World War II Aircraft Which Crashed in The Himalayas Is Discovered 77 Years Later
There have been many accounts of aircraft crashes throughout history. While most have been fortunately found, some unfortunate aircrafts are still missing, even years after going missing. In this case, a C-46 World War II aircraft that was transporting people from Kunming in southern China seemingly crashed on the mountainous terrain in Arunachal Pradesh. Decades after the incident, the aircraft was found and identified by its tail number.
1A storm was responsible for the aircraft crashing
One week into 1945, a storm in Arunachal Pradesh’s mountainous stretch caused the C-46 transport aircraft carrying 13 people from Kunming in southern China to crash in the area. Now, nearly 80 years after it crashed and left no survivors, this World War II plane has been found in India’s remote Himalayas after a search in the dangerous high-altitude terrain.
2The aircraft was a C-46 Commando hailed as the world’s largest twin-engine airplane of its time
Curtiss Calamity, Flying Whale, Ol’ Dumbo, and Miss Piggy have all been used to describe C-46 aircraft. As a result, the C-46 Commando was regarded as the world’s largest twin-engine aircraft at the time of its maiden flight. To fly a C-46, one had to deal with 20 to 26 tons of aluminum and steel, depending on the type and the modifications.
3Flying a C-46 was said to be a difficult task
C-46 pilots once claimed that if you could fly a C-46, you could fly any plane. Others derided it as a terrible ‘ground looping sonofabitch’ and refused to engage in any further conversation about it. This could’ve been one reason why the flight didn’t fare so well in the storm. But then again, weather conditions have been responsible for causing engine failures and damage to even the most sophisticated aircrafts, ultimately resulting in them crashing.
4C-46s started being used as cargo and passenger carriers during the late 1940s and 1950s
When the C-46 was first conceived, Curtiss intended it to be a pressurized luxury aircraft with adequate range to fly nonstop between New York City and Chicago, regardless of the weather conditions that might arise along the way. The company’s marketing team predicted a 24- to 36-seat’ sub-stratosphere conveyance’ with the option of crosswise sleeping chambers. However, it would not be a true airliner if it were to be pressurized, opulent, or even fly at all. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, nonscheduled cargo and passenger carriers operated hundreds of war surplus Commandos at best.
5During WWII, C-46 aircrafts became the most preferred freight aircrafts used for resupplying the Chinese forces
When the Japanese closed the Burma Road in World War II, the C-46 was the only high-altitude, heavy load freight aircraft available to airlift supplies to Chiang Kai Shek’s -forces via the “Hump” route from China to Burma and India. The four-engine C-54 became the preferred airlifter when the Japanese retreat provided a lower-altitude Hump route to the C-47s, which were doing heroic work traversing what Hump pilots termed the Rockpile. However, during the peak years of the resupply route, C-46s were responsible for most of the Hump-topping.