Curtiss C-76 Caravan

             In 1941, The Curtiss received an Army contract for the design and construction of a military transport made of wood. Like many aircraft built in the US at the time, it was part of a series produced as a prototype to develop manufacturing techniques for a new generation aircraft of woodcraft as a safe policy against a possible lack of aluminum alloys. The initial contract provided for 11 YC-76 pre-series aircraft built from the mid-size twin-engine Curtiss CW-27, which resembled the Curtiss Commando.

             The biggest difference was in the wings, installed on the fuselage of the Caravan, unlike the C-46. The landing gear was retractable tricycle, the two piston engines were installed on the wings, and could carry 23 people, including the crew.

             The first YC-76 made its inaugural flight on January 1, 1943, and the original contract followed orders for five C-76 series and nine modified YC-76A for in-service testing, all delivered in 1943. Production was completed when it became clear that a serious shortage of aluminum alloys was unlikely, and the 175 C-76A ordered were canceled.

Photos: wikimedia, RC Groups.

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