'Boxcar' bid

The Hagerstown Aviation Museum wants to buy last Fairchild C-82 in flying condition

The Hagerstown Aviation Museum wants to buy last Fairchild C-82 in flying condition

August 12, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A historic aircraft may fly back into Hagerstown if the Hagerstown Aviation Museum can raise an estimated $200,000 to buy it at auction Aug. 23.

During World War II, the C-82 planes were designed and manufactured in Hagerstown as cargo planes. The C-82 was the first plane ordered by the military specifically for cargo, said Kurtis Meyers, the museum's president.

The inner dimensions match those of a train car, and the plane became known as a "flying boxcar," Meyers said.

During the war years, 223 C-82 planes were built in Hagerstown. Now, only three remain, Meyers said. The rest either were used by the military for testing or scrapped.

Two of the last three are housed in museums, Meyers said.

Only the plane being auctioned remains in flying condition.

It was part of a private collection, Meyers said.

Meyers said the last available C-82 should return to Hagerstown.


"There are still thousands of people living in Hagerstown that helped build it," Meyers said.

The C-82 was built by Fairchild Aircraft, which also manufactured the next version of the military cargo plane, the C-119.

During its heyday in the 1950s, Fairchild Aircraft employed more than 10,000 people in Hagerstown.

Meyers said that many of those people are on a mailing list and have donated money to the auction fund.

"I hope it will be enough," he said.

Auctions are difficult to predict, and the museum does not know who else might want the C-82 or how much it might be worth because one hasn't been sold in more than 30 years, Meyers said.

Meyers and museum treasurer John Seburn are traveling to Wyoming for the auction.

The plane up for auction last was flown in 2001.

If the museum does purchase it, a minimal amount of work has to be done to get it back in flying condition so it can make its last flight back home, Meyers said.

To donate ...

Donations to help buy the last available C-82 cargo plane, which was built at Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown, may be made by calling John Seburn, treasurer of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, at 717-597-9695. Donations are being accepted through Aug. 18.

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