Members of our squadron took a trip on a C-119 Flying Boxcar like the one above in 1972. The purpose was to fly from Glenview Naval Air Station near Chicago to Norfolk Virginia where we would practice getting on and off a model of a ship - run up and down nets strung from a mock up of the side of a ship - with all our combat gear on.
Our trip was in February. It was supposed to be warm in Norfolk.
The crew gave us our brief before we boarded the plane. They told us it was a safe Korean vintage airplane but was also the only twin engine aircraft in the military that could not continue to fly if it lost an engine and we would have to bail out.
They showed us how to put on our parachutes and instructed that on their command we would run off the plane and wait 5 seconds before pulling the rip cord. We were not happy.
Off we went. The aircraft accelerated down the runway, slowly increasing speed. At the end of the runway they slammed on the breaks and went back to the hanger. They explained that this aircraft did not have enough power to get off the ground so they would get another one. So we took off our parachutes and waited for an hour for the better C-119.
We went through the brief again, putting our parachutes back on. We wondered how old these chutes were and who had packed them and did they still work?
Both times they shut the door by wrapping a long leather strap to hold the door in. Thought that was interesting.
Off we went. After a very long run this aircraft finally managed to get airborne. After we got up in the air they took out a very long metal rod, stuck it out of a hole in the plane, and cranked up the front wheel.
It was a very long trip to Norfolk. They were having a several snow squawl in Norfolk and the plane swung way out on approach. We could not see anything of course since there were no windows but things were falling down and we were swinging out from our side mounted seats. Our CO was riding in the front and said that we almost crashed. Fortunately our Reserve pilot was an experienced test pilot instead of an accountant on his reserve duty.
The snow and wind was so bad they suspended the dry net training. So the next day we flew back. Same parachute drill, tie up the door with a leather strap, and crank up the wheel with a long steel rod.
Last time I have ever seen a C-119.