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C-82 Packet
Role Cargo and troop transport
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft
First flight 1944
Primary user United States Army Air Force
Number built 223
Variants C-119 Flying Boxcar

The C-82 Packet was a twin-engine, twin-boom cargo aircraft designed and built by Fairchild Aircraft. It was used briefly by the United States Army Air Forces and United States Navy following World War II.


Design and development

Developed by Fairchild, the C-82 was designed as a heavy-lift cargo aircraft to succeed pre-war designs like the Curtiss C-46 Commando and Douglas C-47 Dakota. The aircraft was designed for a number of roles, including cargo carrier, troop transport, ambulance airplane and glider tow. The single prototype first flew on September 10, 1944. The aircraft were built at the Fairchild factory in Hagerstown, Maryland, with deliveries beginning in late 1945 and ending in September 1948

Problems surfaced almost immediately as the aircraft was found to be underpowered and its airframe inadequate for the heavy lifting it was designed to perform. As a result the Air Force turned to Fairchild for a solution to the C-82's shortcomings. A redesign was quickly performed under the designation XC-82B, which would overcome all of the C-82A's initial problems. First flown in 1947, the XC-82B would go into production as the C-119B Flying Boxcar. In the end only 223 C-82A would be built, a very small number for a production cargo aircraft. Most were used for cargo and troop transport, although a few were used for paratroop operations or towing military gliders. During its brief operational life several C-82 Packets were utilized during the Berlin Airlift, primarily bringing large disassembled vehicles into the city.

Though itself unsuccessful, the C-82A is best considered as an early development stage of the C-119B Flying Boxcar. The C-82A saw limited production before replaced by the Flying Boxcar.

Fifty three C-82A were procured by the United States Navy, though they too were quickly replaced by the Navy version of the C-119B Flying Boxcar.


  • Brazilian Air Force - the Primeiro Grupo de Transporte de Tropa (1st Troop Transport Group) operated C-82s until 1969.
 United States


  • The last flyable C-82A had been owned and operated by Hawkins & Powers Aviation, an aerial firefighting company located in Greybull, Wyoming. This plane was purchased at auction by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum in Hagerstown, Maryland. The aircraft was flown to the Hagerstown Regional Airport on October 15, 2006.[1] This marks the last flight of a C-82. The plane will remain on display at the HRA until a dedicated space for it is made available in a future museum building to be built near the original Fairchild Manufacturing Facility. Two incomplete C-82As remain at the Greybull site. One of them (civil registration N5102B) was also recently obtained by the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, and is currently waiting to be transported to the museum where it will be used in a "Building the Boxcar" exhibit. The fate of the other incomplete C-82A (civil registration N8009E) is uncertain.
  • One C-82 operated by the Brazilian Air Force rests outside the Museu Aeroespacial in Rio de Janeiro city, waiting for restoration at the museum´s shop.

Aircraft on display

Specifications (C-82A)

Fairchild C-82 Packet dropping paratroops in training exercise

Data from United States Military Aircraft since 1909 [3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: three
  • Capacity: 42 troops or 34 stretchers[4]
  • Length: 77 ft 1 in (23.50 m)
  • Wingspan: 106 ft 5½ in (32.46 m)
  • Height: 26 ft 4 in (8.03 m)
  • Wing area: 1,400 ft² (130.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 32,500 lb (14,773 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 54,000 lb (24,545 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-2800-85 radials, 2,100 hp (1,567 kW) each


Popular culture

Fairchild C-82 Packet

The C-82 is perhaps best known for its role in the 1964 novel, The Flight of the Phoenix, and Robert Aldrich's original 1965 film version. Based on the novel by Elleston Trevor, the story centers around a C-82 that crashes in a desert, is rebuilt using one tail boom, and flown to safety. Three Fairchild C-82s (one flying and two derelict) were based at Long Beach Airport in California during the filming. They were operated by Steward-Davis Inc. The flying aircraft was N6887C while the two derelicts were N4833V and N53228. The other aircraft used was an R4Q-1 Navy Packet BuNo.126580.

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft


  1. ^ Hagarstown Aviation Museum coverage of the last flying C-82
  2. ^ "Factsheet : Fairchild C-82 Packet". National Museum of the US Air Force. Retrieved 18 November 2009.
  3. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p.265.
  4. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1963, p.261.
  • Swanborough, F.G. and Peter M. Bowers. United States Military Aircraft since 1909. London:Putnam, First edition, 1963.


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