The 1940s, Europe Theater is in the beginning of the Second World War, the Pacific Theater is being taken over by the Japanese. In the US we are in our peacetime but for the Curtiss Company, the US is introducing the C-46 Commando. Initially ordered in 1940 two were delivered out of the 700. On December 7th 1941, Japan attacked the US thus having us enter World War Two. The C-46 began seeing combat operations in the Pacific Theater. The C-46 began flying vital supplies from India to China via Myanmar, this was known as “The Hump”.
While the C-46 saw service in the European theater it’s counterpart, the C-47 did most of the operational work.
During Operation Varsity a lot of C-46s were lost that the US Army banned them from Airborne operations in Europe.
With the war over, the C-46 entered Civilian service carrying passengers and cargo world wide. While the C-46 saw civilian operation the cost of operation (which is 50% more then the C47/DC3) caused airlines not to operate it. The C-46 again saw war service when Israel bought a fleet in 1948 for their Independence. The Israelis converted the C-46 for bombing operations to drop bombs from the cargo doors on targets. The C-46 again saw war time service in Korea and Vietnam. for various USAF operations, including resupply missions, paratroop drops, and clandestine agent transportation. The C-46 was not officially retired from service with the U.S. Air Force until 1968.
The C-46 continued to serve the CIA in Vietnam and Laos operating as “Air America” and other operations.
The C-46 was also employed in the abortive U.S.-supported the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba in 1961.
An Air America C-46 was the last fixed-wing aircraft flown out of Vietnam (Saigon) at the close of hostilities there. On 29 April 1975, Capt. E. G. Adams flew a 52-seat version, with 152 people on board, to Thailand.
The Republic of China Air Force operated the C-46 up until 1982 at which time it was retired from service.
Although their numbers gradually began to dwindle, C-46s continued to operate in remote locations, and could be seen in service from Canada and Alaska to Africa and South America, One of the largest C-46 operators was Air Manitoba, whose fleet of aircraft featured gaudy color schemes for individual aircraft. In the 1990s, these aircraft were divested to other owner/operators.
Between 1993 and 1995, Relief Air Transport operated three Canadian registered C-46s on Operation Lifeline Sudan from Lokichoggio. Out of the three operating one was lost in Africa. The C-46 still continues to serve through out North America. Everts Air Cargo in Alaska owns the type certificate thus allowing them to build parts and build C-46s if they need.
In 2018 N1822MM “Salmonella” was involved in an accident where it landed with a tailwind thus causing it to crash. Because Everts own the type certificate they have been able to save her she is expected to operate this year.