Best wishes to anyone who has so little of a life that he has to come here on New Year's Eve.
Here's hoping 2006 is a better year for all of us and our country and the rest of the world.
C141Heaven Special AUDIO GREETINGS FROM G.W.B.
(You need an MP3 player like QuickTime configured for these).
Over and Out for 2005.
I got a note from, Al Hurst, a former McChord simulator instructor about his 'near miss' with death on the . Scroll to the bottom of the page to see his added comments, or read the whole sad story from the beginning.
New photos of the Golden Bear static display at Travis AFB can be seen on the .
C141Heaven received a nice note from Wally Stahl regarding the history of the NASA C-141, 714. Check this link for details.
Hope your Christmas was as good as mine. The relatives are nearly departed from my hotel and I'm starting to find some time to post more material. Please keep it coming.
The questions are now pouring in. I posted the comment from Paul Laemers
about what the 'blue thing' was. He said it's a wave guide.
I should have anticipated it, but now people are asking me "What is a wave guide?"
Come on people, that should be obvious!! A wave guide guides waves.
Here's a more technical explanation (stolen from some web site) for you engineering types:
A waveguide is an electromagnetic feed line used in microwave communications, broadcasting, and radar installations. A waveguide consists of a rectangular or cylindrical metal tube or pipe. The electromagnetic field propagates lengthwise. Waveguides are most often used with horn antennas and dish antennas.
An electromagnetic field can propagate along a waveguide in various ways. Two common modes are known as transverse-magnetic (TM) and transverse-electric (TE). In TM mode, the magnetic lines of flux are perpendicular to the axis of the waveguide. In TE mode, the electric lines of flux are perpendicular to the axis of the waveguide. Either mode can provide low loss and high efficiency as long as the interior of the waveguide is kept clean and dry.
To function properly, a waveguide must have a certain minimum diameter relative to the wavelength of the signal. If the waveguide is too narrow or the frequency is too low (the wavelength is too long), the electromagnetic fields cannot propagate. At any frequency above the cutoff (the lowest frequency at which the waveguide is large enough), the feed line will work well, although certain operating characteristics vary depending on the number of wavelengths in the cross section.
Well, that certainly clears it up for me. The real question should be: Who
As a pilot, I needed to know three things:
---1. Pull Back - Go Up.
---2. Push Forward - Go Down.
---3. From where I am right now, what heading and how far to the nearest bar?
Personally, I like the term 'Blue Thing'. That's technical enough for me.
In the 'Starting Engines Checklist' the item would have read:
I don't think knowing the technical details about wave guides would have done me much good, but I'm sure some weasel flight-examiner would have probably asked 20 questions about it after shutting down two engines (on one side) on short final during a no-notice check ride.
But if you really want a visual example that any idiot can understand just watch this video.
(turn on your speakers) This video explains it all in layman's terms.
You have to wonder...if I can pose a simple question about what the 'blue
thing' was (see December 17th entry, a few slots down this page), and get an
answer so fast, why couldn't the FBI figure out a way to communicate with
each other that terrorists and evil-doers were taking flight lessons around
I guess they didn't have web sites or Google in those ancient days of 2000/2001.
Anyway, this morning I got the answer about the blue thing in the following email from Paul Laemers:
The 'blue thing' was part of the wave guide system for the ARTB test platform if my memory is correct.
I was the crew chief on this aircraft from before the nose mod until I delivered it to Edwards.
Also it was called 'Against The Wind' because I am a big Bob Seger fan from Detroit.
North Charleston, SC
Carl Hayden was recently on a visit to Edwards AFB and got someone to open up
2779 for him so he could take some photos. These can be
Scroll to the bottom of the page for the new photos.
If anyone knows what that 'blue thing' is, please contact me email or contact me . At this point my best guess is a $100,000 water-softener so the crew could have nice water for the ice-maker so their cocktails didn't get that "off-taste".
On December 13th, 2005, 60177 was photographed in anticipation of the upcoming retirement ceremony. Over the course of the next several days I received copies of these official photos and a few others submitted by other folks. Here's a link to those photos: 60177 Photo Shoot
In case you missed it in the news on December 7th, (a day that will live in infamy), the USAF changed its official MISSION STATEMENT to:
The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options
for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests
-- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.
I don't know about you, but I think this is pretty weird. The old one was:
To defend the United States through control and exploitation of air and space.
which seemed pretty clear to me.
This 'sovereign' concept seems very strange (and very British). I sort of expect pirates to pop onto the scene any minute. Sovereign is not a word you see or hear very often in the US, and it's way too imperial for my taste.
According to Dictionary.com, 'sovereign' means:
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
----a. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
----b. A national governing council or committee.
----c. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.
2. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
And if you are wondering about 'imperial'
1. Of, relating to, or suggestive of an empire or a sovereign, especially an emperor or empress: imperial rule; the imperial palace.
