Air America Caribous in Southeast Asia
 

Newest data is shown in red - last updated December 11, 2005

 

(Thanks to Terry Love and Larry LaVerne for their help)


Air America got its start from the Civil Air Transport, Inc. (CAT) founded by General Chennault in 1946.  In July, 1950 CAT airlines became under the control of the American Airdale Corporation a CIA holding company.  In October, 1957 the American Airdale Corporation changed its name to the Pacific Corporation to hide its CIA involvement in CAT. The Pacific Corporation became the holding company for Air Asia Company, Air America,


Civil Air Transport and several other air transport companies. CAT airlines was changed to Air America in March of 1959 most of CAT aircraft were marked for Air America but some did keep the CAT markings. Pacific Architects & Engineering Company operating in Vietnam was owned by the Pacific Corporation which had close ties to the CIA.  Air America was phased out by June, 1976.  Check the Air American Association web site for more information.


 

For a great book on the Air America Caribous in Southeast Asia suggest you read "Wings of Air America" by Terry Love

 (A Schiffer Military History Book).


 

Larry LaVerne an Air Force/Air America pilot was kind enough to allow me to post these two stories he wrote in Terry Love book.

 Special Delivery
 Some Typical Missions

 

AIR AMERICA OWNED AIRCRAFT

CN #

Tail #  AA #

Dates in SEA

Remarks

34 B-851 851 7/62 - 4/29/75 Aircraft owned by Civil Air Transport, Taiwan. Delivered new in gray paint. Sold to Air America 7/29/71 as N11014, abandoned on Con Son Island, Vietnam
52 B-853 853 7/62 - 9/3/68 Aircraft owned by Civil Air Transport, Taiwan. Delivered new in gray paint. Aircraft leased to USAF from 9/3/68 until 6/15/73 as 61-2388
197 N539Y 539 11/26/64 - 4/15/75 Air America - Based at Tan Son Nhut AFB. Delivered new  (bare metal with Air America markings under the wings, Caribou logo under cockpit windows and US flag on tail)
241 N544Y 544 10/21/65 - 4/20/75 Air America - Based at Tan Son Nhut AFB  Delivered new (bare metal with Air America markings under the wings, Caribou logo under cockpit windows and US flag on tail)
252 N580PA N580PA   Pacific Architects & Engineers Co. Based at Vung Tau.  Delivered new (white paint with blue and gray stripe, Caribou logo under cockpit windows and US flag on tail)
253 N581PA N581PA   Pacific Architects & Engineers Co. Based at Vung Tau.  Delivered new (white paint with blue and gray stripe, Caribou logo under cockpit windows and US flag on tail)

 

AIRCRAFT USED BY AIR AMERICA

CN #

Military ID # AA # On Loan Dates

Remarks

4 57-3080 333 1962 Leased for evaluation from the U.S. Army
13 60-3762 762 1/73 - 6/74 On loan from USAF
20 60-5430 430 1965 - 6/74 On loan from US Army until 12/31/66 then the USAF
32 60-5439 439 1972 On loan from USAF
35 60-5441 441 1972 On loan from USAF
37 60-5443 443 6/5/64 - 11/1/65 On loan from US Army
46 61-2389 389 1964 - 6/74 On loan from US Army until 12/31/66 then the USAF
50 61-2392 392 5/27/64 - 6/74 On loan from US Army until 12/31/66 then the USAF
51 61-2393 393 6/29/64 - 2/4/72 On loan from US Army until 12/31/66 then the USAF (crashed & written off)
63 61-2401 401 6/29/64 - 11/23/72 On loan from US Army until 12/31/66 then the USAF (shot down)
67 61-2404 404 4/1/64 - 6/5/64 On loan from US Army
68 62-4193 193 1968 On loan from USAF
85 62-4149 149 5/27/64 -11/1/65 On loan from US Army
110 62-4171 171 10/27/70 - 6/30/71 On loan from USAF
126 62-4184 184 11/68 - 3/18/74 On loan from USAF (used USAF crews)
141 62-4195 195 10/70 - 6/30/71 On loan from USAF
144 62-12583 583 6/69 - 1970 On loan from USAF

 
 

Click on photo to enhance

Air America Caribou B-851 (cn # 34) on the AA ramp at Saigon Airport in 1970 (Dana Kelly)

 

<<< Air America were omnipresent in Vietnam and flew many different aircraft  types. This picture is of a civilian model DeHavilland Caribou (very similar to the Air Force C-7A, but  missing the C-7's weather radar). Notice the civilian U.S. registration number on the tail N539Y (c/n #197) and the total  lack of any attempt at camouflage. You can also see one of its military cousins in the background. (Peter Bird)

>>> Air America N544Y (c/n # 241) at Tan Son Nhut, AFB in 1/70 with sister N539Y in background. (Bob Livingstone via Terry Love)

<<< N580PA (c/n#252) Pacific Architects & Engineers Co. at Vung Tau, RVN 1969. (John Stymerski)

>>> N581PA (c/n #253) Pacific Architects & Engineers Co. at Cam Ranh Bay, RVN 1971. (Tom Hansen - Wayne Mutza collection)

<<< N580PA and her sister N581PA Pacific Architects & Engineers Co. at Vung Tau, RVN 1969. (John Stymerski)

>>> B-853 (c/n # 52) departing Danang AFB in March, 1968. (Robert Mikesh via Terry Love)


 

The following are a couple of photos of an Air America Caribou, number 392 ( #61-2392 - c/n #50) that crashed in Laos. Location and date are unknown. These photos are from the Air America Association web site.

Preparing 392 for the lift

A Sikorsky Skycrane lifts 392

Enroute to Udorn, Thailand

Touchdown at Udorn

 

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