Unit trained Stateside in the 46, flew them to the CBI Theater where we supplied the Briticsh 14th Army during its mission to drive the Japanese out of Burm. Many poor, hastily built short airfields and one mission no airport, just a large grassy field! Para pack drops as needed. Also flew the HUMP to support the forces in Western China. Excellent planne for both missions. Rugged, powerful and large cargo compartment. Stable in the air but tough during cross wind landings. Flew them additionally Stateside between WWII & Korea and as a passengwe with Wein Airlines in Alaska between a radar site and Fairbanks. I am now retired Air Force and 90 years old. Lots of memories.
I question some of your Statistics. We cruiused at about 165, had take-offs as heavy as 54,000 pounds and the highest I ever got one was 26,200 feet.

Bill Lumley, e-mail, 22.03.2012 02:28

I flew the C-46 for Southern Air Transport out of Miami from July 1960 through March 1964 and found it a delight to fly. It was my first heavy aircraft experience after instructing in everything from Cubs to Bamboo bombers.
All but a few of our cargo departures out of MIA were at midnight going usually to San Juan, then to St. Thomas, St St. Croix, St. Marten, Guadeloupe, Barbados, back to San Juan and then to MIA - 14 or 15 hours in a 18 hour period, but it was all good experience. We hauled all the dynamite from MIA to Freeport in the Bahamas for the blasting of the Freeport harbor. It was mandatory that we took off toward the everglades (West) irregardless of the wind. We were told that there was no chance for an explosion in the event of a crash as the blasting caps went over separately in a Piper Apache that they had leased. We routinely brought 15,000 pounds of tomatoes back to MIA either from Mastic point on Andros Island or from Freeport and that old Pratt powered gentleman hauled them without any effort at all. Even had an engine fire warning just after the gear came up out of Freeport with 15K of tomatoes and that old bird flew just fine with one feathered for a return to the runway. It had less groundlooping tendencies that the DC-3/C-47. All you had to do to land in a stiff crosswind is have the downwind cowl flaps full open and the other side closed, close only the downwind throttle prior to flare, wheel land the thing (leave the flaps full) and keep the tail stuck up in the air during the landing roll until it slowed down a bunch then let the tail down with maybe a touch or two of the downwind brake after the rudder was used up, and you were done. Got typed in the thing back then as am now flying the C-46F Tinkerbelle for the City of Monroe NC to their various airshown and meets. I fully realize that I am very fortunate to have this opportunity and am enjoying every minute of starting up those Pratts and flying it.

Ron Limpach, e-mail, 11.01.2012 18:48

In early 1960 I was medevaced on a stretcher VIA C-46 out of Chitose air field on Hokkaido Island in Japan on my way to Camp Zama hospital. IT GOT ME THERE!!!

John Spencer, e-mail, 08.01.2012 05:51

My father, Lt Frederick Spencer, flew the C-46 "over the hump" in the China-Burma-India theater 1944-45. Kunming, China was one of the places I remember him talking about. He also mentioned Agra, India as his main base.

Warren E. Domke, e-mail, 11.12.2011 08:02

I was stationed in Japan from 1965 to 1967 and made several trips between Tokyo and my home station of Wakkanai in Air America C-46 Commandos. These were fitted out as combination passenger/cargo planes and were more appropriately classified as airliners, but they retained the military window spacing. They were comfortable, reasonably fast, but lacked radar and were phased out in Japan in favor of DC-4 (C-54) aircraft also operated by Air America.

Bruce Walters, e-mail, 30.11.2011 21:01

I worked on C-46 aircraft at Willow Run for Universal Airlines, Ortner Air Service and Span East Airlines. This was between 1968 and 1971. I have fond memories of the piston pounder heydays. The 46 was extemely dependable since it had the PW 2800 engines. Now that they are nearly all gone I watch the National Geographic channel to see Buffalo Air fly them in the North West Territory.

