C-141A Starlifter

Serial Number: 61-2775

Serial number 61-2775 was the very first of 284 C-141A Starlifters ever built and had its maiden flight on 17 December 1963, the 60th Anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight.

This C-141A Starlifter spent its entire career as a test aircraft in numerous programs. It is one of only two remaining “A” models and is the only known four engine jet used to tow a glider. The last program this A model carried out was to test a new tension rope from NASA while towing a QF-106 in air.

Mission

Introduced to replace slower piston-engined cargo planes such as the C-124 Globemaster II, the C-141 was designed to requirements set in 1960 and first flew in 1963. Production deliveries of an eventual 285 planes began in 1965: 284 for the Air Force, and one for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for use as an airborne observatory.

The C-141 Starlifter was the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command from the 1970s into the early 2000s. The Starlifter fulfilled the vast spectrum of airlift requirements through its ability to airlift combat forces over long distances, delivering those forces and their equipment either by air, land or airdrop, resupply forces and transport the sick and wounded from the hostile area to advanced medical facilities.

  • Manufacturer: Lockheed
  • First Flight: 17 Dec 1963
  • Retired:
Specifications
  • Crew: Two pilots, two flight engineers, one navigator, one loadmaster; five medical crew on medevac missions
  • Payload: 50,000 lbs
  • Length: 145 ft
  • Wingspan: 160 ft
  • Height: 39 ft 3 in
  • Empty Weight: 136,900 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 323,100 lbs
  • Powerplant: 4x Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-7 turbofans
  • Maximum Speed: 565 mph
  • Cruise Speed: 491 mph
  • Range: 3,600 mi
  • Service Ceiling: 42,250 ft
Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's C-141A Starlifter, serial number 61-2775:

Date Location
7 Sept 1963 First C-141A built—Completed as test aircraft C-141A, gained by Systems Command
17 Dec 1963 First flight
31 Mar 1964 Converted as test aircraft from C-141A to JC-141A
31 May 1967 Converted as test aircraft from JC-141A to C-141A
25 Sept 1969 Converted as test aircraft from C-141A to NC-141A
12 Dec 1969 Assigned as test aircraft, Aeronautical Systems Division, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Systems Command
30 Nov 1972 Assigned as test aircraft, 4950th Test Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Systems Command
4 Sept 1996 Assigned as NC-141A test aircraft, 4950th Test Wing, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, Systems Command

2 Comments

  • Virginia Tolles

    Actually, 286 StarLifters were built, 284 for USAF, 1 for NASA, and 1 for a private air freight company. I’ve forgotten that company’s name.

    Thank you for this beautiful page honoring 61-2775, known by Lockheed simply as 12775. Many years ago, Lockheed sent me a picture of her on her maiden flight bearing this tail number. Many years later, you sent me a picture of her in her gray-and-white livery. Many thanks!

    • Hello,

      We’ve asked our friends over at C-141 Heaven for their take on the 286 StarLifters being built rather than 285. After talking with them and a former Lockheed Martin employee who worked with the StarLifter program for 26 years, it appears that at times the 286 number comes up when double-counting the airframe that was sent to NASA over some confusion with the tail numbers. Here’s some of the discussion:

      “AF67-0166 (LAC6285) was the 284th and final C-141 was delivered to the AF in Feb 1968. LAC6110 was the civilian demonstrator that became the NASA aircraft. In between AF65-0258 (LAC6109) and AF65-0259 (LAC6111) they snatched the civilian demonstrator. So 284 Air Force airplanes, and 1 NASA equals 285. I think the confusion comes from the fact that the last C-141 built (AF67-0166) was the 285th airplane, and then there was that civilian demonstrator with the cool red paint scheme. It was not an extra plane built, it was part of the 285 airplane build.”

      Here’s the production timeline:

      1963 : 4 aircraft
      1964 : 8 aircraft
      1965 : 56 aircraft
      1966 : 106 aircraft
      1967 : 107 aircraft
      1968 : 4 aircraft

      For more information on the C-141s I suggest heading here: http://c141heaven.info/dotcom/c141list.php

      Thank you bringing this up!

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