Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Color Photographs Part III – Exterior Details

All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.

21C46_Fam_01
Technicians make adjustments to the Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51 radial engine on this C-46A. The inside of the nacelle is in natural metal with stenciling visible.

 

22C46_Fam_03
Another view inside the engine panels, this time on the port engine. The panels locked up out of the way allowing for easy access.

 

23C46_Fam_04
A view from under the nacelle showing the arrangement of cooling slots and cowl flaps. Curtiss engineers located the cowl flaps on the underside of the nacelle so as to not disturb the airflow over the wing and thus reduce lift.

 

24C46_Fam_05
Hydraulic fluid leaking through the fuselage panel seams can be seen in many photos showing the underside of the nose. The streamlined teardrop fairing housed the direction-finding antenna and was commonly called the “football”.

 

25C46A_02
Another staged photograph of troops and Jeeps being loaded into a C-46. This angle gives a good view of the Curtiss Electric four-bladed propellers.

 

26C46A_07
This photograph would be interesting enough just for showing details of the cargo door interior, but what is particularly fascinating is what is being loaded – the nose section of a Sikorsky R-4 helicopter. The R-4 was the world’s first helicopter to enter large-scale production.

 

27C46A_08
This view gives a good impression of the size of the C-46’s vertical stabilizer.

 

28C46A_20
Nice details of engine maintenance, including the configuration of the work stand.

 

29C46A_13
A Curtiss technician on top of the starboard nacelle showing details of the exhaust and cooling arrangement. Exhaust staining and oil spills are weathering opportunities for skilled modelers.

 

30C46E_07
A C-46E showing the Troop Carrier Command logo on the nose. Note the stepped “airliner” windscreen and three-bladed prop of the “E” model.

Curtiss-Wright C-46 Commando Color Photographs Part II – Factory and Interior Photos

All photographs from the NASM Hans Groenhoff collection.

11C46_Prod_01
Curtiss factory technicians posed “at work” for the photographer, giving a good view of the interior structure of the wing. Hundreds of thousands of women worked in the factories during the war, then went home to farm their own food in “Victory Gardens” in their backyards after their shifts.

12C46_Prod_02
A technician works inside the nose of a C-46 while others make adjustments to the port engine. Even at this early stage there is evidence of hydraulic fluid leaking through the fuselage seams under the nose of the aircraft, something commonly seen on Commandos.

13C46_Prod_03
A fuselage taking shape on the factory floor. Modelers should note the different hues of the natural aluminum finish. The forward access door to the lower cargo bay has not been fitted, giving a glimpse into the interior.

14C46_Prod_04
The port wing assembly is fully painted and marked prior to attachment to the aircraft. This wing is from the first group of C-46’s ordered as evidenced by the red center to the national insignia. The primer on the leading edge of the wing will be covered by a de-icer boot on the finished aircraft.

15C46_Prod_06
A fine overhead view of the forward fuselage at the Curtiss Buffalo NY plant showing the arrangement of antennas and the navigator’s astrodome.

16C46_Prod_07
The spacious cargo compartment of the Commando, looking forward towards the cockpit. Tie-down points are visible on the floor, passenger seats are seen folded along the fuselage sides.

17C46E_Prod_10
A rare contemporary color photograph of the cockpit of a C-46E.

18C46E_Prod_08
Even more rare is this view of the switch panel located on the roof of the cockpit. Note the color coding of the switch groups.

19C46_ProdCere_04
A nice perspective of the production floor which gives an overview of the assembly line. There was constant pressure to shorten production times and improve efficiency for all manner of war materials, often the introduction of design improvements would be postponed to prevent any potential delays in production.

20C46_ProdCere_01
A presentation ceremony outside of the Curtiss plant for three C-46A’s and several P-40 Warhawks. The OD / NG camouflaged aircraft all wear inscriptions saying “City of ___” on their noses, the P-40’s in desert colors lack national insignia and serial numbers.