U.S. Air Force Caribou  (C-7)
Page 6

The following photos and great comments are from Peter Bird. Peter was a bou driver with the 535th Tactical Airlift Squadron, 483rd Composite Wing of the U.S.A.F. in 1971. You may want to visit his web site at - www.petester.com, he has many more photos of Vietnam and other aircraft.  Thanks again Peter.

The home territory of a Caribou. Notice that the forward component of the air conditioning system is in operation (the copilot's window is open).
This picture was taken at Ban Me Thout East in the Central Highlands after a downpour which left the parking area a mudhole. Actually, I remember flying in that day - it was one of the very few times I was able to fly an instrument approach, as most of the fields we went into had no nav aids whatever.
This runway, at Cao Lanh in the upper reaches of the Delta and beside Song (River) Tien Giang, was better than most we operated from. This one actually had some form of paving and was over 1000' long. There is even a real wind sock on the left side!   If you look carefully you will see that the very trusting  Army folks put their tents right off the end of the runway.
This picture, taken out my left side window as we departed the airfield, shows another C-7 just  landing.  The field was called Plateau Gi and was one of my favorites because the surrounding terrain reminded me a lot of my native New England.  Visible above the runway at the right is the Montagnard Special Forces camp we were supporting.   Triangular in shape and accessible only by  one safe path, it was completely surrounded by a lovely green field heavily sown with mines.
Off loading at Gia Nghia after the first sortie of the day. Gia Nghia was the site of an Army Special Forces camp that needed the fuel we brought in the red drums. The airport was unique - they had      knocked the top off a small mountain to provide a generous (for a Caribou) 2000' foot dirt strip. The red soil visible in the foreground was typical of Central Vietnam and was called "laterite" because of its tendency to harden (laterize) into a rock-like surface once defoliated and exposed. When the Caribou's engines were reversed during landing at fields like this, the airplane would disappear into a large red cloud of dust.
Well off the southwestern coast of  Vietnam. A large POW camp was maintained there by the U.S. Navy. We made regular trips to An Thoi while TDY at Can Tho. It was a very a pleasant trip because we could go for a quick swim and get a Navy meal in the bar. Thoi is on the island of Dao Phu Quoc in the Gulf of Thailand.
Given the availability of an Army 6 by, this was the standard method of loading and unloading a Caribou. Unfortunately, we rarely had the use of the truck in the boonies. This photo was taken at Ham Tan.
This photo was taken at Dalat Cam Ly in the Central Highlands
The prop hub of the mighty Pratt & Whitney R-2000 7M2.
The mighty Pratt & Whitney R2000 7M2. This particular one was sick enough that I had to throttle it back to idle and fly a single engine approach. Picture taken on the ramp at Bien Hoa.
This picture, taken on the ramp at Cam Ranh Bay, shows the flaps at full extension. One can clearly see that the entire trailing edge of the wing is part of the flap system. One can also understand why one had to point the nose at the ground to get the thing down with the flaps fully extended.
The augmentor tubes on the top of the Caribou engine nacelle.  These large tubes served to collect the 14 individual exhaust stacks and direct the exhaust gas out over the rear edge of the wing.  Since  they were open at the front where the stacks entered, a venturi effect resulted which drew in outside air to mix with the exhaust gas.  This served not only to help cool the very hot exhaust, but also actually added a little extra thrust.
This is the Petester fueling his own airplane.  Actually, it was a major nuisance and the crew members each took turns.  The fuel tanks were filled with an open cell foam material to make them less likely to explode if penetrated by a projectile, so the fuel would not run in at the rate the fuel truck would pump.  The fueller had to constantly stop the flow to allow the gas to seep out through the foam.  Since it took quite a while and the top surface of that wing was very hot, this was not the most desirable of jobs.
Long range flying wasn't exactly uppermost in the minds of the Caribou's designers.   When long overwater flights were necessary, additional fuel and oil was carried in the cargo compartment.  The rubber fuel bladders were filled with avgas and then pressurized with the deicing pumps.  As fuel was burned from the wing tanks, more could be added by operating the valves shown at the right.  This particular picture was taken somewhere along the route from Cam Ranh Bay to Kadena AFB in Okinawa (by way of Clark AB in the Philippines).
This view of the cockpit was taken looking up from the cargo compartment floor.   The photo isn't too great, because the lighting was tough, but gets the idea across.  Clearly visible in a row across the overhead console are, left to right, the throttles, prop levers, and mixture levers.  The Coke can was not standard issue equipment.
The Caribou center panel. The two large gauges at the top center are the manifold pressure and engine RPM, respectively. With a setting of 26 inches and 1900 RPM, we must have been in hurry to get somewhere. The picture of the pilot's panel, taken at the same time shows these settings producing an airspeed just under 120 knots. Normal cruise settings were 20 inches and 2000 RPM, producing about 105 knots
Viewed from under the wing of my Caribou, a C-130 takes off from An Thoi.  For the big C-130, An Thoi was a bit of a short field, while for the Caribou it was a generous runway.


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