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Calling all Gunship nuts! Plus; Need some advice on Amodel's AC-123K...

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  • Member since
    April 2009
Posted by gmat on Thursday, September 23, 2010 2:26 AM

The USAF had one or two C-123B/Ks (in camo with no tail codes) stationed in Korea in the early 70s and I think that they were turned over to the Koreans later. The ROKAF also received ex AK ANG C-123Js with the wing tip jet pods. I shot one at McCord in 1977, broke while trying to go to Korea. 

I agree that I doesn't make sense to demod the nose, but the NC-123Ks also didn't stay long in the boneyard. Bob Archer's US Military Aviation: The Air Force says that the two NC-123Ks were transferred to Cambodia and were noted by Sep. 73.

The USCG had a WX radar installed in the noses of their C-123Bs, used to support the LORAN stations in the Western Pacific. It is similar to the radomes added to the USMC C-119s. I believe that one showed up at the boneyard in camo with the TH tail code. It was apparently were used as a support bird with the Reserve F-105 unit at Carswell. Others ex-USCG C-123Bs served with the 302nd TAW, at Rickenbacker and also at Pittsburgh. I would guess that they had the jet pods added when serving with the USAF. 

Best wishes,

Grant

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by Diogenes on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 10:35 PM

The C-123B/K did not have a wx radar.  Supposedly, the nose plate, a six inch diameter plate over the nose where a radar would have gone, covered up the ring used to tow it as a glider, the CG-20.  This would not have been too outlandish since it might have been more expensive to engineer it out of the production version than to just keep buying rings and installing them.  Who knows, the engineering may have indicated that the weight and balance might have been affected.

Same concept used on the ROKAF F-5E's and the Combat Skyspot apparatus.  Even though the ground stations were never set up, it was easier to leave the stuff in place.  Go figure.

 

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by edlmann on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 6:49 PM

edlmann
 ikar01:

A 123 gunship in the P.I.

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0218.jpg

Not an AC-123 or NC-123.  Note the absence of a radome.

One of the still-held secrets of the war, though.  For a hint, google first flight nha trang

gmat

I had thought that, too, but the Nha Trang First Flight C-123s had a donkey d*ck RHAW antenna above the cockpit. This one doesn't. I believe by the time that Ikar shot the photo, the NC-123Ks had lost the nose radome and had been given to the Thais. They kept the special paint scheme that both types shared. I believe that I've seen a better photo where you can see the tail number and demodded nose.

I think I saw this bird on the flight line at Clark ca. Nov - Dec 1973.  I was there for six weeks after we unit-moved to Clark from CCK.  My impression at the time was NOT Blackspot.

I kind of doubt that anyone would have rebuilt the nose of the fuselage to standard C-123 configuration - a lot of work for no apparent reason.  There are AC-123K pics out there with the ball turret removed, but this was a ferrying configuration.

I've seen more than one source saying that the birds were reconfigured to standard configuration and transferred to Thailand.  With the ball turret removed the weather radar would still work and why go to all the work?  When the Fulton Recovery equipment was removed from the Rescue HC-130H/P birds, they left the elongated nose to avoid redoing the airframe.

I've had no reason to doubt the Thailand story, but I did see this in "Praetorian Starship" regarding the MC-130.  On page 163, there's a discussion of using MC-130s off the coast of Korea to track boats landing infiltrators.  It says, in part, "In a message from 314th AD on 15 September 1975, the 1st SOS was asked to begin Commando Talon operations as an interim capability until ROK Air Force FLIR-equipped AC-123 aircraft were modified and made available to perform the mission."

ROKAF AC-123s?  WTF?

  • Member since
    April 2009
Posted by gmat on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 5:21 PM

I had thought that, too, but the Nha Trang First Flight C-123s had a donkey d*ck RHAW antenna above the cockpit. This one doesn't. I believe by the time that Ikar shot the photo, the NC-123Ks had lost the nose radome and had been given to the Thais. They kept the special paint scheme that both types shared. I believe that I've seen a better photo where you can see the tail number and demodded nose. 

