Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
1963
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Lockheed C-141 Starlifter

The Lockheed C-141 Starlifter is a military strategic airlifter in service with the United States Air Force. Introduced to replace slower piston-engined cargo planes such as the C-124 Globemaster II, the C-141 was designed to a 1960 requirement and first flew in 1963; production deliveries of an eventual 248 began in 1965, and the aircraft is still in service almost 40 years later, although the USAF plans to withdraw the C-141 from service in 2006 when sufficient C-17 Globemaster III aircraft are available.

The original Starlifter model, the C-141A, could carry 138 passengers, 80 litters for wounded, or ten standard 463L pallets with a total of 62,700 pounds (28,900 kg) of cargo. The C-141 could also carry a Minuteman missile. It was soon discovered that the aircraft's volume capacity was relatively low in comparison to its lifting capacity; it generally ran out of physical space long before it hit its weight limit.

To correct this and use the C-141 to the fullest, the whole fleet of aircraft were stretched, producing the C-141B. Additional 'plug' sections were added before and after the wings, lengthening the fuselage by 23 ft 4 in (7.11 m) and allowing the carriage of 103 litters for wounded, 13 standard pallets, 205 troops, 168 paratroopers, or an equivalent increase in other loads. Also added at this time was a boom receptacle for inflight refueling. The conversion program took place between 1977 and 1982. It was estimated that this stretching program was the equivalent of buying 90 new aircraft, in terms of increased capacity.

More recently, 63 aircraft have been upgraded to C-141C status, with improved avionics and navigation systems, to keep them up-to-date until C-17s are available to replace them.

In 1994, thirteen C-141Bs were given SOLL II (Special Operations Low-Level II) modifications, which gave the aircraft a low-level night flying capability, enhanced navigation equipment, and improved defensive countermeasures. The USAF operates these aircraft for the Air Force Special Operations Command. These aircraft are slated to be replaced by special-purpose new-build C-17s.

On 16 September 2004 the C-141 left service with active duty USAF units, being confined to reserve units for the remainder of its service life. As of September 25th, 2005, there are only 8 C-141 aircraft still flying (All from Wright-Patterson AFB) near Dayton, Ohio. One of them is the same aircraft that was used at the end of the Vietnam War to repatriate American POWs from North Vietnam, and will soon be moved to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, also at WPAFB.

Lockheed C-141 Starlifter


Specification 
 CREW4
 PASSENGERS154
 ENGINE4 x turbo-jet P+W TF-33-P-7, 93.5kN
 WEIGHTS
    Take-off weight143610 kg316608 lb
    Empty weight61898 kg136462 lb
 DIMENSIONS
    Wingspan48.7 m160 ft 9 in
    Length44.2 m145 ft 0 in
    Height12.0 m39 ft 4 in
    Wing area299.8 m23227.02 sq ft
 PERFORMANCE
    Max. speed920 km/h572 mph
    Cruise speed885 km/h550 mph
    Ceiling12500 m41000 ft
    Range w/max.fuel11400 km7084 miles
    Range w/max.payload6440 km4002 miles

Lockheed C-141 Starlifter

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60 61-80
Rene J. Cusson, Rrunner22=comcast.net, 03.07.2014

I was a loadmaster from 1970 to 1972 stationed at McGuire AFB.I was a member of the 30th Mac. My most memorable trip was operation deep freeze which was a 17 day trip. Our crew did six shuttles to ice and then back to New Zealand. Six of us rented a house while we were there.

Walter beisser, Waltbeisser=att.net, 01.07.2014

I was loadmaster with 44th MAS Travis AFB 1966 to 1970. I had over 3000 hrs when I left Air Force . It was a great plane.

Drew, Clark1995=juno.com, 04.06.2014

Christian, I flew the C-141B from1998-2003 at McGuire. We could roughly figure 15000 lbs consumed for the first hour and 12000lbs for each hour of flight after that. Of course this figure varied based on altitude, gross weight and temperature deviation. Each TF-33 burned about 3000pph at cruise altitude.
Going to Europe from NJ, you would occasionally fill the tanks to capacity...152356 lbs if you didn't have too much cargo.

Herb Richards, herbyrichards=gmail.com, 09.03.2014

I flew the C-141A in the 4th MAS, McChord AFB, WA from May 1967- August 1972. Then the 86th MAS, Travis AFB, CA from January 1974- April 1978. Total of 7,142 hours as a Flight Engineer in C-141A. Best aircraft that I had the pleasure to fly on. (Did a little tour in country from August 1972- August 1973)
Also flew on C-47, C-54, C-118,AC-119K, KC-97G, C-97G, C-124A and T-29A SA-16

Gerry Carley, gerrycarley=bellsouth.net, 04.12.2013

I flew the C-141A at Charleston from 1969-1973. Best job in the Air Force. 35 countries, from SE Asia to Africa, South America, the Middle East & of course, Europe. Ended up as an Instructor before leaving the Air Force. Great fun.

