First C-141 Aircraft to Fly

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 the air, the program was referred to as the Eclipse Project. The Loadmaster on this flight was MSgt Ken Drucker.

First MATS pilot to fly C-141

Lt Col (Brig. Gen.) Willum H. "Harry" Spillers, Jr., was the first Military Air Transport Service (MATS) pilot to fly the C-141.

First C-141 round trip to Hawaii

6 February 1965: Lt Col Ralph I. Leslie and his crew of the Air Force Flight Test Center C-141 Joint Test Force returned to Edwards AFB CA after a 5,200-mile non-stop, round-trip flight to Honolulu, Hawaii.

Charleston receives its first C-141

The 437th Military Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base received its first C-141 on 14 August 1965.

Travis receives its first C-141

23 April 1965: The first operational Lockheed C–141 Starlifter aircraft was delivered to Travis Air Force Base, California. Capable of crossing any ocean non stop at more than 500 miles per hour, the Starlifter could transport up to 70,000 pounds of payload, including 154 troops, 123 paratroopers, or a combination of troops and supplies.

First jet aircraft to land in the Antarctic

15 November 1967: A C–141 Starlifter became the first jet aircraft to land in the Antarctic. Commanded by Capt. Howard Geddes, 86th Military Airlift Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, the aircraft landed on the ice at McMurdo Sound after a 2,200-mile flight from Christchurch, New Zealand.

C-141 sets Trans-Pacific speed record

17 January 1967: A C-141 from the 44th Military Airlift Squadron at Travis AFB CA claimed a trans-Pacific speed record from Japan to the U. S. on a run of 8 hours and 17 minutes, covering a total of 5,400 miles, with speeds averaging 630 miles per hour.

C-141 pilot Col Vere Short

July 29, 1970: Col Vere Short, a C-141 pilot, attained 25,000 accident-free flying hours, the most military flying time by anyone on active duty.

66-0186 The YC-141B

8 January 1977: The first (stretched C-141 Starlifter) rolled out of the Lockheed Georgia Marietta plant. Equipped with in-flight refueling capability, it was 23.3 feet longer than the original C-141A, enabling it to carry more troops and cargo.

First C-141 over water flight without Navigator

30 September 1977: A C-141 Starlifter from Charleston AFB flies across the Atlantic without a navigator being guided instead by a Delco Inertial Guidance System. This new technology leads to navigators being phased out of the C-141 system.

First C–141B operational mission

6 April 1980: A 443d Military Airlift Wing aircrew flew nonstop from Beale Air Force Base, California, to Royal Air Force Mildenhall in the United Kingdom on the first C–141B operational mission. It refueled only once on the 11-hour, 12-minute flight.

First all-female C-141 crew

May 9, 1983: A C-141 crew from the 18th Military Airlift Squadron, McGuire AFB, N.J., becomes USAF’s first all-female crew to fly a round-trip mission across the Atlantic. Flying a C-141B from McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, to Rhein-Main Air Force Base, Germany. Left to right: Capt Guiliana Sangiorgio, commander; Capt Barbara G. Akin, pilot; 1stLt Terri A. Olinger, copilot; TSgt Donna L. Wertz, flight engineer; SSgt Denise J. Meunier, flight engineer; Sgt Mary K. Eiche, loadmaster; and A1C Bernadette C. Botti, loadmaster.

Last airdrop of paratroopers from a C–141 Starlifter

13 May 2004: The final C-141 airdrop of paratroopers took place at Fort Benning, Ga. Army Private Jason Stewart, a native of Chandler, Ariz., became last paratrooper to jump from a C-141, when he jumped from C-141C (No. 65-0229) of the 452 AMW (AFRC) at March ARB, Calif.

Last around-the-world flight by an active duty C–141

19 August 2004: Twelve crew members departed McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, aboard a C–141B Starlifter on the last around-the-world flight by an active duty C–141. The specially selected crew included eight members of the 6th Airlift Squadron and four flying crew chiefs from the 305th Maintenance Squadron. All were seasoned veterans of the C–141. Collectively, they had more than 59,000 hours of flying time in C–141s.

Last active duty C-141 Squadron

16 September 2004: The last two active-duty C–141B Starlifters assigned to the U.S. Air Force flew their final missions after a departure ceremony at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, home of the 305th Air Mobility Wing. The 6th Airlift Squadron, flew the two aircraft from McGuire to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona. The C–141 Starlifter was the first U.S.-manufactured jet aircraft designed specifically for military airlift. It was the second all-jet transport aircraft to be assigned to the Military Airlift Command, the C–135 being the first.

Last C-141 to Antarctica

4 February 2005: A C–141C assigned to the 452d Air Mobility Wing at March Air Reserve Base, California, flew the last scheduled C–141 Starlifter mission to the Pegasus runway near the McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica. For 39 years, as part of Operation Deep Freeze, C–141s had delivered personnel and equipment to Antarctica in support of the National Science Foundation's research activities there.

Last combat for the C-141

30 September 2005: The final mission was flown by a C–141 Starlifter to a combat zone ended when a Starlifter assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, landed at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The C–141C was returning from Balad Air Base, Iraq, 24 litter patients, 23 ambulatory patients, and 3 attendees. It had taken cargo to Europe before making its historic last flight to the U.S. Central Command’s theater of operation in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. C-141s had begun airlifting sick and wounded from combat zones more than 40 years earlier in Southeast Asia.

The last operational C–141 Starlifter flight

6 May 2006: The last operational C–141 Starlifter landed at Wright Field, Ohio for donation to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. The landing concluded 42 years of Starlifter operations in the active-duty Air Force, the Air National Guard, and the Air Force Reserve Command. The last operational C–141 was nicknamed the “Hanoi Taxi” because it had transported the first group of former Vietnam prisoners of war from Hanoi to freedom on February 12, 1973. On May 5, the “Hanoi Taxi” made two final passenger flights in the Dayton, Ohio, area with 125 former POWs aboard. Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne was a passenger on the first flight. His brother, an F–4 pilot, had been killed over North Vietnam in 1966.

Dover Air Force Base

The last C-141 stationed at Dover Air Force Base was 64-0626. The aircraft was retired from service in 1996.