Filmed on Jun. 3, 2023 the video in this post features the last flying C-123 (Serial #54-664, named “Thunderpig”) almost crashing while landing in heavy cross winds at Geneseo Airshow.
Notice the windsock at 0:27. The wind is quartering out of the left but at 0:32 you see the pilot is holding significant right aileron which is exacerbating the crosswind condition impact on the aircraft. The crew was able to correct the error but that could have been a lot worse.
Thunderpig belongs to Air Heritage Inc. #54-664 is a C-123K named Thunderpig after the nickname used by the 911th Airlift Wing based at Greater Pittsburgh Airport when they flew the C-123 there. Since then #54-664 has received a total restoration and is presently flying to as many air shows during the summer as it can.
The Provider was a short-range assault transport used for airlifting troops and cargo to and from small, unprepared airstrips. The rugged C-123 became an essential part of US Air Force airlift during the Southeast Asia War, where it flew primarily as an in-theater airlifter and a Ranch Hand sprayer.
Designed by the Chase Aircraft Co. just after World War II, the C-123 evolved from earlier large assault glider designs. The prototype XC-123, basically a glider powered by two piston engines, made its initial flight in 1949. A second prototype was built as the unpowered XG-20 glider. Chase began manufacturing the C-123B in 1953, but the contract was transferred to Fairchild, which built about 300 C-123Bs.
The Provider appeared in Vietnam in 1962 for use on a variety of missions. They included airdrops of troops, ammunition, food and other supplies as well as chemical spraying, mercy flights, rescues, air evacuation and delivery of fuel bladders. The first C-123 squadron to be assigned to the 1st Air Commando Wing, the 1775th Troop Carrier Squadron, transferred from Pope AFB, April 15, 1964, and was redesignated the 317th TCS Commando July 1.
Between 1966 and 1969, 184 C-123Bs were converted to C-123Ks with the addition of two J85 jet engines. These jet engines increased the C-123’s payload weight by a third, shortened its takeoff distance, improved its climb rate, and gave a much greater margin of safety should one of the piston engines fail.
Photo credit: screenshot from video posted by Allstylesproduction YouTube channel
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