305th and 514th Air Wings, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 2000



Serial Number:



In May 1960 the U.S. Air Force asked aircraft manufacturers to submit designs for a jet transport to replace the ageing and outdated fleet of propeller driven transports then in use. Boeing, Convair, Douglas, and Lockheed submitted proposals with the Lockheed design being selected in May 1961 as the winner. The first C-141 made its maiden flight on December 17, 1963, the 60th Anniversary of the Wright Brother's first flight. Starlifters saw extensive service in Vietnam first flying there in 1965 only a few months after entering full service. A few C-141s were built with stronger airframes to allow them to carry the Minuteman missile. After a short time in service it was found that the C-141 ran out of room in the cargo bay before it reached its maximum carrying weight and it was decided to lengthen the aircraft by 23 feet and add aerial refueling capability. One by one the Starlifters returned to Lockheed to be cut open and have two extra fuselage sections inserted, one in front of the wing and one behind it. The newly lengthened aircraft were called C-141B. The Starlifter has continued to serve in the U.S. Air Force up to the early 2000s; however, its days of service are running out. The last of them will be gone from military service by 2006.


  • Wingspan: 160 ft
  • Length: 168 ft 3 in
  • Height: 39 ft 4 in
  • Weight: 344,100 lbs (loaded)
  • Max. Speed: 565 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 51,700 ft
  • Range: 3,200 miles
  • Engines: 4 Pratt & Whitney TF-33-P-7 turbofans 21,000 pounds of thrust each
  • Crew: 5, cargo 89,152 lbs