Jorge Marchesini, e-mail, 04.08.2011 23:04

I worked several years ago with this beatiful aircraft, and would like to buy a scale model in order to decorated with this airliner color. If you konw any company that made this model, please let me know.
Thank you, your cooperation

Scott Boyd, e-mail, 27.07.2011 05:21

There are a few still flying in Alaska and Canada. There was a Discovery Channel program a while back about it as well as an old Electra.

J. William Love, Jr., e-mail, 27.07.2011 05:02

I flew the C-46 in Korea and Japan during the Korean War. We used it for everything. It is still my most favorite plane of all the planes I flew while in the USAF. The personalized license plates on my car say "FLY C-46". I have a beautiful model of it in my living room. I spent the summer of 1952 "crop dusting" with a C-46 all over South Korea to kill mosquitos. I landed it once in Tokyo in really rotten weather on one engine, and it did beautifully on one engine even with a full load. Great, solid old airplane. Would love to fly it again, but at age 83, I doubt that I will do it.

I.D. Jones, e-mail, 09.07.2011 23:02

We flew them in the SW Pacific during WW ll in a Combat Cargo outfit. It was a great sturdy ship on instruments when flying through many storms and the Tropical Front when built up between New Guinea and the Philippines, also Peleliu. This great plane would take a lot of punishment. The P&W 2800 engines were always very reliable. The only negative was the big "C" for Curtiss vertical stabalizer in a crosswind.

juan vega, e-mail, 31.05.2011 00:30


John Peter Joyce, e-mail, 04.04.2011 08:35

Adam, do you still have the starter motor???

Patrick, e-mail, 13.03.2011 00:32

Early in career, on days off I took part time fill in position as C-46F F.O, '65-'66. A/C reg. N240TT. Fresh Pac. Airmotive 2800's, 3 blade Ham. Stand's, airframe refurbed completely, nearly zero problems the whole time I was on it, save for left eng hyd pump failure/leak/fire on short final. Actually, no big deal. Once fluid was gone no fire, uneventful after that.

Loved the airplane, operated in Alaska, lower 48, Central and So. America. Good instrument ship, comfortable flight deck, light years ahead of DC-3. Largest airplane I flew prior to turbine equipment upgrades at career position, jets were nice, but the sounds and feel of the old Curt are remembered fondly.

Retired as Sr. Captain from 34 year career at age 60 in '98, would love to repeat the C-46 experience, but will have to just recall those days. Now I'm old and fly an L.O.D.(Large Oak Desk.) Did get lot's of Curtiss photo's, fun to look through every so often, some viewers say "what the heck is THAT?" How little they understand, not every airplane has to be a Boeing to be good.

Jim Thompson, e-mail, 06.03.2011 08:12

OOps, I mispoke. My fathers airlines operated as Westair Transport-(operating from 1950-1960) and Sky Van Airways (operated from 1960-1965)

Jim Thompson, e-mail, 06.03.2011 08:07

My brother dan has already commented that our dad operated a large number of c-46's from 1950-1956. He also sold two of his C-46's to Air America.
This airplane was my absolute favorie to ride. When it took off it was so loud and shook in such a way as to just scream out "nothing is going to keep me from flying." I always got an ear to ear grin with every take off.

Larry B. Branscomb, e-mail, 03.03.2011 06:33

From November 1965 to April 1966, I flew the C-46 for Zantop Air Transport out of Detroit Metro Airport. After I got qualified in the C-46, I went to Norfolk, VA where I flew Navy Quick Trans out of Navy Norfolk up to PHL, NAS PAX, NAS Quonset Point and BOS. Two inches off the ground the C-46 was a great flying airplane. It had big oleo struts and donut tires and when you landed it was like landing on a trampoline, where if you didnt work to pin it on the Curtis Commando would bounce you back into the air. I have never been as cold in an airplane as I was in a C-46. ZAT must have had C-46s from every former nonsked in the country. I went on to fly for North Central Airlines, Republic Airlines and Northwest Airlines flying CV-440, CV-580, DC-9, MD-80, DC-10, and Boeing 747-400.
There is a model of the Zantop livery at the airport display case in Albuquerque Airport (ABQ).
Larry B. Branscomb
Northwest Airlines Retired

Duke Bailes, e-mail, 27.02.2011 02:14

In 1977 at age 20 I learned to fly the C-46 with my father in Dominican Republic, it was my first airplain to take-off and land. Flying every large radial I could climb into for 17 years ,I look back on the 5000 hours in that airplane as my most memorable. My last trip was in 1994 Fairbanks Alaska. Those were the days!

