The C-123 troop and cargo transport was designed by the original Chase Aircraft Company. A production order for 300 C-123B, held by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation (which had acquired a majority interest in the Chase company in 1953), was cancelled in June 1953. New bids were asked for, as a result of which production of the C-123B was assigned to Fairchild. The first Fairchild-built C-123B flew on 1 September 1954 and production aircraft entered service with the USAF's 309th Troop Carrier Group in July 1955. Orders totalling more than 300 aircraft were completed by mid-1958, six going to Saudi Arabia and 18 to Venezuela.
In 1955 the prototype C-123B was fitted experimentally with two Fairchild J44 turbojet engines mounted at the wingtips to provide auxiliary power for use in an emergency. As a result ten production aircraft were modified into C-123J with turbojet engines fitted. Meanwhile a small number of C-123H had been produced with wide-track landing gears.
The prototype YC-123H was later experimentally fitted with CJ610 auxiliary turbojet engines and flown on 30 July 1962. Having been tested in South Vietnam as a counter-insurgency aircraft, 183 more C-123B were given 12.68kN General Electric J85-GE-17 auxiliary turbojet engines in underwing pods and designated C-123K. Some were further converted to AC-123K Spectre gunships for service during the Vietnam conflict.
| ENGINE||2 x P+W R-2800-99W, 1840kW|
| Take-off weight||27240 kg||60054 lb|
| Empty weight||14100 kg||31085 lb|
| Wingspan||33.6 m||110 ft 3 in|
| Length||23.3 m||76 ft 5 in|
| Height||10.4 m||34 ft 1 in|
| Wing area||113.6 m2||1222.78 sq ft|
| Max. speed||392 km/h||244 mph|
| Ceiling||7000 m||22950 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||2350 km||1460 miles|
|Ernie Colby, ernestcolby=yahoo.com, 05.08.2011|
Does anyone know if a standard 8 x 20 shipping container would fit in the back of a c123?
|Gary Woodruff, gary.woodruff=comcast.net, 19.07.2011|
I flew C-123 in 1965-66 in 310th ACS at Saigon and then Nha Trang, then went to England AFB LA. until April 1967. I then separated from the active duty. We had many rich experiences in the airplane.
|James Mayfield, jrmaxiv=gmail.com, 17.05.2011|
Mr. Tucson, not sure how to get in touch...let me know if you figured out what to do with yours. 203.921.21644
|John Mulvey, astreair=earthlink.net, 01.05.2011|
If anyone has any ideas of what could be done with C-123K these days, I would very much like to get in contact with you.
We have an ex-DoS ship 54-0659 that was used in Peru until 1992 and then retired.
Our ship (now) N123JK is sitting in Tucson and hoping to fly a little longer.
We have parts, books, tooling, etc. I want to install new hoses, overhaul the carbs and props before we fly it out.
I look forward to speaking to any one interested.
|michael, oldman32948=charter.net, 07.04.2011|
I was Ubon AB thailand in 1969 TDY for 90 days. blackspot which were c123s any have any pictures of the bomb shed and the supply shed there and does any one remember if any of the 2 c123s were ever used for spraying agent orange.
|Virgil Farling, vfarling=aol.com, 01.04.2011|
I was a crew cheif on the C-123 black birds of the First Flight detachment in Nha Trang in 1968-69. They really were a work horse type aircraft whose most re-occurring problems were related to engine oil leaks and hydraulic issues. The APUs also required a lot of attention. That said they were an excellent dependable aircraft for the mission they had.
|Roger, Mezzulo, 31.03.2011|
only thing i would like to say is i was At Katum on a 105 howizer for nine months during 1968-1969 and i know they got fired on and could not stop to unload or pick up sometimes.
|Glen Houpt, glenhoupt2nd=aol.com, 29.03.2011|
I am a volunteer in our new Air Museum here in Sioux City Iowa.
We have a C-123K We are working on for viewing only. Some cockpit instruments are missing. Are there any photos available of the Cockpit Instruments. WE have some old instruments from other planes that may work. Please send any photos of the instruments you have available. Thanks much.
|Ray C Ingram, ingramray.shirley=gmail.com, 24.03.2011|
My first loadmaster duties at Pope were aboard the 123 in 1962. Did the Vietnam tour as "advisor" several times with the last one as loadmaster on the C-130 in 1965 out of Dyess/Phillippines.
