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.
| ENGINE||4 x turbo-jet P+W TF-33-P-7, 93.5kN|
| Take-off weight||143610 kg||316608 lb|
| Empty weight||61898 kg||136462 lb|
| Wingspan||48.7 m||160 ft 9 in|
| Length||44.2 m||145 ft 0 in|
| Height||12.0 m||39 ft 4 in|
| Wing area||299.8 m2||3227.02 sq ft|
| Max. speed||920 km/h||572 mph|
| Cruise speed||885 km/h||550 mph|
| Ceiling||12500 m||41000 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||11400 km||7084 miles|
| Range w/max.payload||6440 km||4002 miles|
|Lenny Baltra, lbaltra=bellsouth.net, 26.01.2010|
I flew as a Flt. Engineer on the C-141 from 1974-1984 at Charleston AFB SC and Altus AFB Ok, where I retired in 1984. I had approx. 7000 hrs. on the panel and some fantastic trips. It was a great airplane. I went on to fly the Boeing 727 for UPS for twenty years where I retired in 2007. I miss them both.
|George Reeberg, george.reeberg=gsetx.com, 22.01.2010|
Great plane, great memories as a C-141B Flight Engineer!
|Tom Mouhelis, majgreek2=aol.com, 21.01.2010|
Great aircraft! Most overpowered cargo I ever flew on. I was a C-130 load.
|Samuel Curcio retiedCMSGT, patcurcio1=netzero.net, 14.01.2010|
I saw a Loadmaster on the C141 from 1963 till I retired in 1989,from Mcguire a.f.b. in New Jersey.
During the Vietnam War we made 7 trips there with new Troops and then back Home to Dover AFB in Delaware with the casualties.
Very sad times,but I'll always remember them.
It good to hear from guys that flew the same aircraft as I did.
email me at -email@example.com
|Gary L. Hart, hart_gary=hcde.org, 13.01.2010|
I flew the C-141 from 1983-1998. It was a great and very forgiving airplane. The crew complement was never 4. Basic crew was 5: 2 pilots, 2 flight engineers, and 1 loadmaster. The ceiling was above 45,000 [not 41,000 as listed]. 45,000 was the highest I ever took one. I am almost certain the charts went up to 50,000. 343,000 was the wartime weight -- we did a bunch of that the first month of Desert Shield.
|William J. Schwehm, spectre-08=msn.com, 07.01.2010|
I was Chief of Aircrew Standardization with the 62nd MAW and one of 5 intitial cadre pilots to attend C-141 crew training. The 141 was a dream to fly and a great airplane. I also attended the Lockheed factory training for the all weather landing system and took delivery of the first airplane to be equipped with the system 66-145.
|Ray W., rhwebster=bellsouth.net, 22.06.2008|
I was intemently associated with the Starlifter for 30 years in the maintenance trenches and contractor flight simulator instructor.
This plane met current day FARs for civilian operations as the L-300. As the slowest and fuel thirsty cargo hauler in the sky, one would think that a aircarrier would go bankrupt keeping it flying.
A C-141D was produced by Lockheed as a solution to the C-17s wing fracture problems. It had a new box beam assy, CFM-56s and I think the Engineer station was removed. Rumor had it, it could fly from Ft. Bragg to Saudi non-stop.
This may be the plane that was seen by my Brother in Law on short final to Dobbins in early 2008. All grey and no markings.
Alas, like the old bird herself, we all got tossed on the scrap heap.
|Charles (Chuck) Matheson, chuckmatheson=sbcglobal.net, 27.05.2008|
As an instructor flight engineer and flight examiner who had some 5000 hours in this airplane I can attest to the fact that this acft was a great acft. It was very dependable and reliable and never, ever did it ever once scare me. I had my share of in flight emergencies just like any other aircrew member but they mostly all were precautionary in nature and not once did I ever fear that we would not have a successful outcome. I started flying this acft in 1985 with the 7MAS which later was renamed the 7AS at Travis AFB, CA. I flew with the active duty squadron until 1992 when I then transferred to the 708th reserve squadron at Travis for the rest of my career on the jet. I had the very sad honor of bringing one of these planes to the boneyard once and I tell you, walking away from the Jet, leaving her there to bake in the hot desert sun was one of my worst flights on this plane ever. It was a very sad moment for all of us to shut this plane down for the very last time and to walk away and leave her there. To this day I get a tear in my eye when I think about it. The C-141 Starlifter was a phenomenal aircraft and I have many, many good memories of places that I have been and the friends that I made while flying this great aircraft.
|David Brown, frann1=bellsouth.net, 19.05.2008|
The max ramp weight was 325000 lbs. Max takeoff weight was 323100 lbs. These were the normal weights for the A and B models. There were higher wartime weights.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?