C-119J walk around

Even as the C-82 was entering service, there was planning for an improved XC-82B version with R-4360 engines, a stretched fuselage with the cockpit further forward and lowered for better visibility, and extended tail booms. Later designated C-119A, the prototype flew in December 1947, and a year later production C-119Bs with widened fuselages were arriving from the Fairchild line.

The “Flying Boxcar” was becoming somewhat passe as the 1960s dawned and increasing numbers of Lockheed’s turboprop C-130 were reequipping TAC airlift units. But the old Dollar-Nineteen still had some unusual roles left to play, one of them being mid-air retrieval of reentering satellite payloads. In the days before real time digital transmission of the “take” from photo recon satellites, exposed film had to be returned to earth in reentry vehicles. The first altogether successful such mission was Discoverer XIV, launched in August 1960. After seventeen orbits, the film return capsule was jettisoned and snagged in midair over the Pacific by this C-119J, operating from Hickam AFB.

C-119 Flying Boxcar photo

C-119J on display in the NMUSAF’s Global Reach gallery

C-119 engine photo

C-119 walk around photo

C-119 Further Reading
“How Fairchild Assembles the C-119” Aviation Week November 27, 1950 Production line photos.

“New C-119 Changes Engines and Props” Aviation Week February 5, 1951 C-119C improvements, with diagram.

“AC-119 Gunship Readied for Deployment” Aviation Week & Space Technology September 23, 1968 p.40+ Includes close-up photos of the Minigun and searchlight installations.

Review: American Secret Projects 2: US Airlifters 1941-1961