Location:Tachikawa AB, Japan
Copyright: Nicholas Williams
In January 2005 this aircraft was still flying. Aaron Murphy, who lives in Christchurch NZ submitted the following set of photos which he took on January 26th, 2005, following an engine change. The Deep Freeze guys told him there are only 3 more trips to the ice by C141s scheduled.
January 26th, 2005: 60152 doing high powered engine runs and then being towed back to dispersal after having No 2 engine changed at Christchurch. Photos taken on 26 Jan 2005. Spare engine was brought in by 59414 which is presently on its way back from Antarctica.
Copyright / © Unknown
At McChord, July 2, 1984
Copyright / © Paul Carter
Copyright / © Unknown
Copyright / © Daniel Wojdylo
Copyright / © Daniel Wojdylo
Copyright / © Alan Campbell
Copyright / © Dan Pianelli
Copyright / © Werner Fishdick
Date: 5/13/2003 / Location: Goose Bay
Copyright / © Robert Pirolli
On 3/29/2005 66-0152 made its last flight .. to the Tucson Boneyard. The next series of photos were provided by Victor Alvarez.
Date: 3/29/2005 / Location: March ABB
Copyright / © Victor Alvarez
Cargo plane flies for last time, will be missed
TUCSON, ARIZ - The final flight Friday of March Air Reserve Base's last C-141 Starlifter cargo plane didn't go off quite as planned.
The sentimental journey for many of the crew and passengers who rode the short hop to the Air Force "boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson was delayed for two hours by a faulty engine starter.
It was, the old-timers said, as if the grizzled war bird didn't want to depart for its final resting place in the hot Arizona desert, where it is slated for demolition. Barring a late reprieve, March's last Starlifter -- tail number 60152 -- will be dismembered by a 13,000-pound guillotine dropped from a height of 80 feet. An exact demolition date has yet to be determined.
The plane, which was built in 1966 and served at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino before coming to March 12 years ago, joins 4,281 other aircraft stored in what officially is known as The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center.
Maj. Gen. Robert Duignan who flew the final flight called Friday's delay "a minor glitch."
"This is an emotional day," Duignan said prior to the last flight. "This old lady has done its job. I can't name a place in the world this airplane hasn't been."
Duignan said the plane ended its life with 41,228.3 hours in the air and traveled an estimated 16 million miles, about 720 times around the Earth. The final landing at Tucson was the Starlifter's 22,249th. Duignan, commander of the 4th Air Force, which is based at March, logged 5,000 hours in Starlifters in 30 years. He has flown the plane to China, Europe, the Middle East and Antarctica.
March's C-141s are being replaced by C-17 Globemasters, a new generation of cargo haulers that can carry almost twice the load of the Starlifter. The first of eight C-17s arrives at March Air Reserve Base in August.
C-141s first rolled off the assembly line in 1964 and have seen action in Vietnam, Grenada, Haiti, Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. The final Starlifters that remain in service are stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and continue supporting "Operation Iraqi Freedom."
Duignan said that even as the Starlifter was being phased out, its workload never decreased -- quite the contrary. After Sept. 11, all C-141 crews were activated and sent on missions throughout the Middle East -- from evacuating wounded American soldiers to supplying forward bases, to transporting prisoners of war to Guantanamo.
"Seeing it as you came to work every morning gave you a warm, comfortable feeling," he said. "To come to work and not see it ... something is missing."
About 150 former crew members came to witness the final flight. Most signed their names on the fuselage and left heartfelt messages.
"We won't forget you old friend," one person wrote. "End of an era," another penned. "Thanks for the best years of my life," still another wrote.
Master Sgt. J.D. Haynes, 49, of Cherry Valley, sat in the cockpit on the final flight and reminisced about the places he has seen while serving as a mechanic and flight engineer. He's been everywhere from Greenland to Grenada.
"It's nice to go out with your head held high," Haynes said.
Pilots, loadmasters and mechanics who worked on the Starlifter say they'll keep fond memories of the C-141.
The transport developed a near-fanatical loyalty among the crews who served aboard Starlifters during the last 41 years.
She was an ugly, ungainly bird on the ground, they agreed, but once she became airborne, the big transport suddenly became elegant.
"From an ugly duckling to a swan," said Tech Sgt. Robert Cormany, 52, of San Bernardino, who spent 32 years working on Starlifters. "It looked so graceful in the air."
Crew members marveled at the variety of cargo the C-141 could take on and deliver safely, from paratroopers to vehicles to food and water for victims of natural disasters.
Comic legend Bob Hope always flew aboard Starlifters when he took his traveling band of entertainers on USO shows in Vietnam and elsewhere.
Starlifters evacuated 12 dolphins when a hurricane threatened Sea World in Florida, delivering them without a hitch to Coronado. They flew home the bodies of soldiers killed in Iraq and the remains of Vietnam veterans discovered decades after they were reported missing.
C-141s from Inland Southern California evacuated servicemen wounded in action in wars ranging from Vietnam to Iraq. Their scientific mission included service as aerial platforms for astronomers scanning the heavens with telescopes.
Master Sgt. Homer Hawkins, 57, of Ontario, once flew aboard a Starlifter carrying a Minuteman missile to a far-flung base.
"The plane became part of you," said Hawkins, who served 31 years aboard Starlifters and will retire without working on the new C-17s. "I spent a lifetime working on them."
Lt. Col. Gary Pennington, who was in the cockpit for Friday's flight to Tucson, said none of the 270 Starlifters ever failed because of mechanical breakdown. About a dozen were lost when pilots flew them into mountains or crashed them into swamps and during other flying mishaps, he said.
Pennington said the March C-141s typically had more than 40,000 hours in the air. Each flew millions of miles. Training missions included flying low and slow over the desert in temperatures of 110 degrees.
Updrafts from the desert floor known as thermals shook the plane and sapped energy from pilots and crews.
"The plane was as good as it gets," he said. "It was built like a tank."
Pennington, who lives in Highland, said he flew the flight of March's last C-141 with a "smile on my face and a tear in my eye."
"I've had a glorious time in the service," said Pennington, who logged 9,500 hours in C-141s in a 32-year career. "It's all been because of that airplane. It served its time; it did its job."