Hope that you are fine, Ikar.

Best wishes,

Grant

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by Diogenes on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:09 PM

Should have added that the 606th SOS flew C-123K's and a couple of demodded UC-123K's, former spray birds.  The Black Spot AC-123K was very different aircraft and operated by the Spooks.  The only armament carried by the C-123K's was to take the 'chutes out of the flares and use them as 'ground burners'.  One Nav had been a bombardier in WWII, he thought this was especially great fun.

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by Diogenes on Wednesday, September 22, 2010 4:05 PM

Candlestick was the call sign of the 606th SOS at NKP.  Initially, in 1968, they dropped flares in support of ground operations in Barrel Roll and Steel Tiger.  Later, they began FAC operations, principally in the Steel Tiger zone against truck traffic on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.  Crew was seven, Aircraft Commander/FAC, co-pilot, Table Nav, Scope Nav, Flight Engineer, Load Master and Flare Kicker.  Squadron shut down in the summer of '71.  Aircraft turned over to the Thai Air Force.  Some were used in the Mel Gibson movie, Air America.

Flares were rarely used with other aircraft in the area.  The poor air quality gave the effect of operating under a hugh dome.  Plus, the bad guys could pick out the strike aircraft more easily.  By 1970, we used marks or ground burning flares in either red or green, year around, not just the holidays.

Operations in Barrel Roll were mostly around the Plain des Jarres, aka Plain of Jars or PDJ. We provided flare support to various friendlies against bad guy night operations.  Occasionally, VR'd (Visual Recce) for trucks up Route 62 toward Sam Neua. 

Want to know any more?

Diogenes

 

 

 

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Monday, September 6, 2010 10:28 PM

I sit corrected about the 123 photo.  I took it as I was at the bottom of the boarding steps for a freedom bird back to the states.  We would holdover one night at Clark A.B. on our way to and from S.E.A..

The Air Force credits the way a gunship attacks with its tilted attitude to a missionary who would deliver mail to isolated tribes by lowering a bucket on a rope and orbiting while the people on the ground would empty and refill it.  I used to have a couple articles on it somewhere.

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by edlmann on Monday, September 6, 2010 8:03 PM

ikar01

A 123 gunship in the P.I.

http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc4/ikar_photos/ikar_photos%202/scan0218.jpg

Not an AC-123 or NC-123.  Note the absence of a radome.

One of the still-held secrets of the war, though.  For a hint, google first flight nha trang

 

 

 

  • Member since
    September 2010
Posted by edlmann on Monday, September 6, 2010 7:51 PM

ikar01
When I was going through loadmaster school many moons ago one of our instructors showed us a couple photos of the inside of a 123 gunship.  Compared to the Spectre it was very simple looking with some I.R. equipment inside and a hole in the cargo floor where a tall bin would be rolled over it and their load of CBUs would fall through.

My psychic powers tell me you went to LM school at Sheppard in 75-76.  Instructor was a young TSgt who would emphasize a point by walking on the tables.

Am I warm?

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Saturday, May 16, 2009 7:48 AM

Oh,sorry.  I'm assuming from the bold print I have offended you.  My apologies.Ashamed [*^_^*]  I am not dissapointed at all!  Those pictures were awesome!

Cheers,

-Red 

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Friday, May 15, 2009 7:54 PM

Hey Red13Bar,

I hate to disappoint you but I never made it completely through load school.  I ended up going back to being a cop.  I left that after 10 years and two tours in S.E.A..

  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Posted by ipmsfl on Friday, May 15, 2009 6:57 PM
 didfaI wrote:

Does the name "Candle Stick" come to mind when you mention C-123K's?Pirate [oX)]

Out of NKP illuminating the HCM Trail for Operation Sky Spot Zorros in Laos '68/69.Censored [censored]

Boy! Do I remember "Candle Stick!"  There I was, during the Vietnam War hanging out on an EC-130 flight deck one ultra dark night.  We were flying at around 20,000 feet up and down the central part of Laos and still had several more hours of it to go.  

