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Old 26th February 2020, 01:49
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

Picture from a Balboa HS Yearbook showing a USAF transport flying over BHS prior to landing at Albrook AFB. I think the picture is that of a C-74? Can anyone verify this?

Last edited by kaki3152; 12th April 2020 at 22:40.
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Old 2nd March 2020, 12:56
Leendert Leendert is offline
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Re: USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

Likely. MATS had a scheduled service between Brookley AFB, AL, and Albrook AFB, Panama with C-74s.

Regards,
Leendert
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Old 3rd March 2020, 14:17
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

Thanks Leendert
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Old 4th March 2020, 13:58
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

Once in operational use, C-74s began to be used on scheduled MATS overseas routes though the late 1940s and mid-1950s:[554 ABU Sq]. There were only 14 built and one was used as the prototype for the C-124.

"Panamanian", between Brookley AFB, Alabama and Albrook AFB, Panama
"Puerto Rican", between Brookley AFB and Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico
"Hawaiian", between Brookley AFB and Hickam AFB, Hawaii, with a stop at Fairfield-Suisun (later Travis) AFB, California.
"Johnathan", between Brookley AFB, Kelly AFB, Texas; McClellan AFB, California; McChord AFB, Washington, and Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.
Brookley AFB and Casablanca-Anfa Airport, French Morocco; Wheelus Air Base, Libya
Brookley AFB and Keflavik Airport, Iceland; RAF Manston, England.
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Old 5th March 2020, 12:16
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is online now
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Re: USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

A few points Kaki

The base unit you mention (554th at Memphis) was deactivated sometime in October 1946. The four aircraft delivered were transferred to Morrison Field, West Palm Beach, FL and handled by 1103rd BU. Now these base units are a bit tricky and they are not the actual AAF Squadrons which flew them. A BU was as the name suggests assigned to a base and it handled all the aircraft assigned to that base. Anyway the transfer was finished by October 15th when all the ground personal had been transferred.
At this point I actually believe the unit was simply known as the C-74 Squadron (The "Second C-74 Squadron" was not activated until shortly after New Year 1947).
The assignment of flights into Albrook Field, Panama was taken on 6 Jan 1947 with two weekly flights. the first being made already on 7 Jan.

True units were formed on 14 March 1947 when both 21st and 22nd Air Transport Squadrons (ATS) were activated within the 2nd ATG. Both Squadrons were quickly re-designated 31st and 32nd ATS on 7 May 1947.

The C-74 was a problematic aircraft since it had its share of engine-problems, and was in fact found to be too heavy for most bases, making it a bit restricted where it could move. Staff was not yet really capable of thinking "big" meaning loading and offloading took far too long simply because they lacked equipment and enough personal. A funny point was that while on the ground it could not be parked more than 24 hours on a single place since it was too heavy for its own tyres and had to be rolled a little bit.

In 1948 when MATS was created a totally different structure was taken on. BU were now assigned ATG status and the two C-74 Squadrons were re-designated again. But that is a different story...

The routes you mention are probably correct, even if I would say the C-74 units flew everywhere they were assigned to go, so much more places than those you list.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 5th March 2020, 21:42
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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Re: USAF Transport overflying Balboa High School, Panama

What I find interesting is that they were using Albrook AFB to land such a large plane with only a runway length of 5900 Feet. I guess Howard AFB was not operational at this time. Later, B-50s and C-124s also used ALbrook AFB.
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