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Fairchild’s C-123 Provider — a walkaround the early reciprocating version

14 March 2012

Fairchild’s C-123 Provider — a walkaround the early reciprocating version

35º 09′ 59″ N / 79º 00′ 13″ W

Fairchild’s design originated with the Chase Aircraft Company as an assault glider (the XCG-20), á lá Luftwaffe designs in WW II. Providers soon earned a reputation for ruggedness and ability to fly in and out of unprepared landing strips. Small aircraft and helicopters may keep things running at a remote location (outpost or firebase) but cargo aircraft are what determine the success, ultimately, since big boxy heavy things are needed. The C-123 fit the bill for the USAF.

This early C-123 Provider is in the air park on Pope Army Field which is fitting since aircraft like this one could airlift around 60 troops or the supplies to keep a remote base running.

Fairchild C-123 Provider in the air park at Pope Army Airfield — photo by Joseph May

The Provider was one of the first aircraft to have the split rear ramp with part going either to the horizontal or to the ground completely with the rest folding forward and up against the fuselage roof — photo by Joseph May

This cargo aircraft was not subtly painted — photo by Joseph May

Detail of the nose emblem and the windows indicating the flight deck was above the cargo deck — photo by Joseph May

More on the air park and its aircraft can be found by pasting “Pope” into the search window and selecting ENTER.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Frank Whiteley permalink
    14 March 2012 10:56

    A late Boeing engineer once told me of a soaring flight in one of these over the Mojave Desert in the 1950’s. That is, they actually did climb and cruise using thermals.

    • Frank Whiteley permalink
      14 March 2012 10:57

      That is, in the glider version.

      • travelforaircraft permalink*
        14 March 2012 18:16

        It is so fortunate that you heard this first hand from someone in the know. Wikipedia says the C-123 began as a Chase Aircraft XCG-20 glider that could have engines installed — which worked out well enough but the Air Force found the powered version could land in the same short distance so it made sense to drop the glider variant. Then Chase sold to Kiaser. Kaiser got in trouble with Congress and Fairchild bought Kaiser’s interest in the aircraft, so Fairchild built the C-119 and the C-123 concurrently. You need scorecards for this stuff! Thanks Frank.

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