2. Ruling over extensive territories or over colonies or dependencies: imperial nations.
3. Having supreme authority; sovereign.
4. Regal; majestic.
Did Tony Blair have something to do with this? Or was it Dick Cheney?
Now here's a bit more on this from Wikipedia:
The Imperial Presidency is a term which has been used from the 1960s to describe the presidency of the United States and the President's aides. It was based on a number of observations.
As late as the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Executive Branch of the president of the United States had few staff, most of them based in the Capitol, where a president traditionally has an office (it is no longer used except for ceremonial occasions, but nineteenth and early twentieth century presidents were based there with their small staff on a day-to-day basis). However, the modern day president has a much larger Executive staff, which is usually cramped in crowded conditions in the West Wing, or basement of the White House, or in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a building beside the White House that used to house the Departments of Defense and State. Such is the modern overcrowding in the West Wing that President Richard Nixon had the former presidential swimming pool covered over and converted into a press room.
As staff numbers grew, many people were appointed who held personal loyalty to the person holding the office of president, and who were not subject to outside approval or control.
The office of White House Chief of Staff has evolved into what is in many (though not all) administrations a dominant executive position, turning the office into a virtual 'prime minister' on the occasions when it was held by a strong-willed dominant figure and the presidency was held by a hands off president who left day to day governance to his cabinet and his Chief of Staff. Donald Regan as Chief of Staff and Ronald Reagan as president was seen as an example of this presidential-quasi prime ministerial relationship.
A range of new advisory bodies developed around the presidency, many of which complemented (critics suggest rivaled) the main cabinet departments, with the cabinet declining in influence. The National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget are prime examples of these.
The Senate does not "advise and consent" to appointments to the Executive Office of the President (with only a handful of exceptions), as it does with cabinet appointments. A corollary of this is that EOP personnel may act independent of, without regard for, and without accountability to Congress.
Critics suggested that the range of new bodies, the importance of the Chief of Staff and in particular the large number of people, created a virtual 'royal court' around the President, members of which were not answerable to anyone but the President and on occasions allegedly acted independently of him also.
Critics of the Imperial Presidency theory counteract by arguing that:
----- the Executive Office of the President makes up only a very small part of the federal bureaucracy and the President has very little influence as to the appointment of most members of the federal bureaucracy;
----- the number of people within the EOP is small and there is no institutional continuity at all;
----- the organization and functioning of most of the Federal government is determined by federal law and the President has little power to reorganize most of the federal government.
The presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were particularly described as surrounded by 'courts', where junior staffers acted on occasions in contravention of executive orders or Acts of Congress. The activities of some Nixon staffers during the Watergate affair are often held up as an example. Under Reagan (1981-1989) the role of Colonel Oliver North in the facilitation of funding to the Contras in Nicaragua, in explicit contravention of a United States Congressional ban, has been highlighted as an example of a "junior courtier's" ability to act, based on his position as a member of a large White House staff. Howard Baker, who served as Reagan's last Chief of Staff, was critical of the growth, complexity and apparent unanswerability of the presidential 'court'.
To sum up the mess we're in here, Yogi Bera said it best (all these quotes are directly from him)
Carl Hayden sent some new photos about a Katrina Mission he flew in October.
I got a note from Carl Hayden at Wright-Patterson about my C-141 sighting a few days ago. It's not good news, as yet one more made the final trip.
The C-141 you saw on 8 Dec was being delivered to AMARC at DM. I know this because I am a Load in the 89th AS here at WP. When a crew flies one to AMARC I make arrangements for them to get a tour of the bone yard. AFMC 'owns' AMARC and we have a protocol office there. It's a great deal for our crews. I will let you know when we deliver another one so you can be on the look out. We only have 3 left that are going to DM. 66-0177 is staying here until May 06 when we fly it to the National Museum of the USAF, formerly known as the AF Museum
So I'm not crazy after all (though my wife would disagree). I got a note from
someone at Wright-Patterson saying the 141 sighting I had a week ago was
correct. The aircraft that was supposed to come in on Thursday actually
arrived on Saturday, 12/3.
I have no idea why it was late, but you can probably guess. It didn't want to come and put up a fuss. Or maybe the crew just took it on a 2 day joy-ride around the country before bringing it to C-141 Heaven.
Then, on 12/8/2005 at about 12:15 local time, I happened to look up from my desk and there was a sight to see. A C-141 had just (presumably) departed DM and was flying west (towards California) right outside my office window. I grabbed my camera and ran outside...only to discover the memory card was still sitting in my computer. (This is why I'm not a news photographer...I'd be witness to a presidential assassination attempt and not have my camera ready!) By the time I got it loaded in the camera, the aircraft was about 5 miles west and getting smaller by the second. This shot was all I could get.
