© Copyright CJ Magro, Paratroopers of the 50's


American and British
Jumping Planes Of The Fifties


While the pictures are loading let William J Waters Jr.,
who served with the 82nd from 1948 to 1950 and
As A Jump School instructor at Ft. Benning from 1950 to 1953,
Explain some Difference in Parachutes T-7 vs T-10 and Planes C46 through C119

Clickto go directly to Aircraft's pictures

 There were considerable differences in parachutes and planes; I will try and explain the difference as I saw (and felt) them.

 The speed of the plane was not as critical With the T-10 parachute because you were under the prop blast when your chute opened, with the older T-7 model your chute opened in the prop blast, and if you have heard the term "hitting the blast", well with the old T-7 you really hit the blast !

The T-10 was packed in a sleeve, which allowed you to fall below the prop blast before your chute opened. The older T-7 parachute's canopy was not in a bag , when you left the plane and reached the end of your static line the canopy was right in the blast and you felt it's full force.

Riser burns across your shoulders, especially if you were jumping with a fifty pound GP bag, were common. When your chute opened , it looked as if someone grabbed a rag doll and snapped it.

My favorite Plane was the old C-46. It had wide doors and the pilots could slow them down to around 85 knots. The C-47 was essentially the same as the C-46. It just didn't have very big doors. You couldn't stand up in them.

The C-82 (boxcar) was our mainstay. It was a very good plane, except, it was like a bumble bee it was not supposed to fly ; but it didn't know the difference; and flew anyway.

 The pilots could slow the C82 down to around 100 to 110 knots still not to bad for the old T-7. The C82 had very wide doors , in fact , the jump master had to watch the men very closely as they exited the aircraft. They would be in such a hurry, they would go out two at a time; causing injuries and an occasionally fatality.

 Back then on mass jumps it was not uncommon to have one or two fatalities and lots of injuries, still the C82 was a very good plane.

Then came the C-119 a very good plane. It was just ahead of the T-10 and the pilots could only slow them down to around 135 knots. With the old T-7 parachute this made a lot of difference. The opening shock was magnified greatly! I can remember a lot of times when jumping a GP bag I would see stars!

That was the difference in planes, now they jump prop jets with no ill effects. I don't know what kind of chutes they use now, but the last time I was at Bragg , about two years ago they still opened like the T-10.

When we jump at night, the pilots would run the engines rich on fuel. Sitting in the plane waiting to jump you could see a long streak of fire going down both sides of the plane . It looked kind of  eerie and made you wonder if you were going to get in it, but we never did.

 That was the old airborne now with all the modern equipment they have, it must really be a pleasure to be in the AIRBORNE !

  A Curtise Commando C-46. It carried 30 troopers.
Picture courtesy of R. A. Lucas


The Curtiss C-46 Commando served a similar role as it's contemporary the Douglas C-47 Skytrain , but was not quite as famous or as heavily produced.
Curtiss C-46 Commando Info: 54 seat military transport and troop carrier Crew: 3, Pilot, co-pilot, radio operator, Specifications: Length: 76' 4" (23.27 m) Height: 21' 9" (6.63 m) Wingspan: 108'-1" (32.94 m)

Paratroopers loading C-46


Jumping the C47 - Look Out For The Tail !!


The C-47 Skytrain was the most commonly used transport in the Allied Air Forces and has operated in every theater of war. It was also known under different names (Skytrain/Skytrooper/Dakota/"Gooney Bird")
C47 Spec:Crew: 3, Pilot, co-pilot, radio operator; Length:64' 2.5" (19.57 m) Height: 16' 11" (5.16 m), Wingspan:95' 0" (28.96 m),

The main visual difference in the C-82 (on Left) vs the C-119 was in the nose and fin supports on the tail booms of the C-119 (on Right)

Jumping the C119 - The Caddie Of The Fifties.

Conceived in mid World War II for heavy-lift and troop-carrying, the early version C-82 was introduced too late to see active service. The improved C-119 made its first flight in November, 1947. Its cargo space was the same as a railroad boxcar, 2,870 cubic feet, so, naturally, it was called the Flying Boxcar.
Fairchild built a total of 1,185; production stopped in 1955.

The Big Mama C124 - She Could Carry 200 Paratrooper Fully Loaded.

Douglas built a total of 449 and all were released from active service in the mid-70's

The C123 Could Carry 60 Paratroopers And Equipment.

The Fairchild C-123 Provider was a versatile aircraft able to be converted in a short time to a troop transport carrying 61 Troopers, a medevac transport with 50 litters, or to a freighter carrying 15,000 lbs. of cargo.

C123, Provider, in Flight Picture By Bob Murray

Or as my British Friends would say:

Parachuting Aircraft Of Her Britannic Majesty's Royal Air Force
in the 50's & 60's

Thanks to John Dingwall, of the Parachute Regimental Assoc. Lothian Branch,
we have some excellent pictures of British Jump Planes of the 50's - 60's era.
To See John's Excellent Site , click on his "Banner"


The descriptions of the planes (some what colorful) was also furnished by John.

The Hastings was in service over the same period (56-67) it carried 32 paratroopers 16 port & starboard. It had staggered exit doors so that parachutists would not collide on exiting (in theory) I for one can say it does not always work that way!
Hasting Inside view
Anthony Treacher, of 2 Para, took this picture of the interior of a Hastings and fellow members of 2 Para at Kykko (Nicosia, Cyprus) airfield in 1959.
The Beverly was in service from 1956-1967 (Approx). It carried 40 paratroopers in the freight bay and 30 in the tail boom. The jump from the tail boom was only used when there were heavy drop platforms in the freight bay and they were the deriggers. At other times the tail boom troops would enter the freight bay via two trap doors in the floor on the port and starboard sides. A pain in the ass in a bucking aircraft with your parachutes on. Then 70 would jump from the freight bay!
The Argosy came into service in approx 1967 to replace the Hastings. Although a nice aircraft to exit from it was not a success for Airborne Forces and was soon to be replaced with the gallant C130. The Argosy had a flight deck which took up space in the freight bay. The heavy drop platforms (2) had to be rigged differently for the Argosy as the first platform in the freight bay had to be considerably lower than the rear one. Another pain in the ass.

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