Curtiss C46 Commando

The C46 Commando! An aircraft of vibrant personality…
On the 26th of March, 1940, Curtiss-Wright flew the prototype of the 36-seat commercial airliner. At time of war; the C-46 instantly aroused the interest of the US Army. Its ability to provide cargo transport, casualty evacuation, and troop transport led to the military version; designation C-46 and named Commando. Upon entering service in 1942, these were the largest and heaviest twin engined aircraft to serve with the USAAF and proved to be such as valuable transport in the Pacific theater of operations that well over 3, 000 Commandoes were built before production ended.

The aircraft boasts a large cargo door on the port side of the rear fuselage, a strengthened cargo floor, and folding seats for 40. At time of war Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51 engines replaced the R-2800-43’s. These having better performance at altitude over the Himalayas to China from India, after the loss of the ‘Burma Road’. In the Pacific, the Commando played a significant role in the island-hopping operations which culminated in Japanese surrender. The USAF also employed the C-46’s during the Korean War and in the early stages of hostilities in Vietnam. The aircraft was never equipped with any armament.

The C-46 today:

Take Flight Video Productions proudly delivers the C-46 Commando of today to viewers around the world. Flown and operated by Yellowknife’s Buffalo Airways this aircraft provides food mail and cargo transport along the Mackenzie Valley.


TYPE: Army cargo aircraft with capacity for thirty-six troops with full equipment. First saw service in 1941.

PERIOD BUILT: Production began in 1940; well over 3000 of the type were built.

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: United States of America, The Curtis Airplane Division of the Curtiss Wright Corporation

ENGINE: Two Wright Cyclone Double Row GR-2600-A5-B.


  • Wing span: 108 ft 6 in / 32.91 m
  • Length: 76 ft 4 in / 23.26 m
  • Height: 21 ft 9 in / 6.62 m
  • Fuselage Height: 6 ft 8 in
  • Fuselage Width: 9 ft 1 in
  • Door Sill Height: 8 ft 0 in


  • Maximum Gross Takeoff Weight: 48, 000 lbs
  • Maximum Gross Landing Weight: 48, 000 lbs


“Max speed of 264mph at 13,000ft. Ceiling 26,900ft. Range 1500 miles”

Normal Climb Speed: 130 KIAS (winter) , 140 KIAS (summer)
Vb: 129 KIAS
Maximum Speed for Flaps to _: 117 KIAS
Maximum Speed for Flaps to _: 110 KIAS
Maximum Speed for Flaps to _: 110 KIAS
Maximum Speed for Full: 110 KIAS
Maximum Speed for Landing Gear Extension: 130 KIAS
Holding Speed clean: 120 KIAS
Flap Retraction Speed from 15 to up: 76 KIAS
Maximum Cross wind Limitation: 15 KIAS
Maneuvering Speed: 129 KIAS
Stall Speed Clean: 78 KIAS (48, 000 lbs)
Stall Speed _ Flap: 72 KIAS (48, 000 lbs)
Stall Speed full Flap: 66 KIAS (48, 000 lbs)





  • Crew: 3
  • Payload: 54pax


Visit the Buffalo Airways page to learn more about our new DVD featuring the C46 Commando





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