Traveling Boxcar receives a makeover: Volunteers paint C-119 exterior

A see of the C-119 exhibit at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum in Columbus, Ind., Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

Volunteers working on a venture to restore a C-119 “Flying Boxcar” plane at the Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum are repainting the plane right before winter season weather conditions comes.

The plane is on display screen in close proximity to the museum and Columbus Municipal Airport.

The museum ordered the C-119 for $15,000 in 2019.

The roughly 38,000-pound plane, which is not airworthy, was taken aside very last calendar year at an airport in Greybull, Wyoming, the place the aircraft’s areas were being loaded onto vans and driven 1,460 miles to Columbus. At an airport restoration hangar, a great deal of the plane was step by step reassembled and restored around the course of many months.

Skip Taylor, who is co-major the undertaking, stated that the objective is to complete painting the aircraft right before winter comes.

“That’s been a challenge since we’ve experienced a ton of rain,” he reported.

After volunteers are completed, the plane will be largely gray, with white on major and black driving the engines.

The exterior perform has also integrated getting rid of previous black paint. “The plane was painted black beneath the engines to hide the stains from the engine exhaust and from oil leaking from the engines,” museum officers explained. “This residue, merged with 3 coats of black paint, can make it a problem to remove.”

The paint elimination process requires coating the outdated black paint with paint remover, allowing it soak and then scraping off the softened paint. This must be performed many moments to take out all levels. There is also some outdated gray paint that demands to be taken off, but officials reported it will come off with less difficulty.

Group customers have also worked on including an electrical meter and circuit breaker box to the aircraft’s electricity cart, which also incorporates a heat pump and air conditioner.

The airplane is anticipated to have electrical ability before long, which Taylor stated will be applied for lighting and HVAC. The HVAC, which will warmth and neat the inside of of the plane, is by now “roughed in,” as is considerably of the inside wiring.

In addition to doing work at the screen web page, the C-119 workforce has also been in a position to use the Columbus Propeller makerspace for some do the job on the task. Taylor reported the do the job there has included pre-assembly of air regulate surfaces, which will be added to the airplane at the time painting is completed and assistance “complete the appear.” They’ve also applied the area as a paint kitchen.

The group has started ordering lettering for the aircraft, which will have figures, as very well as Air Force “bars and stars,” Taylor stated. Seats are out for upholstery, and they’re also “chasing down some leaks in the plane.”

“There will often be a task in this article or there that will increase to the completion,” he mentioned. Having said that, he expects the preliminary period of the C-119 task to be finish soon.

Some possible long run additions may incorporate putting in insulation and fabricating goods these as a navigator’s desk, bathroom, seats, fold-down litter, and crates to enable hide the HVAC technique.

The C-119, also acknowledged as the “Flying Boxcar” owing to the unconventional form of its fuselage, was in support with the U.S. Air Drive from 1947 to 1972 and was built to carry cargo, staff, litter people and mechanized gear. The plane was also utilised to drop cargo and troops utilizing parachutes, according to the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum.

The Traveling Boxcars have been run by two Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone radial engines, every with 3,500 horsepower, and could get to a utmost velocity of 296 miles per hour.

The U.S. Air Drive thoroughly applied C-119s throughout the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Retired C-119s have been also employed as air tankers to struggle wildfires in the United States.

The certain C-119 acquired by the museum was designed in Hagerstown, Maryland, for the Canadian Air Power, Taylor stated. The aircraft was afterwards acquired by Hawkins & Powers and made use of to battle forest fires. Its very last known flight was in 1990.

The Traveling Boxcars are of particular historic importance to Columbus, in accordance to museum volunteers. Right here, the pilots referred to them as the “Dollar Nineteens,” according to museum records.

From 1957 to 1969, 36 C-119s for the 434th Troop Carrier Wing were being stationed at Bakalar Air Drive Base, which is now Columbus Municipal Airport. The C-119s ended up a staple in Columbus, flown out of the foundation more time than any other plane.

Suppliers Fairchild and Kaiser created 1,151 of the C-119s from 1949 to 1955. On the other hand, only all-around 40 Flying Boxcars are nonetheless remaining now, most of them in museums across the country or in a scrap yard.