Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yet Another Bird Sighting

Titojohn alerted me to this shot of TDC's C-118 aircraft. I never left Taiwan during my 15 month tour, but many at TDC rode this bird to other shopping meccas like Hong Kong. I sometimes "house sat" for TDC families who were making those trips.

The funny thing is that back in 1963-64, when I was stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, I caught a hop on a C-47 to Taipei for a shopping trip. I was able to get a hop back to Kadena on a C-130 whose pilot and crew had flown to Taipei (on a "training mission" I'm sure). They came to the standby counter right after they landed and offered several of us a ride home if we'd help them load all the furniture and other stuff that they intended to buy.

By the way, even with the earplugs they gave us, the C-130 was by far the noisiest aircraft I ever flew in!

5 comments:

George said...

There was a nick-name for these flights. When I was asked several times if I wanted to take a flight it was referred to as the "meiyo gwansyi" flight. Chinese for "No problem" flight. Does anyone remember this or does it sound familiar?

lsduffin said...

The Meiyou Kuanhsi (or just Mei Kuanhsi, or Meiyou Guanxi in pinyin) flights were operated by the CAF (Chinese Air Force, though I guess these days TAF is probably more PC) and flew only within Taiwan. They flew between Sung Shan AB in Taipei and Tainan AB in the south, but some flights also went to the CAF Academy at Kang Shan. I'm not sure how many, if any, other CAF bases they may have also served. In the early 1960s the aircraft were cammie colored C-46s, some of which were veterans of the Burma "hump" missions of WWII. Ten years later these had been replaced by C-119s. Any military -- Chinese or U.S -- could show up, sign up, and if there was room, you were all set. It was all pretty loose; family members were welcome too. Folks stationed at Tainan when I was there (1971-73) took advantage of these flights to make shopping trips to Taipei or if they needed medical care that the small hospital at TAB couldn't provide. It was another free bennie that made life on island a little nicer.

titojohn said...

Don,
I believe this is not a C-118, but rather a C-54N. C-54N was an old DC-4 configured for staff/VIP support. I think this aircraft preceded the C-118 aircraft utilized by COMUSTDC. I remember riding this bird from Kadena to Taipei one time.
John

Don said...

Oops! I think you're right, John.

Oh well, at least we've added to the historical record by displaying TWO of TDC's aircraft here at the blog. ;-)

It would be interesting to know if there were others, and if so, what they were.

Don

lsduffin said...

The third was the gooney bird (probably a C-117 -- I distinctly remember it had a taller, more rectangular tail than the conventional C-47) that TDC inherited in either 1977 or 1978 and probably owned until closing. I think it came from NAS Iwakuni but I can't be certain.