Clarence Puckett, e-mail, 22.02.2011 22:59

The first commercial airliner I flew in was a C-46 that Reno Airlines used in the midwest. In 1953 we flew from Oklahoma City nonstop to Jacksonville, Fla. I was in the U.S.Navy and had attended Airman (ANP) school in Norman Okla. It was a thrill to fly in a plane that big for my first airliner ride and it was a very smooth flight. Never will I forget it.

Joe McBryan, e-mail, 19.02.2011 21:50

We are looking for C-46 exhaust and parts. Please contact Joe McBryan (867)873-6112 Fax (867)874-3572

M.G. Seyffert, e-mail, 11.01.2011 06:29

My father worked in 1942-3 as a draftsman for Curtiss-Wright in St. Louis. I have a notebook of his from this time -- evidently his desk reference, as it contains innumerable technical papers from CW & others, as well as saved articles from aeronautical publications. In the front is a ditto-copy piece headed "October 19, 1942 / WT-21 / W. Butterworth / Preliminary Design Procedure and Data," to which my father has pencilled in his own hand "for transports DC-3, CW-20 Class." The first sentence reads: "Designing a new airplane to meet definite requirements of a specification can best be accomplished by a design study." What follows are five pages, broken down into these categories: General Weight Values, General Arrangement, Range Considerations, & General Data. My question is, Is it likely CW would have been working on an entirely new transport in late '42, or would it merely have been a modification of the C-46 ?

Neal Wrinkle, e-mail, 11.12.2010 15:42

There is a static C-46 on pedistals in front of the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY.

Edmund Lacinski, e-mail, 06.12.2010 13:00

In Oct 1950 I arrived in Sydney Australia from Bremen Germany on flight Flying Tiger Aus/163-Sydney/7.
I cannot find any info about this flight anywhere on the internet.I was a 5 yr old refugee or displaced person flown to Australia by Flying Tiger Airlines.
It stopped in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and then landed in Darwin Nth Australia due to engine problems and then on to Sydney.
Can you help with any info?

Dan Thompson, e-mail, 29.11.2010 06:35

My dad operated a few C-46"s under Westair Transport and the Sky Van Airways. It was my first ride in an airplane!

Gaylord Mike Mikkelson, e-mail, 27.11.2010 04:07

Class 51-H. Brady Field and Tachikawa with the Fat Cat Squadron 1952-1953. What a start for a 37 year flying career. Never met another airplane that taught me as much as the C-46.

thomas w deane, e-mail, 08.11.2010 21:52

flew as flight engineer,crew chief. brady AFB, tachikawa AFB.Japan 1954, 1955. Also on are ramp at tachikawa were Civil AIR Transport. flying sorties to indochina. Bad gasoline heaters under cockpit sole (called hell hole)Had hydraulic failure in wheel well over itami. had to krank gear down.USA gave the C=46's we had at tachikawa to the japanese in 1955.

CMSgt Frank Nollette, e-mail, 05.11.2010 06:10

Almostforgot - did a couple of 'hard rice' drops from C-46s in Laos/Cambodia, sometime between 1963-73 - flown by Air America and a coule of other dubiously named outfits.

CMSgt Frank Nollette, e-mail, 05.11.2010 06:08

Floew in C-46s w/2346th Air Reserve Flying Center (USAF-Reserve) at Hamilton AFB CA in 1958-9 before they converted to C-119's -- may have had C124's between the 46 and 119 for a short time.