Both Very reliable machines, the 123 took all kinds of bullet holes without any problems. Even got to fly a little :)
|Roger Haneline, rogerdhaneline=bellsouth.net, 16.02.2011|
Ref the comment above about the J-85 being installed on the J-model airplanes. I was Mission Commender for the first 3 J-models flown to Korea. They all had skis and the J-44 which burned fuel and made noise---I was not aware that it was supposed to provide thrust. Of course I'm jaded---I also flew the K-model for a number of years. I logged over 6000 hours over 16 years in the C-123, including several ferry flights to/from Clark. Great airplane.
|Pete Sims, rsims7=cox.net, 25.01.2011|
I came off T-39As as a flying crewchief at Andrews in the summer of '69. Had C-123K Engineer training at Hurlburt Field, 4408th CCTS, went to Phan Rang RVN, but was reassigned to DaNang 311 SOS before I had my "in country" flight engineer training. I was upgaded to Instructor FE in May '70. When I left DaNang, I had just over 800 hours and almost 1400 sorties. I was then assigned to the 4408th CCTS at Lockbourne (later Rickenbacker) AFB, OH and after 7 months the entire unit was reassigned to England AFB, Alexandria, LA. We trained crews from USA, South Viet Nam, Nigeria, the AF Reserves and Air Guard. The 4408th CCTS was decommisioned in mid/late 1971 and we were transfered to the C-47 Squadron. In 1972, four ex C-123K aircrews (piolts, engineers and loadmasters were selected, received recurrent training and sent TDY to SE Asia to train aircrews there. We were not told where we were going, only that it required multiple entries into/out of Thailand. Didn't take much imigination to figure out where we would probably be. When we received our advance TDY pay right before our departure, a pay clerk told us we were going to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. When we arrived at Don Maung, Thailand our intel briefing was that "if you couldn't fly in and out at 10,000 feet, you didn't need to fly." Our commander told the briefing team that we would be flying low level, tree top training missions, just like state side. People laughed at that! It took a week, but the decsion was made to conduct training of Cambodian aircrews out of Don Maung Airport. We had 4 aircraft with Cambodian/US markings. When I left due to an emergency leave, we had trained the crews to Instructor level in all positions, all in less than 6 months. It turned out to be one of the most satisfying tours of duty I ever had. I wish I had kept my checklist and Dash-1, but I was a 43171C by virtue of all my training and a flight engineer by Air Force mistake when the made all AFASCs with an "A" prefix, A435X0s flight engineers. All my FE/IFE counterparts at DaNang were "panel" engineers on 141s, 124, and others. I was the first true "Flight Mechanic." The experience paid off later in my career.
|John H. Tullis (FE), tullisus =aol.com, 10.01.2011|
I want to get in touch with William Purcell, a pilot, who
was aircraft commander on the C-123K in the 606 SOS at NKP
Thialand 1869/1970. At the end of his tour, he was assigned to Mcguire AFB in 1970. I can be reached at
|Ron Durham, neverdocked=tampabay.rr.com, 09.01.2011|
I was a Flight Engineer and Loadmaster on the C-123 with the Coast Guard from 70 to 71. Stationed at Coast Guard Air Station Agana, Guam. Serviced logistics and transported personal for all LORAN "C" locations throughout Micronesia. Some points served were Saipan, Yap, Palau, and Ulithii. Also, made many flights to Taiwan, Phillipines and Japan. This aircraft was very reliable and served its purpose very well. Was very fortunate to be assigned one of the few C-123 locations in the Coast Guard Air Fleet. Semper Paratus
|Lew Forbes, pilotlew15=yahoo.com, 15.12.2010|
I was a crew chief on C123's in 1959 to 1961 with almost 1000 hours flight time.
Yes there was a batery in the lower right wheel well just forward of the main gear. the AP
U was above it at about shoulder hight.
I am 74 now and have many good memories of my time flying C123's. I see mention of tail numbers, I crew chiefed 40555 the first production one made. we also has 552 and 553 the 2 test models used as everyday aircraft. If I understood it right 554 w3as put on water floots and tested as a see plane. mention above was 592 I have flown that airplane as a crew chief.
I flew missions to set up communications for the Bay of Pigs many other stories email me with yours.
Also there was a storie of a flight into Laos with amunition that the crew chief was hit be a rocket on take off in the veterns magazine from Fresno CA it was very interesting.
|Walter Monroe, waljom=aol.com, 23.11.2010|
I was what they called a bladder man from POL-fuel.
