Up-Close Aircraft Day



Saturday, January 11, 2020


Lockheed C-141B Starlifter



March Field Air Museum is proud to announce the latest installment of “Up-Close Aircraft Days” on Saturday, January 11, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As part of the interpretive new program, a different aircraft is featured each month with the next focused on the Lockheed C-141B Starlifter. On the second Saturday of each month throughout the year, Museum guests will have the opportunity for a close-up look – sometimes climbing stairs to get a close-up view into the cargo bay or cockpit - other times even climbing aboard.


For the upcoming “Up-Close Aircraft Day” guests will see the Air Force’s first jet-powered, heavy-lift cargo aircraft the museum’s legendary C-141B Starlifter. In over forty years of service, stretching from the jungles of Vietnam to the deserts of Southwest Asia, the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter earned the title of Americas airlift workhorse.


A product of John F. Kennedy’s first official order as President, the C-141 was designed to be a fast, long-range, strategic and tactical transport capable of delivering 60,000 pounds of cargo 3,500 miles while retaining the slow-speed capability to airdrop paratroopers and cargo while in-flight. Produced on-time and under budget, Lockheed engineers gave the C-141 a high-mounted wing swept back 25 degrees for high-speed performance, powerful flaps for low-speed capability, four under-wing TF33 turbofan engines, integral wing fuel tanks, a T-tail, externally housed landing gear, dual paratroop doors and rear-mounted clamshell doors with an integral loading ramp for quick on and off loads.


Brought into service in October 1964, C-141s began ten years of near daily flights into Southeast Asia, carrying troops, equipment, supplies, medevac’ing wounded and, in 1973’s Operation Homecoming, repatriating freed POWs. In April 1975, C-141s airlifted the last remaining American personnel from Saigon as it fell to North Vietnamese forces.


In the following years, Starlifters supplied U.S. forces throughout the world, aiding in humanitarian efforts and military conflicts in Grenada and Panama and providing support to Israeli forces during several flare-ups in the Middle East. In the first half of 1990, modified C-141Bs with 23-foot fuselage extensions - permitting an increased cargo capacity and aerial re-fueling - were engaged in Operation Desert Shield. An around the clock strategic airlift push landed Starlifters in Saudi Arabia at an astounding rate of one every seven minutes.

The last C-141 left the U.S. inventory in 2006 replaced by a new generation of global airlift, the C-17 Globemaster lll.


The museum's C-141B Starlifter serial number 65-0257, the “Spirit of the Inland Empire”, entered service in 1966. Its assignments have included Travis AFB, CA. McCord AFB, WA. Norton AFB, CA. and finally the 452nd Air Mobility Wing, at March. After completing 44,130 flight hours 65-0257 retired and moved across the runway to the March Field Air Museum on November 10, 1999.