Joe Bolen, e-mail, 01.11.2010 23:32

I flew them from Guam in the Marine Corps delivering mail to several islands in
45 & 46 . The props kept turning in heavy rain as the navigator in the back says
I dont know where we are . We hold our heading and there it is, Wake Island !

Adam Chums, e-mail, 24.10.2010 06:48

I have a refurbished Jack and Heintz starter motor, with all the paper work for sale, is there a market? I don't need it. I know the DC-3 used a JH3R but I am not sure if the C-46 starter motor will fit on anything else. I flew DC-3's as a captain, at the age of 21 but this was in 2007, and I flew for 1 of the 2 part 135 carriers remaining in the USA, I also took a ride in a C-46, it was a nice ride. I am not sure why the CR C-46 is not used as much? I flew DC-3 with the CR-1820's great engines., 20.10.2010 22:37

At the tender age of 20, I started flying the C-46 for the North African Ferry Commander, Later named Air Transport Command. We flew from Casablanca,French Morocco Through Cairo, Egypt, Abadan, Iran to Karachi, India. There the CBI Pilots took over and flew over the "HUMP" to China. My cargo varied....B-29 engines with only 25 flight hours returning from China, Toilet Paper for Pan Am, The base managers in India and china. Mattresses for the same. Chinese Yen, then GOLD bullion to back the Yen and many other. War Weary troops coming home. After flying 1400 hours, I came home. I also few C-45s, c-47s.T-28s (Loved the C-46), B-25s, Grumman Albatross amphibians,Huey' UH-1s and Sikorsky HH-3 Helicopter,T-33s. Have a Commercial License. Homer H.(Bud) Howell

Edgar Hall, e-mail, 02.10.2010 00:11

Flew in C46's as a flight radio operator with Trans Carribean Airlines and Associated Air Transport during 1948 and 1949. TCA operated out of Newark to Italy and Israel and throughout the Caribbean. Air Transport was owned by the great aviator Charlie Blair. Never once had any major problems with any of our flights. Numbers of the 2 that was owned by TransCaribbean was N69343 & N69346. Great page.

Al Gawryluk, e-mail, 22.09.2010 20:51

There are 4 flying C-46's still in Canada.
2 out of Yellowknife NWT (Buffalo Airways)and 2 out of Gimli Manitoba (FNT First Nations Transportation)
I have about 1,200 Hours on the C-46.
My buddy has been flying them for 24 years now and loves them. Having flown in Northern Canada and Africa.
Many have tried, most run away. Few stay, learn and enjoy.

Joseph W. Kapherr. Sr., e-mail, 14.09.2010 23:04

I was a radio Operator flying out of "Brady Field" Japan 51-52.
we stayed on Maximum Effort for the second half of 51 Thru the six months ending in July 52. Got over 2000 Hrs. Great Experience! We Had 30 A/c, Lost one to enemy fire. I wouldn't take anything for the experience but would not do it again. I'm 82 now! We hauled everything, including passengers, alive and deceased. Great experience!! We had the best pilets in the world!!!!

George Bivins, e-mail, 08.09.2010 03:42

The C-46 at southern Air Transport had P&W R-2800-51M1 engines With HS props. 49,000 lbs mtogw, some had big doors. We hauled race horses, cattle, etc.. I remember taking a steeple chase horse out of Venesala to NY, but he was so tall we couldn't unload him.Finally someone remembered that you have to tilt the shute down. He crawled out until he could stand. I flew the C-46 about 500 hours. I eventually flew it with R-2800 CB 16 engines. That was a real experience with all the increased torque.
George Bivins

George Bivins, e-mail, 08.09.2010 02:13

Flew the C46 for Southern Air Transport out of Miami in the 60s. I kept a rain coat over my knees. They all leaked badly. I finally did a credble job flying it. Not enough rudder. It provided an easy transition to the B 707. I came to love the old bird. George Bivins

Dick Walker, Loogootee, IN, e-mail, 03.09.2010 02:41

Being a retired menber of the 434th TCW, Columbus, IN, I was recalled in the Korean conflict
Being a member of the 434th TCW, Columbus, IN, we were called to active duty in 1951, then later sever of us were sent to Japan as pilots flying the C-46 out of Brady AFB,..437th TCW. While there only one year, I accumulated over 1,000 hrs. in the C-46, with over half of the time logged in actual weather. Other than the fact that I left my pregnant wife back home with two in diappers, and expecting our third while I was gone, I enjoyed my stay in the far east by flying and playing bridge. The mighty C-46 was a mighty work horse. I loved it.

