Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar

C-119 Flying Boxcar

Order a piece of American History before its gone!


The Navy and Marine Corps name was R4Q for the American military transport aircraft built by Fairchild as the C-119 Flying Boxcar. The transport aircraft was built to carry troops and cargo that could be delivered by parachute. The first C-119 rolled out in November 1947 and the last one after 1,100 C-119s rolled off the assembly line in 1955.

With exceptional cargo hauling ability and rather unusual appearance the C-119 earned the name “Flying Boxcar”. The C-82 Packet was built for the Air Force Tactical Air Command and had some serious problems in its 9 years of service. So the C-119 was built to address all of the C-82 Packet problems.

The first C-119 was constructed with a much more ridged airframe that was much stronger. The first prototype rolled out in November of 1947 as the XC-82B.

Later Henry J. Kaiser received the contract to build C-119s at the former B-24 Liberator plant in Belleville, Michigan. Kaiser would build the C-119F model that differed in that it had Wright R-3350-85 Duplex Cyclone engines. Fairchild use Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines. The Wright engine was used on the B-29 and was a reliable design but it did not have the superchargers Like the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines. The C-119 performance was almost identical in both versions.

C-119 Flying Boxcar Variants

Two variants of the C-119 were converted into potent weapons the AC-119G Shadow and the AC-119K Stinger. The AC-119G had 4 six barrel 7.62 mini-guns installed with added armor plating, flares, and night flying infrared equipment. The AC-119K Stinger got more potent upgrades with two 20 mm cannons and two GE J85-GE-17 turbojets adding an extra 6,000 lbf of thrust. Two other variants were built the EC-119J for satellite tracking and another prototype with larger wings and tail called the YC-119H.

Another modification was made for civilian use, featured Westinghouse J34 turbojet with an extra 3,400 lbf of thrust. A nacelle was installed above the fuselage in a Jet Pack configuration.

C-119 Flying Boxcar Military Service

The C-119 with the 314th Troop Carrier Group in 1950 served in the Korea War. C-119C including F and G models served in Europe with the U.S. Air Force and the Far East Air Force from 1951 through 1962. The 150 or so aircraft operated from Greenland all the way to India. Another group of as many operated and served in the Pacific and Far East.

C-119 Flying Boxcars saw service with the USAF Strategic Air Command from 1955 all the way to 1973.

For some of the more interesting service for the C-119s was the aerial recovery of some of the high altitude instrument packages carried by balloon. Based in Hawaii some of the aerial recoveries included the Corona Spy Satellite Program. A C-119 had the first successful recovery of film from a spy satellite in August of 1960.

The C-119s saw extensive service in Vietnam that started in 1953 with aircraft that were on loan by the CIA to support French troops. The Boxcars were flown by America CIA pilots with French markings on the planes.

The Indian Government bought C-119s with approval of President Kennedy to be used in the Sine-Indian War of 1962. The C-119s got extensive use to supply the Indian forces.

All the C-119s that were modified to the AC-119G Shadows and AC119K Stingers were transferred to the South Vietnamese when the war ended for the Americans in 1973.

The C-119 Flying Boxcar is such an unusual design aircraft it will be sure to stand out in any model airplane collection.

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