Robert Carmack, rcrmck=netscape.net, 12.10.2013

I was an FE in the 14 MAS out of Norton in the mid 80's. Anyone out there recall a medivac mission to pick up a diplomat's wife in Bangladesh? Please email me if you do.

Merle English, partfinn=yahoo.com, 05.06.2013

I was assigned to MAC for 2 yrs at Hickham working the C-141 and C-5, I loved the Starlifter, did thru-flight Insp., refuels, block outs. The sad was the Air-Evacs, walking through the plane to access the Hydraulic filters, then to sit by the refuel carts with the rear side door open. Sad to see our wounded, it still lays heavy on my heart. There is a 141 on static display at the Pima Air Museum in Arizona. You can walk up and kiss the old Gal, great visit, worth the drive

christian, valento93=yahoo.com, 06.05.2013

pls help me ..i want to know the fuel consumption of the engine or the aircraft itself of Lockheed C141B Starlifter?..

Michael H. NWA 747, retired, mvgradmike=yahoo.com, 24.04.2013

Flew Vietnamese refugees from Guam to Hickam AFB. After the R/W was cratered in Saigon, I know of no 141's that flew in/out.

Longest leg I flew was Ascension Island to Charleston AFB in 1977.

I recall the ceiling as 45,100'; saw FL450 once, when the bird was capable of 490, per the F/E. 410 was rather routine. An amazing machine, indeed. The VSI tapes maxed out at 20k fpm.

Funny how those old numbers stick...153,352#, 325k#, 323,100#, 20500# thrust. Personnel airdrop was 130 kias, to answer one question.

Russ Withrow, withrowrussell=yahoo.com, 18.03.2013

I was a maintainer joined the AF in 1969 the C-141A was still new and my first real hands on maintenance at McGuire. The 141 was one bad hot rod however as a Aircraft environmental technician it was not maintenance friendly, it had a hi pressure bleed air system and the HVAC packs were a nightmare to work on. I have never understood why Lockheed put the engine bleed air shut off valves down in the pylon where you couldn't really see what you were changing. Aside from maintenance the 141 was a dam good air lifter and nothing matched it until the C-5A came along. The 141 was a very fast aircraft and it took me all over the world and it was a blast on take off it stayed in service way longer than the life span it was designed to fly. Oh yea I remember the jet troops doing compressor stalls during engine runs that was wild.

Gary Klein, kleingl=gmail.com, 08.02.2013

I served at Travis AFB from 1966 to 1970 as a Aircraft Mechanic and Crew Chief. I was Crew Chief of 64-0650, 65-0231, and 65-0277 on the Grave Shift which meant that I worked on those aircraft when at Travis and if they weren't here I worked on another aircraft that its crew had the night off. The Starlifter was a stellar performer. The C-141A model was certainly over-powered. I bet it used less then half the runway to go airborne while the B-52s used almost every inch. After reading the info about the Tacoma Lifter 65-0277 that is parked at McChord in Washington. I am frankly puzzled if the info presented is factual. Because I either worked on or knew the ground crew assigned to it at Travis for my entire career there from 1966-1970. If both facts be true, it would mean that there were 2 Tail Numbered 65-0277s!

James Snyder, C141A=hotmail.com, 10.01.2013

AutoPilot/Instrumentation Tech on the 141 from July 1974 to August 1988. Assigned to the 437 AMS, 608 MASS, 438 AMS, and 172 MAG. As is evident by the e-mail address I sure do miss the old girl.

Lauren Eastwood, lauren044=yahoo.com, 01.12.2012

Worked on the Starlifter from mid 72 to mid 76 at Mc'Guire AFB, New Jersey. The hydraulic system was different to say the least. Went many a TDY to chand Spolier, Rudder, and Elevator packs. The most challenging was the spoiler packs as with the frame of aluminum and the bolts of steel, had a lot of difficult times temoving the mount bolts.

Ray, Rayzient=hotmail.com, 25.11.2012

Was a FE from 1989 to 1997. Loved the aircraft! Ended up with round 3500 flying hours. Sure miss the missions.