John Lipstate, e-mail, 27.08.2010 00:50

I was a pilot in the Troop Carrier Command being trained for the invasion of Japan during the summer of 1945 at Knobnoster, Missouri.

This aircraft was far from my favorite and anyone who opened the panel to inspect the hydraulic accumulator pressure and got a face full of hydraulic fluid will know what I mean. This slab sided aircraft was a bear to fly in formation and the only good thing I liked about it was the Wright R2800 engines.

Bud Blankinchip, e-mail, 14.06.2010 12:13

I remember seeing this aircraft in Vietnam being flown by Air America. They were still in use as late a early 1972 I believe. They would land about dusk at Vung Tau Army airfield, be on the ground at the far end of the strip from the tower for 30 minutes to a hour and then take off. The engines always sounded beautiful and the long blue flames blowing from the exhaust put on quite a light show. Oh, the memories.

John Underwood, e-mail, 21.04.2010 02:26

Re Chas. Pretzman's Commando model and his family's link to George Page: George was also an "EB" member (Early Birds of Aviation Assn) and learned to fly in a Bleriot monoplane in 1910 or thereabout. He also started working for Curtiss at about that time and proved to be a gifted design-engineer, although he was largely self-taught. He became the Curtiss-Wright Company's chief engineer after supervising the development of the Curtiss Condor series of bombers and transports during the 1928-34 period. George was responsible for the CW-20 program which resulted in the C-46 Commando. I knew him toward the end of his career when he was an engineering consultant to Aeronca, Inc., former manufacturer of the Aeronca series of lightplanes.

John Underwood, e-mail, 21.04.2010 01:52

Back in the early '50s a pair of identical twins, Charles and George Finn, hoped to start a freight line with a C-46 they bought from the Bakersfield School District. The Finns had been AF pilots in WW2 and finished their service as pilots on the Berlin Airlift. The Feds claimed the sale was illegal and confiscated the C-46 after the Finns, in defiance of an injuction hid it for a period of time on an isolated airstrip in the Nevada desert. They tried litigation and engaged in various escapades to get their airplane back. This involved carrying out a citizens arrest of a government official and impersonating one another to confound the authorities, which got them about a year in jail for their efforts. I'd like to hear from anybody who knew the Finns. Does anyone know the N-number of the C-46 and its fate? It is believed to have been exported to Africa.

William Ramsey, e-mail, 13.04.2010 23:15

I flew the C-46 across the Hump while assigned to a Troop Carrier Sqdn. My recollection is it was a bear to taxi in the rain because of the sloping windshield. Because of the torque, you had to lead the left throttle about 5 inches until you got the tail up. During climb it was only so-so, but when you shifted those blowers at 9,500 ft it came alive! And you didn't run out of throttle until you got above 19,000 For it's day it was some aircraft !!!

William Ramsey, e-mail, 13.04.2010 23:13

I flew the C-46 across the Hump while assigned to a Troop Carrier Sqdn. My recollection is it was a bear to taxi in the rain because of the sloping windshield. Because of the torque, you had to lead the left throttle about 5 inches until you got the tail up. During climb it was only so-so, but when you shifted those blowers at 9,500 ft it came alive! And you didn't run out of throttle until you got above 19,000 For it's day it was some aircraft !!!

Bill Huba, e-mail, 06.03.2010 18:31

My oldest brother Lt. Joseph Huba went down in this aircraft flying the Hump. Are thee any Hump pilots still out there? Would love to hear from anyone.

