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C-123K "Provider"

C-123K “Provider”



  • Wing Span: 110 ft.

  • Length: 75 ft. 9 in.

  • Height: 34 ft. 1 in.

  • Maximum Speed: 240 mph

  • Service Ceiling: 29,000 ft.

  • Range: 1,340 Miles

  • Crew/Passengers: 2 plus 61 fully loaded troops

  • Armament: C-123K - None

  • AC-123K - 4 x 7.62mm Miniguns

  • Engines: 2 x 2,300 H.P. Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W Double Wasp radial engines

The Fairchild C-123 "Provider" had a long development life.  It was originally built as a Chase G-20 "Avitruc" assault glider, and later powered versions were built by Fairchild.  The strength of the all-metal tubular airframe made it a natural choice to become a powered transport.  The designers experimented with both reciprocal and jet engine installations.  The final engine combination chosen for the first production model, the C-123B, was a pair of 2,300 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W's.

Our C-123 was originally constructed as a C-123B-12-FA, and was later upgraded to C-123K standards with the addition of larger diameter wheels and an anti-skid braking system, plus two General Electric J-85 turbojets to increase the aircraft's STOL (Short Take-off and Landing) capabilities.  The jet engines were mounted on underwing pylons outboard of the piston engines.

C-123K “Provider” - Before
C-123K “Provider” - After

Travis Aviation Museum's C-123 before and after paint job by volunteers

Walk through of the Travis Aviation Museum's C-123

In the early 1960's, the "Provider" was used to supply the Distant Early Warning (DEW) sites.  When the United States entered the Vietnam War, the C-123 was called upon to carry troops and equipment, drop airborne troops while others were converted to AC-123K "Gunships."  The gunships had four 7.62mm miniguns, flares and night sensors installed for troops interdiction missions.

The Heritage Center's C-123K, serial number 55-4507, spent its life carrying cargo.  She last flew with the 302nd Tactical Airlift Wing, Rickenbacker AFB, Columbus, Ohio.  They operated the airlift until October, 1981, when '4507 was flown into storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Heritage Center volunteers traveled to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and readied the aircraft for the flight to Travis Air Force Base.

Watch a C-123 Taking Off

Information derived from, “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico, copyright Travis AFB Historical Society and Travis AFB Heritage Center Foundation.

This book is available from the Travis Heritage Center gift shop.

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