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Curtiss C-46



General History

In 1937 there arose a desire for a 40-passenger transport that would offer a higher degree of luxury and comfort. This is where the idea for the Curtiss C-46 began. A prototype, designated the CW-20, was born and started the Curtiss and Wright attempts at a suitable aircraft. By July of 1942, the first re-designated C-46 rolled out of the factory in Buffalo, NY

The C-46, otherwise known as the Commando, had a large cargo door for hauling bulky pieces of freight, but could also be configured to carry up to 40 passengers. This made it an ideal aircraft for the military. In fact, because it had a greater load-carrying ability and could fly higher, faster than the C-47 (DC-3), it was a perfect aircraft for use in the great supply missions over the hump from India to China following the invasion of Burma in World War II.

After the war, many of these aircraft remained in the military and eventually saw service in the Korean War. After this, the C-46 was replaced in the military, and eventually found their way into airline operations. Many airlines used these aircraft, as well as the Douglas DC-3s in order to get a start in their operations.

Our two C-46s have seen service since 1945 in many parts of the world. They have been based in places such as Prestwick (Lufthansa Air Lines), Seattle WA, Fairbanks Alaska, Detroit MI, and Plymouth MI. In fact, these two aircraft are back together again with Buffalo Airways, as they once were when they both flew for Trans Continental Airlines in 1976.

At Buffalo Airways, we are proud to have the Commandos working with us. Our two C-46s can haul up to 14000 lbs of bulky freight into short, unprepared strips that are so commonly found in the NWT. Traveling at 190 mph, these airplanes can be heard rumbling away day after day, as they work dauntlessly, moving freight across the part of the country we call home.

Wikipedia C-46/CW20 Page













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