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10 September 1944

The Fairchild C-82 Packet made its first flight on this day in 1944

The Twin-Boom and Twin -Engined cargo and troop transporter was only used for 4 years by the US Army Air Forces. between 1944 and 1948. The name "Packet" was chosen as tribute to the packet boats that carried goods al over the world in the 18th and 19th century. Its design was intended as a heavy-lift successor to the illustrious Douglas C-47 Dakota and the Curtiss C-46 Commando. Initially the design called for an non-critical material construction as not to interfere with the war effort and waste precious materials for frontline aircraft. However in 1943 the requirements changed to an all metal aircraft.

The C-82 was designed as a multi role aircraft, it was intended to full fill several mission roles;

  • Cargo transport

  • Troop transport

  • Parachute drop

  • Medivac

  • Glider towing

To facilitate this the aircraft had an loading ramp in the rear fuselage, it also had a twin tail configuration that allowed trucks to back up to the aircraft because of its 14 feet (4.3 meters) tail section.

After completion of the test program, with only one prototype, the production aircraft found their way to the transport squadrons between 1945 and 1948.

Nearly immediately after delivery of the first aircraft problems became apparent during operational flights.

The aircraft was underpowered for its heavy-lift missions. Fairchild was challenged

innthis shortcoming and came up with a redesign, the XC-820B which was intended to become the C-82B There would be 11 different versions designed, with all different purposes;

  1. XC-82, one built Prototype

  2. C-82A Packet, 220 built Initial production version

  3. EC-82A, one converted from C-82A This version was fitted with a tracked undercarriage designed by Firestone.

  4. XC-82B, one converted from C-82A Fitted with Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial this was the prototype for the C-82B

  5. C-82N, 3 built out of a 1000 order, 997 cancelled North America Aviation built C-82A

  6. Stewart-Davis Jet-Packet 1600, 1 converted 1956 civil version with 1600 lb thrust Westinghouse J30-W turbojet engine in a pod on top of the fuselage

  7. Stewart-Davis Jet-Packet 3200, 1 converted Like the Stewart-Davis Jet-Packet 1600, but now with two J30W engines. Converted in 1957

  8. Jet-Packet 3400, 4 converted 1962 conversion of the C-82A with Westinghouse J34-WE-34 or J30-WE-36 booster engine

  9. Steward -Davis Jet Packey II, 3 converted Three Jet Packet aircraft were modified by an airframe weight reduction program and the installation of P&W R-2800CB-16 engines.

  10. Steward-Davis Skytruck I, one converted A 1964 modification, giving the aircraft a 60.00 lb (27.000 kg) MTOW, better performance and a de-icing system (hot-air)

  11. Steward-Davis Skypallet, one converted Redesigned cargo floor and installed internal cargo hoist.

A Jet-Packet with the additional engine on top of the fuselage

Specifications of a C-82A in military use: General characteristics

  • Crew: three

  • Capacity: 42 troops or 34 stretchers

  • Length: 77 ft 1 in (23.50 m)

  • Wingspan: 106 ft 5.5 in (32.46 m)

  • Height: 26 ft 4 in (8.03 m)

  • Wing area: 1,400 sq ft (130.1 m2)

  • Empty weight: 32,500 lb (14,773 kg)

  • Max takeoff weight: 54,000 lb (24,545 kg)

  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-85 radials, 2,100 hp (1,567 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 248 mph (399 km/h, 216 kn) at 17,500 ft (5,300 m)

  • Cruise speed: 218 mph (351 km/h, 190 kn) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)

  • Range: 3,875 mi (6,239 km, 3,370 nmi)

  • Service ceiling: 21,200 ft (6,460 m)

  • Rate of climb: 950 ft/min (4.8 m/s

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