A cargo pioneer

The XC-82 prototype on an early test flight out of Hagerstown, Maryland.

Until World War Two, aviation technology had lacked sufficient advancement to permit the carriage by aircraft of heavy, bulk cargo in the way desired by the armed forces — that is, until Gen Henry ‘Hap’ Arnold of the US Army Air Forces (AAF) issued a request to manufacturers for a dedicated cargo/troop transport. Of course, aircraft such as the Douglas C-47 and Curtiss C-46 would meet battlefield needs, but they were originally conceived as civil passenger types, so bulk cargoes had to be awkwardly side-loaded into the fuselage.

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