Tim Stout, e-mail, 18.02.2010 22:20

Original C-46 Commando Pilot Training Manual, Restricted March 1945. Very hard to find. Anyone seeking See current Ebay # 260555615231

Charles Pretzman, e-mail, 17.02.2010 06:20

I have a model, approx. 12 inches long and made of heavy metal on a stand labeled Curtis CW20E Commando. I cannot find out much about this aircraft. I know the model came from an old friend of our family named George Page, who was an engineer and one of the orginal QuietBirds, QB2. Can anyone tell me about this? Thank you.

Al, e-mail, 07.02.2010 02:40

Hi Perry Rainey,
Hope you get this and greetings from Memphis TN.
I saw your name under some C-46 stuff I was looking at on the 'net when I spied the RANSA logo.. My father (Albert S. Robinson) flew there and I wonder if you knew him or perhaps Guido Damiani. I also have another friend who worked there, Marcos Fernandez.. He was a loader but finished out his ratings and flew for a long time after those days but is now retired.
After RANSA ran off the American pilots my Dad flew for RIPSA then other contracts.. He lost his life in the C-46 in Medillien in '65.. We never found out what happened but it made for a pretty rough growing up time.
FWIW my brother (Lee, I'm Al) and I fly for Fedex in Memphis. He's a Capt. on the MD-11 and I am a Capt. on the Boeing.. You might remember Dad's little yellow and black Piper PA-20 Pacer on the grass parcel by the RANSA hangars. We still have it..

Thanks again for the post

Al Robinson

John Thompson, e-mail, 26.01.2010 05:06

I was crew chief and flight engineer, Okinawa, then Japan and Korea, 1949 thru 1951. Great airplane, very reliable, heavy lifter for its time. I left the wreckage of 44-78270 at a dirt strip at Chung Ju Korea (K41) on 8 Jan. 1951. They gave me another one to replace it. A great adventure.

I worked on some of the Non-Scheduled Airlines later as a civilian mechanic.

Marty Hall, e-mail, 21.01.2010 05:55

We have 4 flying here in Alaska. Two as tankers hauling fual mainly to mining operations, and two hauling scheduled freight. Good old coal burners. We'll have them flying untill there's no more 100LL fuel, along with our 10 DC-6/C-118's.

Jim Hawley, e-mail, 10.01.2010 03:12

My father, same name, flew C-46s in the China-Burma-India campaign in the Himalayas in the 40s. He returned to the states in 1945, and took a flying job in Ecuador, to fly them again in the Andes. Their best quality were the turbocharged engines for high altitude work. He later flew them from Miami between 1948 and 1960 working for a number of airlines mentioned already. I have great photos of the Ecuador experience, if any one wants to see some. I still remember the smell of the gunk at MIA...never forget it.

Tom Kennedy, e-mail, 01.01.2010 19:18

Flew C-46's for Coastal Aviation hauling Wall Street Journals back in '68-69. Mean animal in a crosswind, wing tanks had a habit of leaking fuel, heater under cockpit known for erupting in flames, and very heavy on the controls. Induction fires were very common on start up and glass in the cockpit leaked like heck in a rainstorm. Was easier to "sail" on ice covered ramps and taxiways than trying to taxi. I found it easier to fly than a Twin Beech.

Lee P Svoboda, e-mail, 28.12.2009 15:05

They are still using a couple of them in Alaska. Mainly as fuel haulers.

Henry Best, e-mail, 08.11.2009 00:11

Yeah. My first "BIG AIRPlANE". 600 hours as a very green co-pilot with RIDDLE AIRLINES out of MIami in 1960. Flew a LOGAIR contract with very seasoned "HUMP" pilots. Flew well in the sky but could bite you leaving or alighting the ground!

Bob Thrasher, e-mail, 23.09.2009 15:46

Flew them as copilot, worked on them as a mechanic for years including stint in Germany with Capitol Airways hauling Lufthansa cargo around Europe and into Berlin during the 1960's through the air routs the Russians set up. Great tough airplane, nasty in a crosswind, and could handle heavy ice.

