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CIA Fairchild C-123K 54-0663 Turned into bar/restaurant
The Fairchild C-123K "provider" 54-0663 (20112) Radiocall:"40663" was a part of one of the biggest scandals in the mid 1980's. During this time, the
Reagan Administration had set up a bizarre network of arms sales to Iran
designed to win release of US hostages being held in Lebanon and raise money to
fund the Nicaraguan, counter-revolutionary guerilla fighters, commonly referred
to as the "Contras." By artificially inflating the prices of the arms, NSA
official Oliver North, was able to reap profits that could be diverted to fund
the counter-revolutionaries of the Cuban allied Sandinista government.
Of the $16 million in
profits raised, only $3.8 million actually funded the Contras. With the CIA's
help, they purchased several items, including two C-123 cargo planes (one of
which is our plane), two C-7 planes, a Maule aircraft, spare parts, and
munitions. They also built a secret airstrip on an American-owned, 30,000 acre
ranch in northwest Costa Rica. On October 5, 1986, a US cargo plane (the twin
sister **) of El Avion's own Fairchild C-123, was shot down over southern
Nicaragua. One of the crewmembers, C.I.A operative Eugene Hasenfus, parachuted
to safety and was captured by the Sandinista army. Led out of the jungle at gun
point, Hasenfus's very existence set in motion an incredible chain of cover-ups
and lies that would mushroom into one of the biggest scandals in American
political history known as the Iran-Contra Affair. As a result of this
successful Sandinista strike on our Fairchild's sister plane, the cargo
operation was suspended and one of the C-123s was abandoned at the International
Airport in San Jose.
Credits: El Avion.
=tekst edited by P.R.Kroese
The "El Avion twin sister" Fairchild C-123K Provider N4410F was bought by Corporate Air
Services, which was working on behalf of the CIA. The airplane was re-registered
HPF821. In 1986 HPF821 was used on a U.S. government-sponsored covert resupply
program for the Contras in Nicaragua. On October 5, 1986 the flight departed San
Salvador-Ilopango Airport loaded with 70 Soviet-made AK-47 rifles and 100,000
rounds of ammunition, rocket grenades and other supplies. It flew along the
Nicaraguan coastline and entered Nicaraguan airspace near the Costa Rican
border. Nearing San Carlos, the plane descended to 2500 feet while preparing to
drop off its cargo. At that moment the Provider was shot down by a Sandinista
soldier using a SA-7 missile. As it spiralled down, one crew member Eugene H. Hasenfus was able to
parachute to safety. He was captured by the Sandinistas. Two American pilots, William H. Cooper and Wallace B. Sawyer, Jr.,
and one Latin crew member were killed.
The downing of the C-123 cargo plane on Oct. 5, 1986, led to the discovery of
an extensive United States contra supply operation that was based in El Salvador
and financed by the profits from the American sale of arms to Iran.
President Ronald Reagan denied that there was any Government
connection to the flight. But Mr. Hasenfus, and documents in the wreckage of the
plane, linked the crew to Government involvement.
Background information about the story:
Barry Seal, Air Contra, And Mena Airport Chapter 20. The secret life of Bill Clinton.
Eugene H. Hasenfus
Specifications C-123K "Provider"
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