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C-120 Packplane

The role of transport aircraft in the combat mission cannot be undervalued. These aircraft transported personnel, equipment, spare parts and other supplies to keep fighters and bombers flying. In late 1950, eight different transport aircraft were undergoing testing at Wright Air Development Center [WADC] . These included the Fairchild XC-120 Packplane with a detachable cargo compartment. The Fairchild XC-120 Packplane, a converted C-119B, had a removable cargo compartment. Only was one built.

In gaining experience with the C-82 and C-119 Packets, it became obvious that detachable pod aircraft would have radical implications in the field of military logistics, with subsequent civilian applications similar to those of the truck-trailer combinations of the highways. This led to the experimental XC-120 Packplane, under flight test in 1950. Fairchild hoped to use this aircraft to work out the details and final configuration of the ultimate production article.

Fairchild believed that the detachable-fuselage transport airplane can provide answers to many of the most pressing logistical problems. Most of the military planners involved in transport work agree with us, and already thinking on the eventual use of such an airplane is far in advance of the specific plane's present configuration or performance.

The primary military advantage of the detachable fuselage cargo plane lies in the extreme versatility achieved through this basic airplane design. For instance, the military transport as it exists in operational use today-in the C-119, the C-124, the C-97-is completely equipped to carry out every mission required of it. Consequently, when used as a standard cargo carrier, it must carry, as dead weight, hundreds of pounds of equipment which are needed when the same plane is to be used as a paratroop plane.

By designing different types of interchangeable fuselages for different missions this waste is limited, and every pound carried contributes directly to the success of the mission at hand.

Fairchild believed that three types of carrying compartments should be designed for the one basic airplane. A fuselage to be used in carrying paratroops and their supplies. A fuselage to be used primarily as a cargo carrier, leaving out such specialized paratroop equipment as monorails, parapacks, and drop doors. This would give completely unobstructed cargo space, with additional payload capabilities resulting from the elimination of unnecessary paratroop equipment. It would also permit the installation of other specialized equipment to make the ''pod'' an integral machine-shop, radar station, hospital, or similar built-in permanent unit. An open rack arrangement, to he attached to the carrier portion of the plane at points similar to those where the "pods" are attached. This rack would be much lighter in weight than an entire fuselage, and thus would permit the carrying of bulky, heavy items too large to go into the present fuselage. Capable of being dropped by parachute, the rack makes it possible to transport by air an almost unlimited range of items.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:27:54 ZULU