C-141B Starlifter

Serial Number: 64-0626

Our C-141B Starlifter, 64-0626, was the very last C-141 stationed here at Dover AFB, retiring in February 1996.

Mission

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.

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 proved to “bulk out” before it “massed out”, meaning that it often had additional lift capacity that went wasted because the cargo hold was too full. To correct the perceived deficiencies of the original model and utilize the C-141 to the fullest of its capabilities, the entire fleet of 270 in-service C-141As were stretched, adding needed payload volume. These modified aircraft were designated C-141B. Additional fuselage “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, with first delivery taking place in December 1979. It was estimated that this stretching program was the equivalent of buying 90 new aircraft, in terms of increased capacity.

The aircraft remained in service for almost 40 years until the USAF withdrew the C-141 from service on 5 May 2006, replacing the aircraft with the C-17 Globemaster III.

Gallery

  • Manufacturer: Lockheed
  • First Flight: 17 December 1963
  • Retired: 6 May 2006
Specifications
  • Crew: Two pilots, two flight engineers, one navigator, one loadmaster; five medical crew on medevac missions
  • Payload: 70,697 lbs
  • Length: 168 ft 3 in
  • Wingspan: 159 ft 11 in
  • Height: 39 ft 3 in
  • Empty Weight: 114,492 lbs
  • Loaded Weight: 342,100 lbs
  • Powerplant: 4x Pratt & Whitney TF33-P-7 turbofans
  • Maximum Speed: 567 mph
  • Cruise Speed: 495 mph
  • Range: 2,935 mi
  • Service Ceiling: 41,000 ft
Assignment History

The assignment history for the Air Mobility Command Museum's C-141B Starlifter, serial number 64-0626:

Date Location
30 Aug 1965 to 1501st Air Transport Wing (MATS), Travis AFB, CA
10 Jan 1966 to 60th Military Airlift Wing (MATS), Travis AFB, CA
2 Jun 1966 to 436th Military Airlift Wing (MATS), Dover AFB, DE
19 Aug 1973 to 438th Military Airlift Wing (MAC), McGuire AFB, NJ
14 Oct 1981 to 438th Military Airlift Wing (MAC), McGuire AFB, NJ
21 Apr 1989 to 437th Military Airlift Wing (MAC), Charleston AFB, SC
26 Apr 1989 to 438th Military Airlift Wing (MAC), McGuire AFB, NJ
1995 to 305th Air Mobility Wing (MAC), McGuire AFB, NJ
1996 38,038.8 airframe hours

11 Comments

  • My name is Tom Roache and I was stationed at Norton AFB in San Bernardino, Ca. From Jan 1979 through July 1982. I worked exclusively on C-141’s first in structural repair, sheet metal shop, then a year in the fiberglass and composite shop and my last 6 months in the refurb shop, a small group from different specialties working together on 141’s scheduled extended maintenance and refurbishment. We’d usually have each bird for 2 or 3 weeks. I treasure my time at Norton and San Bernardino. The Starlifter represents the period of my life I became a man.

  • I was an avionics technician assigned to the 436AMS, Dover in 1969. The C-141 Starlifter was the most beautiful aircraft I ever worked on.

  • My name is Robert Short I was Crew Chief on 626 at Dover. 626 was the last C141 to leave Dover because of NLG repair. I was also a one of the Crew Chiefs on 9014 when Gary Giles and Rodney Moore were the main Crew Chiefs. I went from Dover to the Air National Guard in Feb 1977 working C130E,H Aircraft retired as Chief Master Sargent Aircraft Maintenance.

  • Straight out of tech school as a sheet metal tech, I was assigned to McGuire, April 1973 to November 1976. The C-141 was a great aircraft to get my training with because we literally did everything in sheet metal work. In addition to the C-141s, we also maintained several T-29 aircraft (which we converted to C-131) and a T-39 which was used by the 21st AF commander. So this aircraft will have some of my handy-work in it. After leaving McGuire, I spent the rest of my career in either TAC, USAFE, or ACC, but continued to often fly in C-141s on deployments. It was my 2nd favorite aircraft, after the F-111.

    • Hello David Adams, this is the son of Stanley Sterling, who was a Civilian working on C-141’s during the 60’s and 70’s. I was wondering if you or anyone on this forum knew my dad. His life slowed down a bit after having a massive Coronary. He went back to McGuire for 2 years after that then retired.He was also a hero fighting on Pelliliu Is. In the Soloman’s in WW2. Please write back thank you,
      Glenn Sterling
      Glennsterling2013@gmail.com

  • 38000hrs. Seems like they put it in the air for close to 4 years then brought it back for retirement.

  • Harry W. Tibbetts

    I worked on 141s at Mcguire AFB in New Jersey after we changed from C-135 A and B models in the mid 60s. The plane was a lot different than 135s, but I enjoyed working on them. I went to FTD school on 141s at Dover. A few years back I got a chance to take a flight on one as part of my duties with the fire department. I was amazed at how much longer they were than I remembered. Of course I now know it was due to their having additional fuselage sections added after I got out.

    I didn’t know about the museum until today. The next time I’m out east I’ll make it a point to visit.

  • I flew on this C-141 several times back in the 60s and early 70s as flight engineer. I am also a volunteer at the AMC museum with the restoration crews. When visitors come to check out the insides of 40626 I can tell them of my experience flying on the C-141. I will sometimes sit in the flight engineers seat and give them explanation of the fuel system or electrical distribution system and other facts. That I enjoy.

  • I was on the ground crew of this very aircraft at dover from summer 1967 to summer 1968. I learned a lot in that year. I enjoyed keeping it flying. I was what was called APG [ Air Plane General ]. I always wondered if it survived the bone yard. Hope to visit the museum someday. Thanks

  • Retired at Travis in 87 sore using the -21 section or what they used to call 780 gear. Configured the aircraft for missions, litters, cargo, etc.

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