The C-123 began in 1949, as a design for an all-metal cargo glider from Chase Aircraft. It was designed from the beginning to be easily converted to a powered cargo aircraft and the first powered prototype flew in October 1949. Chase Aircraft produced five flight testing aircraft before difficulties within the company resulted in the Air Force canceling the contract with them and turning further development and production of the aircraft over to Fairchild in June 1953. A total of 302 C-123Bs were produced for the U.S. Air Force. In the late 1960s, 183 Providers were converted to C-123K status by the addition of two General Electric J85 turbojet engines under the wings. These aircraft served until the early 1980s. Surplus Providers were converted to aerial fire fighters and fought forest fires throughout the Western U.S. until the early 1990s.
Ryan Air Attack, Hemet, California, 1989
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