Steve, e-mail, 11.09.2009 19:43

The mythical 4-engine version would seem to be based on a misidentification of the rare Boeing 307 Stratoliner, which had a very similar silhouette.

Robert H Douglas, e-mail, 07.09.2009 20:14

As a member of the 505 Prch Inf I made a familarization jump from this a/craft (March 1945 at Laon France..Great airplane except for te hydraulic tanks in her belly.I am now 85 years old.

Groucho Marx, 03.08.2009 07:37

That's the most ridiculous thing I ever hoyd!

Russ, e-mail, 03.08.2009 06:02

An acquaintence insists, there was a 4 engine version. If so what was it's model designation?

George, e-mail, 13.05.2009 07:20

Wow! After 65 years I finally learn about what my mother was making back during WW2, she worked at the CW plant in St. Louis, she was one of the original "Rosie the Riveters", that were a big part of the war effort. Often wondered about the planes, I always assumed it was the p-40 that they were building, never asked my mother. Sorry that I couldn't contribute more to this effort.

Hernan Villamil, e-mail, 29.04.2009 02:52

I believe one of them was bought by the then-new Austral airline. Such was its fate it crashed at sea at night after an attempted landing in Mar Del Plata in horrible weather in Jan 1959. Only one survivor managed to swim back to shore. From what I read it was a difficult plane to fly in bad weather...

Bob Kuberski, e-mail, 15.01.2009 06:10

I'm building a 1/72 scale model of the C-46 and need to know what the large "hole" in the nose was for. I assume it was an air intake for ventilation of some sort , but you know what they say about assuming...Please advise & Thanksc in advance. Bob Kuberski

P.C. McILwain, e-mail, 26.12.2008 08:42

As a member of the 446 Troop Carrier Wing in the late 50's, I flew from Houston to Long Beach, Ca and back, from Houston to Memphis, from Memphis to Florida and back to Houston via Memphis. From Houston to Miami and back and several insignificant flights. The plane was air worthy but un-pressurized. Great glide angle.

Perry H. Rainey, Jr., e-mail, 31.08.2008 00:55

I worked on C-46 aircraft as an aircraft sheetmetal technician in 1957/1958 for RANSA Airlines in Miami, FL. RANSA purchased WWII US surplus C-46 aircraft sold to India from the government of India. The C-46 would have large fuel tanks mounted in the cargo compartment and then be flown to the stateside location for RANSA at Miami International Airport. Upon arrival the C-46's would undergo what was then called a 13,000 hour overhaul. Once completed they were sold to US cargo carriers. Supposedly, US companys were prohibited from buying the WWII surplus aircraft from India so RANSA, a Venezuelan Company, provided a conduit for moving the aircraft into the US airlines transport industry. Great airplane and great experience for me as a teenager!

James B Bertero, e-mail, 28.06.2008 02:15

Cordova Airlines in Alaska had two of these birds in the early '60s and used them to fly men and cargo in and out of many DEW line radar sites. One had a tail # ending in "45M". I've wondered what became of her.

Jack Lamberty, e-mail, 25.05.2008 03:09

In the 1959-60 era, our reserve squadron used the C-46 to transition from F-84s to C-119s. I guess the logic was if you could land a C-46, the C-119 would be a piece of cake. Because of the large vertical stabilizer, the C-46 was grounded in a 30 knot crosswind.

Lawrence Varick, e-mail, 19.05.2008 18:51

Flew them between Japan and Korea during the Korean ?.
Big Piper Cub. Nasty in gusty crosswinds ,but manageable.
Great airplane to fly.

Ronald E Ciura, e-mail, 17.05.2008 07:15

Zantop Air Transport operated a large number of these
through the 1960's. Used extensively to move automobile parts.

Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, e-mail, 21.02.2008 10:53

Interested to purchase for museum in Israel. Flyable condition may offset surface transport costs.
Any propodal?
Thanks- Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto

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