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Topic: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: CV990
Posted 2007-10-21 13:12:36 and read 2811 times.

Hi!

I was just noting that the C-46 Commando, an aircraft that did a lot of great work back to WWII and then when the war ended many found careers in airlines. But I was quite surprised to see that not many operated in Europe, the interesting fact is that in Scandinavia looked like this airplane was popular...well at least Transair Sweden and Fred Olsen used them good! But besides them, there were only two registrations in Italy, one in Switzerland, half a dozen in France, 2 in UK and that's it.


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Photo © Lars Söderström
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Photo © Dave Jones



Meanwhile we look to Latin America and the scenery changes completely.....loads in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, and also in countries like Paraguay, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, well actually I think in Central and South America maybe only Ecuador never got a C-46 ( and maybe yes...). Also in Asia we have registrations in China, Japan, India and Taiwan. Can we talk about the fact that the C-46 never got really very involved in European services or duties, and more in Latin America and Asia and the C-47 was more known and used in Europe and Africa? Even when we talk about Air Forces I think none in Europe got a C-46. Maybe there was a reason for this. I wait for your feedback!
Regards

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: M404
Posted 2007-10-22 00:31:41 and read 2654 times.

This was the acft I took my second flight on back in 1959 I think with Wien Airlines to Point Barrow Alaska but I don't remember them for any other American regional or major carrier. So except for some freight operators were they even much more popular in the US than in Europe?

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: Columba
Posted 2007-10-22 00:38:32 and read 2644 times.

Lufthansa had one for cargo flights.

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: MEA-707
Posted 2007-10-22 01:02:42 and read 2631 times.

There are more examples of airplanes which only sold in certain regions of the world and not elsewhere. While the Martin 404 was reasonable popular in the USA, none ever flew in Asia, Africa or Europe. The competiting Convair propliners though were equably popular everywhere.
But the way the C-46 spread out is indeed amazing. They were all over the USA and most of the latin American region in the decades past WWII but so few ended up anywhere else like Europe. I think partially it's just coincidence. First, the USAF had the C-46 in their operations in Asia and the America's but none or few in Europe, so unlike the C-47, there were no maintenance facilities and parts yet in Europe after WWII.
Then, probably the dealers of WWII surplus C-46s were more focussed on the Latin market. Maybe they were Hispanics and just felt dealing with Colombia, Bolivia etc. was easier. The direct land connection also saved the hassle of difficult overwater ferry flights. And with some sheep over the bridge, Latin operators felt more experienced with the C-46 and continued to buy and deal in C-46s while it was a bit overlooked in Europe where experience in maintaining C-46s wasn't there in the first place. Also, I imagine 'style' was more important in Europe and the DC-3 was a nice acceptable airliner for European flag carriers. In Latin America, the transport capacity was more important so airlines there chose the ungainly C-46 instead.

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: CV990
Posted 2007-10-22 01:53:23 and read 2598 times.

Hi!

Thanks a lot for your feed back. Regarding your words MEA-707 I fully agree with you and I think there's also a relevant point, the fact that it was in some way "easier" to fly C-46's down south to Latin America than to fly them over "The Pond". After the WWII there were many C-47's in Europe, I remember for example TAP got them from the USAAF depots in Europe and I've seen a photo of the first TAP C-47, CS-TDA with full USAAF camouflage and portuguese registration.
Another valid point, I think, is the fact that looks that the C-47 was more "pilot friendly" than the C-46, a more like a "beast" airplane!
Regards

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: Dstc47
Posted 2007-10-22 05:30:45 and read 2500 times.

If I recall correctly, the USAAF mainly used the C46 in the Pacific Theatre in WWII and not at all in Europe - the C47 was queen of the skies here in Europe and at the end of the war a goodly number of low time C47's passed into the hands of the European airlines for low prices. They were very popular with previous military pilots returning from war service too, many of them had prior experience of this aircraft and were rated for it.

The C46 was always a rare beast here in Europe and its reputation, gained in Asia and over the Hump, and repeated second hand for indifferent single engine performance, compared to the C47 /DC3 perhaps worked against it too.

Lufthansa cargo services, were if memory still works, operated by Capitol Airlines C46's which had German registration marks assigned. True European C46's were very rare.

Topic: RE: The Curtiss C-46 Not Very Popular In Europe.
Username: CV990
Posted 2007-10-22 06:21:15 and read 2464 times.

Hi!

Dstc47 thanks also for you insight! I would like you to notice something unique in the C-46, look to these two pictures:


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Photo © Mel Lawrence
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Photo © Ralph Kunadt



If you look to the first C-46 you can find that the window arrangement was different from the second one...this one was the usual one, but in the first picture you can see that at one point Curtiss changed the window cockpit arrangement, more like a civil aviation style, this version of the C-46, the C-46E was very unique and I know that Taiwan Air Force received them and also USAF, there are not many pictures of this special version but I was able to get at least this picture.
Regards


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