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Posted 4/16/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
Fairchild-Chase C-123K "Provider"
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Fairchild-Chase C-123K "Provider"
S/N 54-610

Crew:   Two to four
Engines:   Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radials (2,500 hp each);
two auxiliary General Electric J85 turbojets (2,850 lbs thrust each)
Wingspan:   110 ft 0 in
Length:   76 ft 3 in
Height:   34 ft 6 in
Weight:   max: 60,000 lbs
Speed:   max: 240 mph; cruise: 170 mph
Range:   1,825 miles
Service Ceiling:   28,000 ft
Armament:   None
Cost:   $601,719

This cargo aircraft began its career in 1949 when it was produced by Chase Aircraft as a heavy assault glider. Engines were added later. When Chase could not deliver the requested aircraft, the USAF awarded the contract to Fairchild in 1954. It featured high-mounted wings and tail surfaces on a pod-type fuselage which made for easy rear end, unobstructed on and off loading. Because of its powerful engines, it showed superior ability to operate in short field landings and take offs.

It could carry 61 fully equipped troops for assault or evacuate 50 patients on litters plus six attendants. Several were converted to AC-123K gunships with multisensors for for counterinsurgency efforts, attacking ground forces with 7.62mm miniguns. In 1966, some models, including this aircraft, were fitted with auxiliary powerplants in a pylon-mounted 2,850 lbs. thrust GE J-85 turbojet outboard of each engine. These were for emergency use.

Besides the USAF and the U.S. Coast Guard, other operators of this aircraft were Cambodia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Thailand, and Venezuela. Production stopped in September 1969.

The Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill AFB had prime supply, maintenance, and specialized depot responsibilities for the C-123 beginning in 1972. C-123s were also used at Hill AFB for aerial spraying duties on the Utah Test and Training Range in the nearby desert.

This aircraft, S/N 54-610, was originally manufactured as a C-123B-6-FA by the Fairchild Corporation in Hagerstown, Maryland, and delivered to the Air Force on December 10, 1955. It was immediately assigned to the 309th Troop Carrier Group, Tactical Air Command, at Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma. In May 1956 it went to the 60th Troop Carrier Wing, Medium, USAF Europe, at Dreux AB, France. It was transfered in July 1958 to the 2584th Air Reserve Flying Center, Air Force Reserve, at the municipal airport in Memphis, Tennessee.

In November 1959 the plane flew to Middletown Air Materiel Area in Pennsylvania for work, returning the following month to Memphis, this time with the 445th Troop Carrier Wing, Assault, Air Force Reserve. It was temporarily transfered in February 1963 to the 920th Materiel Squadron, still at the Memphis airport. The following month it returned to the 445th TCW. That June it went to the 920th Troop Carrier Group, Assault, AFRES, at the same field.

The aircraft was transfered to the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing, Tactical Air Command, at England AFB, Louisiana, in October 1965. That December it moved over to the 1st Air Commando Wing at the same base.

In April 1966 the aircraft traveled back to the Fairchild factory to be upgraded to be a C-123K, receiving the two General Electric J85 turbojet engine pods. In February 1967 it was transfered to the 4410th Combat Crew Training Wing (TAC) at Eglin AFB, Florida. In July 1969 it was moved to the 1st Special Operations Wing at Eglin. That fall the plane went to the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing at Lockbourne AFB, Ohio.

The aircraft transfered to the 4410th Special Operations Training Group at England AFB, Louisiana, in August 1971. It moved to the 911th Tactical Airlift Group at the airport in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in April 1972. In June 1980 it transfered to the 731st Tactical Airlift Squadron at Westover AFB, Massachusetts.
On 30 August 1982 the aircraft was retired to MASDC at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona. It was eventually acquired by T.B.M., Inc., of Tulare, California, a company specializing in airtanker services, aerial firefighting, and aircraft maintenance. While with this company the aircraft (under civil registry as N3836A) appeared in the James Bond movie "The Living Daylights" and the movie "Tucker." It was also used in a couple of series on television during this period.

In early 1989 the aircraft was traded to the Forest Service of the United States Department of Agriculture in exchange for a C-130. The plane was then assigned in May 1989 to Hill Aerospace Museum for static display. It became part of the Air Force Museum System in 2008 and is on loan to the museum from the National Museum of the United States AIr Force.

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