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Curtiss C-46 Commando

YOU TUBE Curtiss C-46 Commando


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P&W R2800 radials
2 x 2,100 h.p. ea.
33,000 lbs.
50,000 lbs.
50 troops
11,630 lbs.
76 ft. 4 in.
108 ft.
185 mph
270 mph
1,600 fpm
22,000 feet
1,800 miles

Curtiss C-46 Commando
Curtiss C-46 Commando
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The Curtiss C-46 Commando was the largest twin engine aircraft to fly U.S. military operations during the Second World War. The airplane was used to transport troops and haul cargo.

The twin engine airplane was originally intended as a civil airliner, designed for up to 36 seats in a pressurized cabin. However, the U.S. military acquired every Curtiss C-46 Commando when World War II broke out.

The military airplane differed from the civil versions in having larger doors and a reinforced deck for the handling of heavy cargo.

With upgrades, the Curtiss C-46 Commando became the major cargo hauling aircraft of the Pacific Theatre. It is probably best known for its missions flying supplies over the Himalaya Mountains between Burma and China, known as the "Hump." This was primarily in support of the Flying Tigers and the Chinese Army. The airplane also saw limited action over Germany deploying paratroopers.

The Curtiss C-46 Commando design was unique for a transport aircraft of the time. Its fuselage was shaped to enhance high altitude pressurized flight. Powerful engines combined with extensive streamlining enabled it to cruise at higher speeds and altitudes, and carry higher payloads, than other twin engine transports of the time. The shortcoming of its short fuselage and high profile is its difficulty to fly and land in strong cross winds.

The Curtiss C-46 Commando has had a long and distinguished career. After World War II it served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. It remained deployed with the American military into 1968.

A small number of the Curtiss C-46 Commando aircraft continue to fly today, mostly for cargo transport companies around the world. A total of over 3,000 Curtiss C-46 Commando aircraft of all types were produced.

Curtiss C-46 Commando
Curtiss C-46 Commando

That's Paul Latourneau and his 14% Curtiss C-46 Commando built from enlarged Jerry Bates Plans. Its wingspan is 180 in. and length is 126 in. It has custom made landing gear, wheel brakes, working flaps, and a parachute drop. Power comes from DA 85 engines swinging three blade 26 x 10 props. Weight is about 93 lbs.

Curtiss C-46 Commando
Curtiss C-46 Commando

The Curtiss C-46 Commando of American Eagle has a 118 in. wingspan. Construction materials used are epoxy glass for the fuselage and foam for the wings. You will need G38 or larger engines for power.

Curtiss C-46 Commando

The Curtiss C-46 Commando scratch built by Sergio Vergara has a wingspan of 122 in. Sergio finished his airplane in flight metal and equipped it with wheel brakes, retracts, and a mini lighting system. Power comes from a pair of Saito 300 engines turning 19 inch diameter three bladed props. It has an all up weight of about 50 lbs.

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Plans from Diels Engineering were enlarged to produce the 59 in. Curtiss C-46 Commando pictured above.

Curtiss C-46 Commando

Kit Cutters has a Curtiss C-46 Commando. It is made from Jerry Bates Plans that are available separately. Wingspan is 96 in. and length is 68 in. Power may be from .40 to .60 two cycle engines. Weight is around 16 1/2 lbs.

Curtiss C-46 Commando

The Curtiss C-46 Commando comes as a Williams Brothers kit. It has a wingspan of 18 in. There are 91 kit parts and decals for six different paint schemes including military and civilian. We have seen comments that extra attention is needed cleaning flash from the kit plastic parts for a proper look and fit.

The Curtiss C-46 Commando from Fly Models has a 114 in. wingspan and is 77 in. long. It needs from .90 to 1.20 two stroke or from 1.20 to 1.50 four stroke engine power.

We knew WW II veterans who flew "over the Hump" in the Curtiss C-46 Commando, and the aircraft have a special meaning to us.

Please email us if you know of a Curtiss C-46 Commando we need to include here.