The pilots thought I would be fun to show the "non-rated" guy just how dark it could get with the cockpit lights turned off.  (Do you know you literally can't see your hand at the end of your nose without ambient light?)  I was looking out the cockpit windows trying to see anything at all. 

I certainly was looking in the wrong place because all of a sudden, a Candle Stick dropped one of those 50 gazillion candle power flares about a mile away from our position and I was looking directly at it.  I swore that I'd just stared into the sun at high noon on the summer solstice.  Damn!  It was bright! 

Someone had to help me down the ladder back to the cargo bay because I couldn't see.  Imagine if someone took a flash picture of you and the flash was at the end of your nose and then multiply it by 100!  Somethings you never forget!

Ed R. Special Operations Any time, any place
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Friday, May 15, 2009 10:29 AM

didfal, thank you for your service to your country. 

This is really neat!  Are there any stories or memoirs you could share?  Candle ops craft usually worked with gunsghips, didn't they? 

Thanks again,

-Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Vallejo, CA
Posted by didfaI on Thursday, May 14, 2009 1:55 PM
Call Sign: Blackcat 5Niner or Candle 5Niner, depending on mission.  Most out of NKP, Thailand.Pirate [oX)]
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:28 PM

ipmsfl, thanks for the info!  This will be good background for the paper!

Cheers,

-Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Thursday, May 14, 2009 12:27 PM

Yes I've heard of Candlestick.  They were the flareships, right?

Are you saying you were part of a crew?  If so, that is awesome! 

Cheers,

-Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    December 2005
  • From: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Posted by ipmsfl on Thursday, May 7, 2009 7:38 AM

With all of the gunship discussion here, I thougth the following information would be of interest.  It turns out, the US Air Force did not invent the gunship concept.

--------------------

GUNSHIPS - THE EARLY DAYS

A lot of us are under the misconception that the U.S. Air Force invented the gunship. As much as I wish it were so, that ain't the way it happened.

The earliest reference I've found to gunships dates to 1916 and the Germans during World War I. A German officer, Lt. Ernst Neuber, came up with the idea of using a 130mm cannon mounted vertically in an R-plane (VGO.II) to attack ships and other surface targets because bombing was too inaccurate.

On 25 May 1916, he began static tests to determine if the airframe could tolerate the stresses of firing such a large cannon. On 6 October of that year, the gun was installed in the bomber, mounted near the airplane's center of gravity.  Ground testing revealed that everything worked perfectly just at Lt. Neuber had predicted.

Actually hitting something while in flight proved a bit more of a problem.  Tests on 19 October at an altitude of about 2,400 feet resulted in misses on the order of 150 feet. Hitting a moving ground target from a moving plane was not quite as easy as it appeared.

The Germans were impressed with the idea however, and were working on a 105mm cannon that could fire 20 rounds per minute and a new aircraft to carry it. Unfortunately (or fortunately - depending on which side you were on), the war ended before it could be placed into production.

By the early 1930's the French were convinced they had "invented" the gunship. It was in the form of the Bordelaise A.B. 22 aircraft. The twist here was that it was a side-mounted cannon. Specifically the famed 75mm cannon (Schneider type P.D. 12 bis). This setup was more like what we see on the modern AC-130U gunship with the gunner being able to make small adjustments to bring the cannon to bear on the target. The French airplane was "draggy" with lots of things hanging off it to slow it down and its engines were barely adequate. It would have made a juicy target for the Luftwaffe at the beginning of World War II.

It would be another 30 years or so before the gunship was invented - again.

Sources:

"An Example of WWI R&D: Aircraft Gunships," Command Magazine, Issue 33, Mar-Apr 1995, pp. 26-27.

Boyne, Walt, "Gallic Gunship The Flying French Seventy-Five," Wings magazine Volume 12, No. 3 June 1983, pp. 40-45.

