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AIR AMERICA: CURTISS C-46s - The University of Texas at Dallas

AIR AMERICA: CURTISS C-46s - The University of Texas at Dallas

AIR AMERICA: CURTISS C-46s - The University of Texas at

Last updated on 4 March 2013 AIR AMERICA: CURTISS C-46s by Dr. Joe F. Leeker An Air America C-46 – probably N9458Z – making drops somewhere over Laos (with kind permission from Frank Bonansinga) The types of missions flown by Air America’s C-46s: Like the C-47, the C-46 was one of the types of aircraft Air America had inherited in March 59 from the times of CAT Inc., but in larger numbers. At that time, much of Air America‟s operations was still concentrated in Japan and in the Republic of China. All that changed in 1960: Already in the fall of that year, four of Air America C-46s had been transferred to Central America to fly arms and supplies to anti-Castro guerrillas in Cuba, but only two of them plus one replacement aircraft returned the following year. At about the same time it became evident that Communist support to Neutralist and Pathet Lao forces in Laos made it necessary to strengthen the pro-Western forces in that country. So in the fall of 1960, an endless stream of Air America C-46s moved thousands of tons of arms and supplies from the secret base at Takhli (T-05) in Thailand to General Phoumi Nosavan at Savannakhet. In January 61 Vang Pao was added to the CIA‟s list of receivers, and since that time, some of the supplies flown out of Takhli were delivered to a drop zone near Vang Pao‟s headquarters at Pa Doung in Laos (Trest, Air Commando One, pp. 109 and 116). Such numerous air drops were possible because Air America had inherited from the times of CAT Inc. an agreement with the Civil Aeronautics Administration of Taiwan which went back to the early fifties. No less then 7 CAA-owned C-46Fs were leased to Air America to supplement their own aircraft. When CAA-owned C-46 B-130 was lost in November 1960, it was even replaced by another CAA-owned C-46: B-156. Although Air America C-46s continued to fly in other theaters as well - two of them were used out of Japan to deliver the Stars and Stripes to Korea in the early sixties; two of them were used by Scheduled Air Services Ryukyus out of Naha, Okinawa between 1964 and 1967; one to two of them were used on CAT domestic flights until 1968; and two of them were apparently destined for another use against Cuba, but eventually flew for the Aviation

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