Let’s Help C-123 Provider “Ponderous Polly” Fly!

Ponderous Polly in happier times before the hurricane damaged her control surfaces. (image via Warriors & Warbirds)
Ponderous Polly in happier times before the hurricane damaged her control surfaces. (image via Warriors & Warbirds)
Ponderous Polly in happier times before the hurricane damaged her control surfaces. (image via Warriors & Warbirds)

As WarbirdsNews reported in February (click HERE), Warriors & Warbirds is making great progress with the restoration of their Fairchild C-123K Provider known as ‘Ponderous Polly’. The restoration team is currently working under difficult conditions though, as the aircraft is located in New Bern, North Carolina where she has been grounded since a hurricane damaged her control surfaces. The restoration team is repairing these components, as well as some of the attachment points on the airframe. It’s an expensive venture, as every work visit from the aircraft’s new base in Monroe, North Carolina requires the team to spend valuable dollars on hotel and travel expenses. They need to get Polly home to Monroe so she can receive a more thorough restoration, and the only way they can achieve this is to finish rebuilding the control surfaces. To speed up this process, the group has set up a fund raising campaign (Click HERE) to gather the necessary money to complete the control surfaces and cover at least some of the travel expenses of the volunteers venturing to New Bern to get “Ponderous Polly” ready for her journey home.

Control surfaces coming together. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)
Stripping down the old rudder. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)
The new and old spars for the rudder. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)
The new and old spars for the rudder. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)
Control surfaces coming together. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)
The rudder coming back together again. (photo via Warriors & Warbirds)

As Warriors & Warbird’s social media officer Joseph Atkins said, “Due to her size it takes a team of people to work on Polly. That requires several hotel rooms per trip and, including meals, the costs add up pretty quickly. Since these people are volunteering their time and experience it wouldn’t be polite to also require them to pay for their own lodging. We have already received donations of oil and spark plugs for her engines but we need teams of people to go down and complete the repairs to get her flyable so we can bring her back to Monroe.”

The C-123 Provider couldn’t easily be described as sexy and doesn’t have the sometimes mystical aura of a combat aircraft, but the Provider and her crews served a vital role in difficult times … especially during the Viet Nam War bringing much needed supplies to the troops in very dangerous conditions, and later, getting people home safely in that last mad dash to leave at war’s end. These brave men and their machines deserve to have their stories told. The best way for the public to hear them is to see and hear a Provider in the flesh… to experience the sights, sounds and, yes, smells of a working warrior…. to meet the crews, and to learn a little about what it was like to serve in these noisy, oily and yet lovable machines. ‘Ponderous Polly’ represents all these things, and Warriors & Warbirds is committed to making sure she reaches as many people as possible, much like they have with another unheralded hero, the Curtiss C-46 Commando known as ‘Tinker Belle’. Here’s hoping some of you can find a way to help ‘Polly’ get air back under her wings.

To repeat, the fund raising campaign can be found HERE. If you can, please share the link on Facebook so that others might join in too.

4 Comments

  1. I worked on Polly with Mike Beasley while my daughter was stationed at Seymour Johnson AFB. I have approx 6 years maintenance experience having been a crew chief/ flight mechanic assigned to a C123 while serving in the USAF. So glad to hear that you have taken over the restoration project.
    If you would provide me with some sort of a work schedule I will try to fit in some volunteer work to coincide with my schedule.
    Please keep me informed.

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