The Fairchild C-123 "Provider" was originally designed as a glider by Chase Aircraft just before the end of World War II, but was then re-designed as a propeller driven transport aircraft. Later, the manufacturing contract was awarded to Fairchild Aircraft and production began in 1954.
The C-123 was renowned for its incredible ability to take off from and land on perilously short unimproved airstrips. It was originally powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 radial engines, but later during the Vietnam War, two J85 turbojets were added to the wings which resulted in much improved takeoff performance in the hot steamy climate of Southeast Asia.
Our aircraft is itself a Vietnam veteran, serving with USAF Special Ops (315th SOG), and after the war served with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in Pittsburgh. "Provider 674" eventually retired from Air Force inventory but was later involved in the Iran Contra affair in the 1980's.
During the mid 1990's the aircraft returned to the United States, but was rarely flown and soon fell into disrepair and abuse. The Air America Foundation rescued the aircraft from demolition in 2001, and has been restoring and preserving the aircraft since.
In the future we hope to acquire other aircraft typical of what was flown by Air America. These would include but not be limited to...DHC Caribous, PC-6C Porters, Helio Couriers, Douglas C47's, Douglas C46's, Beech 18's and Sikorsky S-58t's.
Most Air America aircraft were STOL (Short Takeoff And Land) aircraft due to the mountainous terrain and hostile conditions in Laos and Southeast Asia.