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Fairchild M-78 / C-82 Packet

Steward-Davis Skytruck I / Skypallet



For a US Army requirement of 1941 for a specialised military freighter, Fairchild began work on the design of its Fairchiid F-78. Following approval of the design and a mock-up in 1942, a contract for a single prototype was awarded and the designation XC-82 allocated.

The XC-82 was a cantilever high-wing monoplane of all-metal construction, the fuselage incorporated a flight deck for a crew of five and a large-capacity cabin/cargo hold with clamshell doors at the rear to provide easy access for wheeled ortracked vehicles. The rear doors could be removed completely for the deployment of heavy loads by parachute extraction techniques, could accommodate 78 persons for emergency evacuation, 42 fully-equipped paratroopers or 34 stretches.

The undercarriage was a retractable tricycle and power was two 1566kW Pratt & Whitney R-2800-34 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial engines in wing-mounted nacelles. Extending aft from these nacelles were tail-booms carrying twin fins and rudders and united at the rear by the tailplane mounting a single elevator.

First flown on 10 September 1944, the US Army Air Force placed an initial contract for 100 C-82A aircraft, named Packet. The first were delivered for evaluation in 1945 and a contract for 100 more followed.

Because of wartime demands a second production line was laid down by North American Aviation at Dallas, Texas, but from a contract for 792 C-82N only three were completed as North American NA-135 before the contract cancellations that followed VJ Day. Fairchild eventually built a total of 220 with deliveries ending in 1948.




The Packet serviced to the USAF's Tactical Air Command and Military Air Transport Service until it was retired in 1954.

During 1947 Fairchiid developed an improved version of the C-82, the XC-82B prototype being a conversion from a production C-82A. It differed primarily by having the flight deck resited into the nose of the aircraft and the installation of 1976kW Pratt & Whitney R-4360-4 Wasp Major 28-cylinder radial engines. Following service tests it was further modified and ordered into production as the C-119B Flying Boxcar.


In 1964 Steward-Davis Inc converted C-82A N74127 to a Skytruck I with higher weights, performance, and hot-air de-icing system. The MTOW increased to 60,000 lb.

The 1965 Steward-Davis Inc Skypallet was a C-82A design with the fuselage floor separating from the aircraft from nose to tail for large cargoes, and fitted with an internal hoist. One was converted; N4828V.

Engines; 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, 1566kW
Wingspan; 32.46 m / 106 ft 6 in
Length; 23.5 m / 77 ft 1 in
Height; 8.03 m / 26 ft 4 in
Loaded weight; 24300 kg / 53573 lb
Max. speed; 400 km/h / 249 mph
Cruise speed; 260 km/h / 162 mph
Ceiling; 8000 m / 26250 ft
Range w/max.fuel; 3400 km / 2113 miles
Crew; 5
Payload; 78 passangers or 42 paratroopers




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