The museum's C-141B was the last C-141 stationed at Dover AFT, Delaware
In 1973 television audiences watched the C-141 bring home POWs released by Hanoi. Others know that C-141s dropped U.S. paratroopers on Panama in 1989. But the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter's main job is to carry cargo, not people (most U.S. soldiers travel on chartered jetliners). From the mid-1960s to the 90s, the C-141 was the workhorse of the air mobility fleet.
Starlifters began hauling supplies to Vietnam in the 1960s. It was proven, however, that the aircraft "bulked out" before it "massed out," meaning it often had additional lift capacity that went wasted because the cargo hold was too full. In the 1970s, Lockheed won an ambitious contract to "stretch" the 263-plane fleet by 23 ft 4 in and to add an air refueling receptacle. The lengthened Starlifter, known as the C-141B, flew for the first time on 24 March 1977 and began service two years later.
The improvements gave the Starlifter global reach and made it a familiar sight almost everywhere. The aircraft remained in service for almost 40 years until the USAF withdrew the C-141 from service on 5 May 2006 and replaced it with the C-17 Globemaster III.
Powerplant: Four 21,000-thrust Pratt & whitney TF33-P-7 turbofan engines
Maximum Speed: 565 mph
Range: 2,906 mi. with max payload
Service Ceiling: 42,250 ft
Max Takeoff Weight: 342,287 lb
Crew: Pilot, co-pilot, two flight engineers, navigator, and loadmaster; crew of five on MEDEVAC missions
Payload: 70,827 of cargo, 205 ground troops, 168 paratroops, or 103 litter patients
Wing Span: 160 ft 9 in
Length: 168 ft 3 in
Height: 39 ft 3 in
Above: One feature added to the B-model was the capability to be refueled in flight. The fairing on the top of the forward fuselage receives the boom from the refueler aircraft.
Modification of the C-141A to the C-141B involved the insertion of newly fabricated fuselage sections ahead of and behind the wing resulting in a stretch of 23 ft 4 in. This increased the volume of cargo that could be carried.
The large rear ramp doors open fully in flight for aerial load dropping while a built-in loading ramp extends and lowers for vehicle access on the ground.