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A typical C-46 Commando in flight.[1]

The Curtiss C-46 Commando was a cargo and troop transport aircraft that was used by the United States during World War II.


At the time, it was the largest twin engine aircraft in the world, being around 23.25 metres long and nearly 33 metres wide. It was powered by two Pratt and Whitney R-2800-51 Double Wasp engines, propelling it to a top speed of 269 mph and giving it a maximum range of 1,600 miles. The size of its hold allowed it to carry up to 50 troops or 12,500 lbs of cargo. [2]


The Commando was developed from the CW-20 passenger plane, which first flew on March 26, 1940. The US Army became interested in the type for cargo/transport work, and casualty evacuation, due to the large capacity fuselage, and ordered the aircraft into production as the C-46 Commando. The first examples, known to Curtiss as the CW-20B, became the largest and heaviest twin engined aircraft to serve with the USAAF when they entered service in July 1942.[3]


  1. Image from Jeff Lewis Website
  3. World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 891 Sheet 55 (A-Z of Aircraft:C - Curtiss-Wright CW-19 and CW-23 to Curtiss-Wright CW-25 (AT-9 Jeep) )

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