Flew out of Saigon and all over vietnam
I flew over 170 bladder bird missions on C123 and C130s all crews
1968 to 1969
We were hit many times and Iam still alive and would do it again.
Iam looking to see if their are any other bladder bird men alive ?
|Paul F. Sandhofer, psandhofer=yahoo.com, 23.11.2010|
I would like to correct the second paragraph in the heading of this article. The 1,000 pound thrust J-44 engines were installed in the C-123B's when ten of the aircraft had skis installed. The ski equipped aircraft had the designation of C-123J. Initially the aircraft were operated by the Air Force then turned over to the Alaska Air National Guard. The Guard flew the C-123J's until they were replaced by C-130's. Six of the C-123J were transferred to South Korea while the other two were operated by the Federal Government to transport forest fire fighters throughout Alaska. Two were lost to aircraft accidents. Also the FAA operated a C-123B with J-44's without skis in Alaska for a number of years to supply the remote FAA sites.
The J-44's were installed to compensate for the additional drag created when taking off with the skis down. The skis were retractable so the aircraft could be operated either on snow and ice or on a paved runway. The J-44 engine was developed as a low cost jet to be used on drone target aircraft. The drone was declared obsolete so depot support for the J-44 was lost. The all the aircraft with the J-44 engines were converted to house the J-85 engines in the same wing tip pods.
Two C-123J's are on static display in Alaska. One is at the Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry near Wasilla while the other one is at Joint Base Elmendof Ft. Richardson in Anchorage.
|Tom Vandenberg, tavandenberg=pocketinet.com, 20.11.2010|
I was a passenger in one in 1971 - direct flight from Saigon to Danang. Womewhere near Cam Rahn Bay the crew chief jumped down into the bay and said we were "going down". That plane made a very tight left turn and set down oh so gently on the runway. The tail gate droped down and we were ushered off. I was the last one off and the crewchief told me to run and to keep running until he said to stop. As I was running I looked over my shoulder and the entire crew was hot on my tail. Ran about a hundred yards before we stopped. A OD green "bread truck" with 5 men in white "suits" jumped out by the right side of the plane. One came over and the crew talked to him then went back to the plane. A couple minutes later he came back and the pilot went over and he entire crew got back on the plane. The crewchief told us to get on and as there was no other place to go but into the jungle (the terminal was at the other end of the runway) we did. Before I got on board I looked at what the men in white were checking out and saw a cylinder about 6" in diameter and about a foot long sticking out of the bottom near the cabin. Don't know what it was but am pretty sure it was not there when we left Saigon a rocket probably? That pilot landed that baby so gently we did not know it was even on the ground. Ah the memories.
|Arthur Ericson, Col, USAFG (re, c130c141=comcast.net, 13.11.2010|
I flew C-123 Ranch Hand defolation missions in Vietnam in 1968 spraying agent orange at an altitude of 150 feet and 130 knots. We took a lot of small arms hits but never turned back from a target no mater how hot. The aircrews, officers and enlisted, were the best I have ever flown with. I also flew Royal Thai Air Force C-123 aircraft in Japan supporting the United Nations Command. The Thais were great people and fun to work with.
|Randy Whitmire, MSgt USAF Reti, michiganskypilot=earthlink.net, 08.11.2010|
DaNang AB - RVN....1966-67 366th TFW....responsible for just about everything that flew out of DaNang (F-4C Phantom II, C-130's, O-2A's, O-2B (Psy Warfare); AC-47 (Puff's) and the venerable C-123's (B models, UC-123's Ranch Hands (Agent Orange coats EVERYTHING inside fuselage) and C-123K (pod jets). Flew on a few for resupply missions (rice, livestock, etc.)...was the "real" workhorse of Vietnam war. It's the strangest looking bird...but also one of the most dependable...when the chips are down...Thank God...for machine gun tape
|rholzen, rmhbenefit=aol.com, 04.11.2010|
While on vacation in Costa Rica, in the city of Quepos, I ran across a C-123 that was being used as a bar. How they got that plane up a steep narrow road to the restaurant where it became part of the setting, I'll never know. Being an old 123 pilot out of Phan Rang and Da Nang in 70-71, It was a little sad to see the old work horse relegated to being a bar. I was told by the owner of the bar that the plane had been abandoned at the Quepos airport one night by a crew who just "disappeared into the night" after an emergency landing. Sounds like a CIA op. Anyone know the
story behind this?
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?