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'Flying Boxcar' open house is scheduled for Saturday

November 10, 2006

In honor of Veterans Day, the Hagerstown Aviation Museum has scheduled an open house on Saturday for the Fairchild C-82 "Flying Boxcar."

The open house will be from 1 to 4 p.m. at the business location of Hagerstown Aircraft Services at 14235 Oak Springs Road.

The airplane will be open for public tours. Pilots will be on hand to answer questions about the plane's last flight home to Hagerstown, according to Kurtis Meyers, president of the Hagerstown Aviation Museum.

The event and tours are free, but donations for the upkeep of the airplane and for the museum's soon-to-be-announced building project will be accepted.

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The C-82 cargo plane was made at the former Fairchild facility at the Hagerstown Regional Airport, and the last flying C-82 Packet "Flying Boxcar" returned to Hagerstown on Oct. 15.

"If you were unable to attend the last flight, and the return home of the 'Flying Boxcar' on Oct. 15, this will be a great opportunity to come out and see the airplane that helped make Hagerstown and Fairchild famous," Meyers said. "We are offering a special Veterans Day invitation to all service personnel past and present to come out and see this historic military airplane."

The Hagerstown-based Fairchild Corp. built the C-82, the first successful military transport specifically designed to accommodate the post-World War II concept of an all-air Army. The Fairchild C-82 series pioneered the large-scale aerial delivery of military equipment and supplies, and could carry 18,000 pounds of cargo or 42 combat troops.

The prototype first flew on Sept. 10, 1944, with deliveries beginning in 1945. Too late to serve in WWII, several were used in the Berlin Airlift to carry assembled vehicles into the city.

The C-82 Packet, nicknamed the "Flying Boxcar," was retired from the U.S. Air Force inventory in 1954. More than 200 were built, and many later flew for airline companies, including TWA. The Air Force went on to use a similar and more powerful Fairchild-built cargo plane, the C-119 "Flying Boxcar."

For more information about the museum and to see the latest newsletter, go to www.hagerstownaviationmuseum.org. Photos of the C-82 also are available on the Web site.

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