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|Date Acquired:||August 2005|
|Acquired From:||Pima, Tucson, AZ|
Manufactured by Curtis Aircraft, Buffalo NY and delivered to the USAAF on 9 Mar 1945.
|Mar 1945||To 805th AAF Base Unit (Combat Crew Training Station, Troop Carrier), George Field, Lawrenceville IL|
|Dec 1945||To Walnut Ridge AR (surplus)|
|May 1948||To Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area, Tinker AFB OK (to TC-46D)|
|Oct 1949||To 2234th Air Reserve Training Center (US Air Force Reserves), Laurence G. Hanscom Field MA (deployment to Stewart AFB NY, to C-46D)|
|Mar 1951||To 2233rd Air Reserve Training Detachment (AFRES), Mitchel AFB NY|
|May 1951||To 514th Troop Carrier (Medium) Wing (Tactical Air Command), Mitchel AFB (deployment to Burlington AP VT)|
|Feb 1953||To 313th Troop Carrier (M) Wing (TAC), Mitchel AFB|
|May 1953||To 3499th Mobile Training Wing (Air Training Command), Chanute AFB IL|
|Jun 1956||To 2230th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES), New York AP NY (deployment to Pope AFB SC)|
|Sep 1957||To 2577th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES), Brooks AFB TX|
|Apr 1958||To Arizona Aircraft Storage Branch (Air Materiel Command), Davis-Monthan AFB AZ|
|Jun 1962||Dropped from inventory as surplus|
|Aug 2005||Transferred to Joe Davies Airpark, Palmdale CA|
The design that was to become the Curtiss C-46 began as a response to the development of twin engine, low wing metal passenger planes in the mid-1930s (i.e. the Douglas DC-2). Curtiss designed the Model CW-20 as a passenger plane capable of carrying 36 passengers. The Air Corps were interested in the improved design and ordered 46 planes in July 1940. The Air Corps bought the prototype, CW-20, a year later in June 1941 and designated it C-55. The first C-46 was delivered to the Air Corps in the summer of 1942.
The C-46 was an improved version of the CW-20 with 2000 horsepower. Pratt & Whitney "Double Wasp" radial engines replaced the 1700 horsepower Wright Cyclones on the prototype. The C-46 fuselage was designed as two circular cross sections meeting at the cargo floor level. Initially, a fairing was fitted over the crease in the fuselage to improve streamlining, however, it was quickly dropped from the production aircraft since it did not have a significant effect on the aircraft's performance.
The C-46 had a crew of four -- pilot, co-pilot, navigator and radio operator. The aircraft could carry between 38 and 50 troops, depending on the interior configuration. A large cargo door allowed up to five tons of cargo to be carried and was big enough to transport jeeps, small trucks and light planes.
Only 25 of the 46 planes ordered were completed as C-46s. The remainder of the planes were upgraded to C-46A standards on the assembly line. In anticipation of the United States eventual entry into World War II, the Air Corps had an immediate need for large cargo aircrafts in the early 1940s. As a consequence, the C-46 had very little flight-testing before production started.
Design improvements were incorporated into the design as they were ready and differences were documented in the block number. The C-46A, for example, had 21 different block numbers and was built by three different companies.