C-123K Provider

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Manufacturer: Fairchild
Designation: C-123
Version: K
Nickname: Provider
Type: Cargo / Transport
Length: 75' 9" 23.24 M
Height: 34' 1" 10.52 M
Wingspan: 110' 33.53 M
Wingarea: 1223.00 Sq Ft 113.61 Sq M
Empty Weight: 29900.0 lbs 13560.0 Kg
Gross Weight: 60000.0 lbs 27210.0 Kg
Payload: 61 troops or 50 stretchers 24,000 lbs cargo
No. of Engines: 2
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-2800 & 2 2850Lb J85-GE
Horsepower (each): 2500
Range: 1410 miles 2938.00 Km
Cruise Speed: 170.00 mph 273.00 Km/H 147.57 Kt
Max Speed: 228.00 mph 386.00 Km/H 208.65 Kt
Ceiling: 32000.0 Ft 8534.00 M


The C-123 is based on the airframe developed in 1945 by Chase Aircraft Co. of New Jersey. It was a 16-passenger troop-carrying glider of all wooden construction. First flown in 1945, it was towed by four-engine C-54 transports. In 1946, an all-metal, 32-seat troop cargo transport version was flown. After the Second World War the United States Army determined gliders were more hazardous to the troops being transported than the enemy and abandoned the program,


Fairchild inherited the design, adding two engines and fuel cells in the engine nacelles. ln 1954 they produced a powered aircraft capable of operating from short, unprepared landing fields. In 1955, two 1,000lb thrust turbojet engines were fitted to provide auxiliary power and jet fuel tanks were suspended from the wings. The large rear cargo loading door lowers to become a ramp for both men and vehicles. It also serves as a paratroop jump platform, cargo drops, and low altitude parachute extraction drops.


Used extensively in Vietnam for defoliate spraying and Forward Air Control (FAC), some aircraft, designated AC-123K Gunships, were equipped with 7.62mm mini-guns, flares and night sensors.


Our aircraft is a troop transport “Provider”. It was delivered to the USAF on December 20, 1955, based in Europe the aircraft was used by the 1127th Field Activities Squadron (USAFE), in Leopoldville Congo during the 1965 Simba Uprising. Returning to the United States it became part of the 1st Air Commando Squadron before 1972 when it was transferred to the AF Reserve at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio. Retiring from service in September 1981 it flew into March Field to become part of the collection. This aircraft is on loan from the NMUSAF  

According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell
AFB, AL, the museum's C-123K has the following history:

Our C-123 served at the following locations:

Feb 1956 -  To 309th Troop Carrier (Assault) Group (TAC), Ardmore AFB OK

May 1956 -  To 60th Troop Carrier (M) Wing (USAFE), Dreux AB France

Jul 1958 -  To 2584th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES), Memphis MAP TN

Aug 1958 -  To 2589th Air Reserve Flying Center (AFRES),

Dec 1958  - To 445th Troop Carrier Wing (AFRES), Dobbins AFB GA.

Jun 1963  - To 918th Troop Carrier Wing (AFRES), Dobbins AFB GA

May 1965 -  To 1st Air Commando Wing (TAC), Hurlburt Field FL

Aug 1965  - To 1127th Field Activities Squadron (USAFE), Leopoldville AP

Apr 1966  - To 1st Air Commando Wing (TAC), England AFB LA

Jun 1967  - To Fairchild, Hagerstown MD (converted to C-123K)

Aug 1967 -  Returned to 1st Air Commando Wing

Mar 1968  - Unit became 1st Special Operations Wing (assignments to
Lockbourne AFB OH)

Aug 1969  - Unit moved to Hurlburt Field FL

Jan 1972 -  To 906th Tactical Airlift Group (AFRES), Lockbourne AFB OH

Jun 1975  - To 355th Tactical Airlift Squadron (AFRES), Lockbourne (later
Rickenbacker) AFB OH

Sep 1981  - Dropped from USAF inventory by transfer to school or museum

It made its last flight into March Field in 1981.

In 1998, the plane was restored and painted in the markings it wore while
assigned to the 1st Special Operations Wing, Eglin AFB, FL.  Its nose art, "The
Chief", is in honor of its volunteer Crew Chief, retired Chief Master Sergeant
Jim Meek.  Jim was the flight chief for one of the first C-123J's equipped with
ski's to land in Greenland in 1958.  He has given over 10,000 volunteer hours to
the museum and has cared for the C-123 since 1981.