Sexy and Glamorous Movie Star
Tail No 54-0709
Calling all C-123 aircrews and support personnel. I received the letter below asking for help for any combat history, nose art or body art used with Fairchild C-123K Provider tail no 54-0709. This aircraft has become a sexy and glamorous movie star. If there is anyone who strapped this beauty on their back and would like to add to the history of this machine send it to Alby Redick and send me a copy or send me an e-mail and I'll get it to Alby with credit going to the originator. If you have any pictures of it in battle, with nose art etc send it and someway we'll get it back to you. I do have a scanner so it can be sent to me and I'll scan it in and return the picture. Names of crews who flew this aircraft would be appreciated as well as any unusual stories. If you know what countries this Queen of the Sky has visited please include it in your correspondence. This may be your last chance to be part of the silver screen so don't blow it. Lets keep our history before the public and this is a chance to do it. The movie cardboard prop for CONAIR with the mighty C-123 rising above the convicts, in a max performance takeoff, has convinced me to see this action pack movie. Besides they used another C-123 to crash land on the Las Vegas Strip and crash into the Sands hotel(quite a feat). The C-123 was still under the Sands awnings last COMDEX show in 1996. Stead AFB can be remembered by many of the Commandos as to their introduction to our organization as we survived the USAF Survival School.
Aviation Classics Ltd.
4825 Texas Avenue
Reno, Nevada 89506
January 31, 1997
To: Gene Rossel
6083 Rosa Ct
Chino, CA 91710
Re: Fairchild C-123K, Serial 54-0709
As discussed, we are interested in finding out any historical information about our C-123K. The aircraft is owned by Ray Petkkow, and operated by Aviation Classics Ltd. It is based at Reno-Stead Airport, 13 miles north of Reno, Nevada.
The aircraft was acquired via a trade agreement and ferried from Davis Monathan AFB to Reno in the mid 1980s. Aviation Classics Ltd. licensed the aircraft under the Restricted Category and it
was initially used for various airshows. In the late 80's it was used on a contract between Reno and Albuquerque, New Mexico for logistical support for a group of Soviet Pact aircraft acquired by Aviation Classics for the DOD.
The aircraft was also used in the Bruce Willis film, Diehard 11. The aircraft was flown to Southern California, Washington State and finally Michigan and back for the film. During filming, the propellers were removed and dummy balsa nacelles built around the drop tanks and engine nacelle in order to look like a four engine jet aircraft. It was then taxied down the runway using the J-85's.
In 1994 it was used for a commercial during the Super Bowl game for Rold Gold Pretzels, featuring Jason Alexander from Steinfeld, and Lloyd Bridges.
In 1996 it was featured in a Nicholas Cage film called CONAIR. The aircraft was operated primarily in Utah and Nevada. It is an action film about a group of convicts hijacking the aircraft and heading for Mexico. The film CONAIR is previewed at the beginning of the VHS tape "The Rock", also starring Nicholas Cage. CONAIR is due out sometimes in Spring 1997. I understand that some of the movie houses now have a cardboard lobby display of our C-123 with propellers turning.
The aircraft is scheduled to work on another film called "Wag the Dog", which will be filmed in Bakersfield, California soon.
Since my brother Juan and I have been around Warbirds since we were old enough to walk, we affectionately call our C-123K "Large Marge."
Funny to hear that you live in Chino, as we were practically raised at Chino Airport and were part of the original "Chino Kids" years ago.
Alby and Juan Redick
Eugene D. Rossel