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Going Commando — Curtiss C-46 walkaround

29 August 2012

Going Commando — Curtiss C-46 walkaround

35º 07′ 50″ N / 79º 01′ 19″ W

The Commando, ahead of its time in design though complicated to maintain in its day — photo by Joseph May

Curtiss-Wright took the success of the Douglas DC-3 and mixed it with the innovation of the Boeing B-307 Stratocruiser to make the first pressurized cargo aircraft. Though not pressurized in the production version it was the largest twin engine aircraft at the time and could deliver a heavy load to distant unimproved airfields.

The C-46 Commando, though conventionally geared, is a highly streamlined design. The high altitude capability and heavy lift capacity made the Commando a natural selection for deployment to the China-Burma-India theater where transport from India over the Himalayas was a challenge.

The Curtiss C-46 Commando seen in these images is displayed at the 82nd Airborne Division and War Memorial Museum.

The Curtiss C-46 Commando at the 82nd Airborne Division and War Memorial Museum at Fort Bragg — photo by Joseph May

Rear aspect view of this Curtiss Commando — photo by Joseph May

The C-46 Commando has a massive tail with fabric covered rudder — photo by Joseph May

The main cargo door, on some models it opened upward but this one opens forward — photo by Joseph May

The main cargo door, on the left side just between the wing and the tail — photo by Joseph May

Note the streamlined nose and engine nacelles, after the Boeing B-307 Stratocruiser — photo by Joseph May

The Figure-8 cross section of the fuselage is easily seen from this perspective — photo by Joseph May


3 Comments leave one →
  1. 31 August 2012 09:28

    “She’s a Snooty old girl, huh?” I’ve always thought the B-307 or C-46 looked like a “Snooty” old woman (sorry Ma’am), you know the very high nosed, upper crust aristrocrat, looking down on us… err “underlings”…
    I had forgotten the B-307 (or C-46) had a Fabric Tail and that gives me reason to suspect that was one of the main reasons why it had limited longevity, unlike it’s cousin the DC-3 or C-47 which continues to be the workhorse of the world.
    Great Post Mr. may! I read everything you post and am a big fan of yours. You have one of the best blogs on the whole internet, keep up the great work. You are consistent and that’s what it takes. So know you have fans out here who appreciates your work. 🙂

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      4 September 2012 21:36

      Thanks — what a nice thing to read 🙂

  2. 6 December 2013 15:06

    Hi Folks,

    The C-46 Commando is an awesome plane! Here is a great site I found for, very high quality wooden replica’s and they offer over 600 different Airplane, Helicopter and Military vehicles.
    Check this website out

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