William Nichols, w_nick39=hotmail.com, 09.04.2012

Stationed at 7th squadron @ Travis from 1974-1976. Droned many nightime hours at .74 Mach, but the lady always got us to our destination. Flew all over the world, to Europe on reforger missions, all the way to Diego Garcia from Clark AFB, the hawaii week mission to guam, midway, kwajalien. Watched b-52's disappear on takeoffs from Anderson AFB. Loved landing @ Elmendorf, so, we could get boxes of whole king crabs. 10 minute bag drags outbound, and 45 minutes bag drags when getting back to Travis!! (haha)

Troy Wood, troywood=cebridge.net, 19.03.2012

Started flying in 1952 crewchief C-47 Naha, Okinawa. Continued flying after return to Kelly AFB August 1953 C-54s then went to Moses Lake, Wn on C-124 A Models had a break in service but continued to fly C-124s in the reserves, recalled to active duty after a short stint in Okie Guard flying C-97s, back to 62nd at McChord on C-124s and finally to C-141's at McChord and Altus then to C-5's in Jan 1971 --- Most reliable airplane of all and the easiest for the flight engineer --- the pilot got the same systems training I did so if his memory was any good I did not have to contribute very much. The C-124 and the C-5 were the most challenging for the engineer.

Michael R Gallagher, mrgoregon=comcast.net, 06.03.2012

First assigned to the C-141 in 1979 at McGuire AFB with subsequent assignments at Travis, McChord, and Norton along with TDYs to Altus AFB for various schools (aerial refueling, instructor, etc). A wonderful and honest airplane. I'd like to say thanks to those with the vision to start the program, the company that made the plane, all those who supported the fleet, and the crews that flew them. Replaced by the C-17, the Starlifter will never be forgotten by those who were part of the program.

Robert Donez, robert.donez=live.com, 03.03.2012

I was a Flight engineer with the 14th MAS 53rd MAW at Norton from 1977 to 1984 The best and the most exciting time of my life, I flew desert shield missions when Kadafi was in power,good to see him gone! Hats off to all airman in harms way, good luck and god bless!

Mike Curley, mikec569=comcast.net, 20.02.2012

Flew 141A and B models from 1979 to 1983 as a Flight Engineer. Most memorable moment was my very 1st flight as a student at Altus AFB. We landed at Clinton Sherman Field somewhere close to Altus AFB, I was sitting at the panel for the very first time, The pilot announced that he was going to do a TRT takeoff, what happened next scared the shit out of me and at the same time gave me a feel of what raw power was capable of doing. 1st the pilot set the brakes, advanced the throttles to the TRT settingand then said "HERE WE GO". All my books in front of me just disappeared, they all went into the crew bunk to the right of the engineer station, the runway was only 8000 ft,and by that time we were on our way past the 10,000 ft mark. Those memories will be with me forever. What a hotrod!!!!

Michael, mvgradmike=yahoo.com, 18.02.2012

Awarded a Starlifter @ UPT, I promptly 'grew' a spoon in my flight suit arm pocket; bummed about no fighter, but glad to miss SAC. I met my wife of 36+ years at Altus, of all places; a Cali girl and we still groan when recalling winds from the south!

At CHS, I was once #2 in flight time, of active duty pilots, to Les Smith; flew CAM early on, as copilot. This awesome bird took me to every continent but Antarctica and included an amazing range of missions, from diplomatic and Cold Banner to empty shuttles, to airdrop training at Benning and FayetNam; the incredible improvement in RW vis at Pope, when the fog lifted by the dozens of Panama-bound MITO Starlifters, 82nd aboard. Other crews quickly tired of hearing the treats my gourmet loadmaster whipped up, starting with a nut-encased cheeseball w/ crackers!

Grouper fishing on Ascension, using Moray bait; steel mat RW @ 29 Palms, with RTB at 45M'(ABQ center queried: "U really a 141?"; two trips to Red Flag-- holy cow!; Sondestrom AFB; Vietnam refugees, Guam to Hickam, then Ft. Smith; sitting for days, waiting for <8 kts wind for the new Army jump class, then 20,000fpm climb, momentarily, on departure with only min fuel aboard. Demoed the old close-in formation, but never liked SKE. Only one engine quit and one windscreen heat failure in 5 years.

I think airdrop speeds were 150 for equipment and 130 for personnel; remember the smokin' rollers as those pallets extracted? Remember slipping the lead bird to give #2 more room on approach?

Still owe my classmate 'thnx' for almost getting us into China (Red) enroute to Kathmandu for troop P/U who had their 1st motorized ride ever in a truck to our airplane, passing elephants on the road! I wonder how much they understood about the O2 brief?

Many, many memories, 99% good, about you folks,(2-Lt. Gary Sintes, I remember your lie).

Flew BAC1-11s for an upstart; REALLY illustrated how great the 141 was, then 20/25 at NWA on another tremendous airplane: the 747. The 727 and 757 were fantastic, too.

Enjoyed the stories; keep them coming, and thanks Eric, for this link.

- A Bennett's Bandit. (Is my Israeli money still on the wall in that Madrid tasca?)

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