Monday, September 22, 2014

Once the backbone of the Air Force, the world will never see another one fly.

That'd be the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter, heavy lifter for decades, now all ingots save for a few museum pieces like 70013 here at the Pima Air Museum.
The C-141 was made from 1963 to 1968, and during that time, 285 were built. They could carry up to 92,000 lbs. of cargo, 154 troops or 123 paratroopers, which they could drop via the rear ramp and two side doors.
The original C-141As had so much lifting ability that they were often loaded to the capacity of their cargo holds without reaching gross weight, so between 1977 and 1982, almost all of them were cut and had 23 feet added to their fuselages, "stretching" them so that they could carry more. These stretched aircraft were redesignated as the C-141B.
63 of these were further upgraded in the 1990s with new avionics and nav gear, and these were redesignated as the C-141C.
During the life of the C-141, 19 of them were destroyed in crashes around the world. The rest soldiered on, moving troops and materiel around the world. They may have lacked the glamour of the fighters or the bombers, but they got the job done for over 40 years.
By 2004, they were all relegated to Air Guard units. The last ones flew in 2006, at which point they were all retired.

67-0013 is a C-141B that flew from 1967 until it was transferred to AMARC at Davis Monthan, better known as "The Boneyard". Almost every C-141 ever made wound up there and most left in very small pieces.
15 of the original 285 still exist, all as static display aircraft like 67-0013 here. None will ever fly again.

Sad. But at least I saw and touched this one.

A great resource fr C-141 fans can be found here: C-141 Heaven

12 comments:

  1. I was weaned from my mama's titty on the C-141 Starlifter.
    I worked on Balls-13 when she was assigned to the 438th at McGuire AFB New Jersey.

    Thanks for the memories.

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  2. My pleasure. Thanks for your service.

    So you worked on that particular aircraft, eh? Way cool.

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  3. The old StarLizard... Nice bird, but couldn't hold a candle to the C-5 Galaxy. I cried when I started seeing my old birds at D-M years ago... (C-5 and EC-130)
    Wandering Neurons

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  4. A close friend flew B-52's in Viet Nam and later flew C-141's and some EW platforms. I asked him what his favorite plane had been with his response being the C-141.

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  5. I flew in one (backwards) from Hawaii to Guam for crew change SSBN609b in 1976. No stewardesses, just knuckle dragging ChairForce guy with very old box lunch.....no peanuts. Remember being very cold.

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  6. I caught a hop in 141 from Hawaii to California once.

    On a different note it's a funny feeling to see an aircraft at the Pima Air Museum that you flew in & worked on.

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  7. I made three jumps from the C141 at Fort Benning, Ga during the summer of 1973. I still have my little "school book" they gave us, with a picture of para's going out of C141's.

    All of the ships I made cruises on, and there were a lot of them, have been scrapped, sold to third world navies , or turned into artificial reefs. I remember when the first F14 came into Kirtland AFB near the University of New Mexico and a bunch of us drove out to see it. All of those things, planes and ships, are gone now. I saw the seats from the Ready Room on the old Iwo Jima for sale in a catalog once. Made me feel very strange.

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  8. The first F-4 I flew is on a stick at the front gate at Luke. On the other hand, the F-15 that used to have my name on it is still flying on Active Duty. It was built in 1978. 36 years is a long time on a Fighter.

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  9. They were the backbone of ATC, and they got the job done for years... Good birds!

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  10. Is the hump above the cockpit for the inflight refueling receptacle or some sort of antenna?

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    Replies
    1. I believe that that's just a refueling receptacle, but it appears that there are others here more knowledgeable on the aircraft than I. Hopefully if I'm wrong, one will correct me.

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  11. That hump is the refueling receptacle. Rode those birds a lot back in the day. I remember a hop from Kadena to Taegu to Kunsan, lifting out of Taegu, that 141 climbed like her tail was on fire. Great aircraft, sad to see them all gone.

    Damn but I'm getting old!

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