Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Color Photographs Part IV

All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.

A fine photograph of a C-46A in natural metal, with OD / NG camouflaged aircraft in the background. The national insignia became standardized with the insignia blue border in August 1943, the transition from OD / NG to natural metal occurring late in the same year.

A C-46A in flight wearing the red bordered national insignia which was authorized briefly during the summer of 1943.

A beautiful “glamor shot” of a NMF finish C-46A leading another in camo.

A standard International farm tractor in service as an aircraft tug, perhaps he should secure the boarding ladder before attempting to move the aircraft?

A line-up of C46D’s and P-40N’s outside of the Curtiss factory for a presentation ceremony to highlight production for the Press. This appears to coincide with the transition from Olive Drab to natural metal finish as evidenced by the P-40’s.

An interesting perspective of a C-46D. Wheel hubs were left in natural metal, even on camouflaged aircraft.

A line-up of C-46E’s. Note the barred national insignia is carried on the underside of the starboard wing, a quick way of determining if the image has been reversed. Also, the insignia is painted perpendicular to the fuselage, not parallel to the leading edge of the wing.

The C-46E differed from other Commandoes by having “stepped” cockpit glazing which makes them resemble the Douglas C-47 Dakota. Other differences are the three-bladed props and fuller wingtip contours.

A fine study of a C-46E from the nose. The “double bubble” fuselage shape was a Curtiss innovation and is still in use on airliner designs today.

Seventeen C-46E’s were produced, but they never left the continental United States and were declared surplus at the end of the war. All were purchased by Slick Airways which provided cargo services for the oil industry. Slick purchased the brand-new aircraft for the princely sum of $14,530 apiece.

Part I here: