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N10427 Curtiss C-46A-50-CU Commando c/n 30532 - Seaboard World - Frankfurt Rhein Main Airport in Germany - 10 August 1969 historic aeroplanes

The Curtiss C-46 Commando is a two-engined transport aircraft, with a basic flight crew of four and various combinations of freight and passengers. Main compartment can accomodate up to of 50 passengers or as all freighter 6.800 kg cargo. The Curtiss C-46A had a cargo door installed in the fuselage; the floor was strengthened and folding seats were installed along the walls. Development of the Curtiss C-46 started in 1937. That year, Curtiss-Wright Corporation began design work on an all-metal twin engine airliner with twin-tail fin, capable of carrying 36 passengers in a pressurized cabin, as there arose a desire for a passenger transport that would offer a higher degree of luxury and comfort. The prototype, designated the CW-20, was powered by two Wright R-2600 engines and was first flown on 6 March 1940. After the first test flight of the CW-20 in St. Louis, the United States Army Air Corps placed an order for 25 military cargo versions of the aircraft with an increased gross weight and designated it the C-46. The C-46 differed from the CW-20 not only by a single fin and fewer windows; it was powered by two Pratt and Withney R2800 engines and the pressurized cabin system was removed, which changes resulted in an increasing of the gross weight from 40,000 lbs for the CW-20 model to 50,675 lbs for the C-46. By July of 1942, the first re-designated C-46 rolled out of the factory in Buffalo, NY, USA, being the first of a total of 3180 C-46s built as military transport in the period 1942-1945. The C-46 Commando, also known under the nicknames"The Whale" and "Curtiss Calamity", was the largest two engine plane that was operational in World War II and entered service during in World War II by the United States Army Air Forces as well as the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps under the designation R5C. Principal versions built were the Curtiss C-46 (25); C-46A (1491); C-46XC (2); C-46D (1410); C-46E (17); C-46F (234); C-46G (1) and Curtiss R5C-1 (160 built). The prototype CW-20 passenger liner, redesignated C-55, was transferred to Great Britain under Lend-Lease and registered G-AGID with British Overseas Airways Corporation on 24 September 1941. In B.O.A.C.-services the CW-20 became the "Spirit of St. Louis". After the war, Curtiss tried to launch a new passenger transport version of the Commando, but with thousands of surplus transports on the market, this project never stood any real chance of success. In fact, even civil C-46 passenger conversions failed to attract orders and the Commando was most often, and successful, used as a freighter.

Curtiss C-46A-50-CU s/n 30532 was originally built in World War II for the United States Army Air Forces as 42-101077 but was transferred to the United States Navy with BuNo 39573 on 15 September 1944. In 1956, the Curtiss C-46A entered the civil US-register as N10427 with the supplemental airline AAXICO (American Air Export And Import Company) in Miami, Florida. On 30 August 1956, Curtiss C-46A N10427 was leased and later purchased by Seaboard and Western Airlines. Due to financial problems Seaboard and Western Airlines was reorganized and made a new start as Seaboard World Airlines Inc., New York, in 1961. As before, Curtiss C-46A N10427 was operated by Seaboard as their European feeder out of Frankfurt Rhein-Main-Flughafen in Germany, today known as Frankfurt International Airport. Early 1970, after the CofA expired, the C-46A N10427 was withdrawn from use stored at Frankfurt. On 19 December 1970, C-46A N10427 became active again, when the aircraft was flown to Basle, still in Seaboard colors. The aircraft was rumoured to be used by Hank Wharton and on 23 December 1970, the N10427 left Basle to Malaga on its way to Conakry in the Republic Guinea in West Africa. As far as known the C-46A was never used in Africa and at the end the aircraft went to the USA. In May 1971, the C-46A was registered with Marshall M. Landy in Florida again as N10427. The next operator of the N10427 became Joanne Fashions, this time in Colombia. On 21 February 1973, Curtiss C-46A N10427 operated by Joanne Fashions was destroyed in a fatal crash during a cargo flight in Colombia. The cargo flight departed Barranquilla-Ernesto Cortissoz Airport and was destined for Pereira Airport. Some time after leaving Barranquilla, the no. 1 engine malfunctioned, so the crew had to divert to Barrancabermeja Airport with a feathered prop. While turning to finals, the aircraft crashed and caught fire about 3 km short of runway 03 from Barrancabermeja Airport. On 22 August 1973, registration N10427 was cancelled.
On 10 August 1969, the Seaboard Wold Airlines' Curtiss C-46A N10427 was seen at it's home base Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport in Germany.

page last updated: 29-04-2020
Copyright © Jack Wolbrink, Emmen, the Netherlands

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