The Fairchild C-123 Provider served as a cargo and troop transport aircraft throughout the late 1950s to mid-1970s. About 300 were built, but only one survives in flying condition. That airplane, affectionately known as Thunderpig, will be coming from the Air Heritage Museum in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, to be part of the “Vietnam Remembered – 50 Years Later” commemoration at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023.
This particular airplane was built in 1956 and served at a number of bases in the U.S. It was resurrected from an aircraft boneyard in Arizona in the 1990s and delivered to the Air Heritage Museum’s restoration facility. The name Thunderpig was the nickname used by the 911th Airlift Wing based at Greater Pittsburgh Airport when it flew the C-123 there.
The aircraft was based on a post-World War II glider design created by Chase Aircraft, with the contract eventually assumed by Fairchild. In the 1960s, many of the aircraft were modified with jet engines added to supplement their twin radials. They were known in Southeast Asia for their ability to use rough jungle airstrips to deliver troops and supplies. Following the end of the Vietnam War, the C-123 was primarily used by the Air Force Reserve, the U.S. Coast Guard, and a number of foreign air forces.
The appearance of the C-123 at Oshkosh is made possible by the support of Michael Hare, EAA Lifetime 1348423.