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Missing Aircraft

C-119 Flying Boxcar

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C-119 Flying Boxcar

  The C-119 was called a “Flying boxcar” because of all the cargo it could carry, like that of a boxcar on a freight train. It was not huge like the C-133, so it was used far more frequently to haul stuff that had to be loaded and shipped more quickly between shorter distances. It could land at smaller fields, and was thus good for freighting to remote outposts along the Dew Line, island bases, and temporary fields.

   On June 5, 1965, a C-119 vanished somewhere over the Bahamas bound for Grand Turk Island while flying the busy skyway, the “Yankee Route.” This C-119 was ordered to Grand Turk, only carrying spare parts for another C-119 which had made an emergency landing there the day before when an engined konked out.

   The flight had originated at 10:51 a.m. at Billy Mitchell Field in Milwaukee and flew to Homestead AFB, Florida, with 5 crew under the command of Major Louis Giuntoli. They landed there at 5:04 p.m. Punctual time, in military tradition, was maintained o the flight. “AF2680 was on the ground 2 hours and 43 minutes.” They then took off at 7:47 p.m. with 4 additional men, all mechanics who were to fix the engine of the C-119 on Grand Turk.

Specs

Length: 86 feet 6 inches

Wingspan: 109 feet 3 inches

Capacity: 5 crew

Max. Speed 296

Cruising Speed: 250

Range: 2,280 miles

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  Giuntoli’s orders were to head east in order to pick up the Yankee Route south of Bimini Island, a major trade route to the Indies recalling, at least in name, the days of the Yankee merchant frigates that tapped into the trade of the Caribbean. He was to follow this route at 9,000 feet altitude. He was to check in at the routine places, designated Y-1 & Y-2.

     A web of communications surrounds any plane traveling this busy route. The entire radio log of that night is kept in the report. This log shows the entire contact with the Flying Boxcar. Although it does not explain its disappearance, it does admit peculiarities in radio reception that are remarkably identical with other planes lost in the Triangle both before and after. The last radio message is the most incredible. It was not picked up by Miami, which was expecting contact, but New York, a distance of 1,300 miles away (!).   

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Taken from the accident report, a map showing the radius of strongest reception by the various radio sectors. Note that Y-2 is in the corridor of weakest local reception. Between here and Grand Turk the C-119 vanished. Something had to have distorted the atmosphere to have sent the last message to New York, which was transmitted in this locale. Did it do anything else?

   Although a full search failed to find a trace, a couple of months after the incident the Air Force supposedly reported to the Miami Herald that a wheel chock was found with the numbers 680, the plane’s I.D. number. Then a part of a box lid with ION KIT stenciled on it was found near Grand Rock Cay in the Bahamas. This was to a box that originally read “Contact Mission Kit.” Neither showed traces of being burned or of explosive material.
   The report mentions no debris being found.
   In examining the weather, the investigation concluded: 

  After a thorough investigation of the synoptic situation and evaluation of numerous pilot debriefings, it has been determined that the weather between Yankee 2 and Grand Turk at the time and altitude that C-119 51-2680 was in the area was VFR with no apparent hazards.

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