 

Ed R. Special Operations Any time, any place
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Vallejo, CA
Posted by didfaI on Wednesday, May 6, 2009 9:51 AM

Does the name "Candle Stick" come to mind when you mention C-123K's?Pirate [oX)]

Out of NKP illuminating the HCM Trail for Operation Sky Spot Zorros in Laos '68/69.Censored [censored]

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Saturday, May 2, 2009 8:53 PM

Here's some photos of Spectre, both the "A" and "H" models from Korat.

A 123 gunship in the P.I.

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Thursday, April 30, 2009 10:26 AM

WarHammer, I just received that book myself!  Awesome stuff in there...  I've been reading it so much nowadays the cover has already fallen off! 

Eventually I will post pics of the NC-123K on a different thread...  A WIP maybe?

Cheers,

Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: North Carolina
Posted by WarHammer25 on Thursday, April 30, 2009 6:33 AM

Red,

I would recommend getting Squadron's book on gunships if you can find it anywhere. I got it a few years ago and it is a very informative book. Squadron doesn't have it cataloged anymore though. It has all the Vietnam era gunships; AC-47, AC-130, AC-119, NC/AC-123, the Navy's Ho Chi Minh Trail gunships, OV-10D, and some smaller aircraft that are slipping my mind right now. If you need any info at all, fell free to ask and I will see what I have on the subject.

The only easy day was yesterday - U.S. Navy Seals
  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 8:30 PM

Yeah, so I've noticed.

I've started the build already.  Fuselage together; no cockpit; couldn't see it anyway...

Cheers,

-Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    June 2006
  • From: Sunny Califorina
Posted by Sherman1111 on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:58 AM
Amodel kits are tough to build, but they have subjucts than no one else has. just take your time and you will end up with a nice kit.
  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:14 AM
Red. I have quite a bit on Specter, especially Vietnam stuff. Most is in books,a nd some magazine stuff too. I will get some stuff heading your way in the near future.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 8:17 AM

Stik, anything you got on the spooky and spectre (Project Gunships 1&2) would be great.  However, I do need all the publisher, author, and copyright info for each bit so I can properly cite them in an essay and works cited (bibliography). Thanks!  Pictures, blueprints, and pilot accounts would be very helpful, but anything else you think I should see would be helpful as well.

Really?  I truly thought it was designated an AC-...  I have done some of my own research on Black spot.  Amazing track record for a couple of test-beds!

Thanks guys!

-Red

EDIT:

Ikar, do you have some of those pics?  If you don't, do you think you could find them?  An account from a veteran loadmaster would be cool as well...only if you want to!

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
  • Member since
    January 2009
Posted by F-8fanatic on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 6:52 AM
It actually was called NC-123K, though most people called it AC-123K.  There were only two made, and the project was called Black Spot.  They werre only used for about two years in Vietnam, but were hugely successful.  Even then, they were converted back to regular transports, the only thing showing their history was the wrap-around camo pattern that they still wore after being converted back to C-123K configuration.  The two aircraft were #54-691 and #54-698
  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Orlando, Florida
Posted by ikar01 on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 11:13 PM
When I was going through loadmaster school many moons ago one of our instructors showed us a couple photos of the inside of a 123 gunship.  Compared to the Spectre it was very simple looking with some I.R. equipment inside and a hole in the cargo floor where a tall bin would be rolled over it and their load of CBUs would fall through.

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:29 PM
Red 13 just fire away and I will start looking up what you want. I have some pretty good stuff on the various Specters and some other odds and ends on the Shadow, Stinger and Spooky.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
    June 2008
  • From: Appleton, WI
Posted by Red13Bar on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 7:46 PM

Warhammer, yes it's true, no guns.  But CBU's...lots of hellish CBU's...(shudder)Dead [xx(]  Awesome looking plane though...

stikpusher: Anything you got would be great!Big Smile [:D]

bigfoot:  Well, then, the putty fumes and sandpaper dust will eat at my brain until I finish it...I WILL NOT BE CONQUERED! MUAHAHAHA!Big Smile [:D]

Thanks guys,

Red

"All Gault planes, begin the operation. Let the victor...be justice." -Anton 'Dr.' Kupchenko Photobucket
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