Here's a blow up of the above shot:
That unmistakable profile proudly heading towards California or other points
I know it's silly...but I get excited when I see these aircraft. It won't be much longer before there won't be any to see in the air anywhere.
I was driving around Tucson this afternoon at about 1:15pm local time and I
swear I saw a C-141 flying quite high over town heading in a south-easterly
direction. There was supposed to be one coming in on Thursday .. not sure if
it was delayed for some reason and this might have been it of this was
another one ... or if it was just wishful thinking on my part to be lucky
enough to see one flying around here and there was nothing there.
email or contact me
For some time I've been picking up tid-bits in a book or two and off the internet regarding a mysterious "all-black" C-141 (sort of like the black helicopters you hear the conspiracy nuts talking about) that William Casey used to fly around in back in the mid-80's when Reagan was president.
If you know anything about "Black C-141's" or ever saw one please let me know. It seems likely to me that this was one of the dark green color schemes that might have looked black to a reporter at night...but who knows? Maybe there really was an all-black C-141 (or several).
For example, here's an excerpt of a transcript from a CNN broadcast that Aired April 7, 2005 - 17:00 ET, after the Pope died (scroll to the RED highlight for the key portion of the text):
BLITZER: The large crowds in Rome are a major security challenge. Two hundred world leaders planning to attend the funeral. As Alessio said, metal detectors are being installed right now in St. Peter's Square. Security forces, by the way, will increase to 15,000 by tomorrow, including 1,500 military forces.
Rome's mayor says all non-essential traffic will be halted in Rome from midnight until 6:00 p.m. tomorrow local time. Schools and other public buildings will be closed. Air space within 40 miles of the Vatican will be off limits to private aircraft. Key areas are being monitored by security cameras, and the Tiber River is also being patrolled.
Meanwhile, we're learning new details of formerly secret high- level meetings between John Paul II and members of the Reagan administration during the 1980s. Our Barbara Starr is joining us now live from the Pentagon. She has that story -- Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there is a very special look inside the Reagan administration's relationship with Pope John Paul II.
STARR (voice-over): Pope John Paul II, President Reagan and the CIA -- a relationship many say won the Cold War. One man saw it firsthand. Former Ambassador Edward Rowny was President Reagan's arms control adviser. Now 88 years old, his eyesight is failing, but his memory is sharp, of his meetings with the pope in the 1980s, briefings that included CIA secrets.
President Reagan sent Rowny to the Vatican to get the pope's support in the fight against communism.
ROWNY: He wanted the pope to know his philosophy of peace through strength.
STARR: But the pope had his own questions.
ROWNY: He wanted to know what kind of a man is Reagan? What's he like? How do you deal with him? Is he a thoughtful man? Is he a compassionate man?
STARR: The most unexpected moment came when the pope asked Rowny how President Reagan dealt with being shot, an experience both men had shared.
ROWNY: I guess the most surprising thing he asked me was about the recount the day in the White House -- I was in the White House the day Reagan was shot and how he conducted himself. And how he quipped, and how Reagan joked, you know, I hope these doctors are all Republicans, things like that. That amused the pope a great deal.
I told him, they were -- I thought that they had handled the situations very similarly, except that Reagan did not forgive the man that shot him the way the pope did.
STARR: According to former Reagan national security adviser, Richard Allen, CIA Director William Casey also went to the Vatican with classified intelligence briefings of Soviet missiles in Czechoslovakia and troops in Poland.
RICHARD ALLEN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Casey would occasionally climb into his specially equipped windowless C-141 jet, painted black. With the president's blessing, he would fly to Rome, be taken undercover to the Vatican.
STARR: Rowny was impressed by the pope's grasp of world affairs.
ROWNY: Oh, he had a marvelous intelligence gathering apparatus. I often remarked to President Reagan that I wish our CIA was as good as the pope's intelligence apparatus.
STARR: And always impressed by the pope's humor.
On one visit, Rowny fell on a step. A red-capped cleric grabbed him. The pope saw what happened and used a baseball metaphor.
ROWNY: He looked at me and he said, pretty good catch for a cardinal, don't you think?
Here's another one ... source shown in the first paragraph)
Victory : The Reagan Administration's Secret Strategy
That Hastened the Collapse of the Soviet Union
By Peter Schweizer
Research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Atlantic Monthly Press, 1994.
William Casey had developed his skills in economic warfare during WW II when he was promoted from a junior officer to direct the OSS economic campaign against Nazi Germany.
He was appointed Director of the CIA by Reagan and was given support find the weak points in the Soviet economy and to take action to cripple the USSR.
Casey decided that the sale of energy was critical to the USSR. Oil provided half of the hard currency they needed to buy technology from the West. And they needed Western technology both to develop their energy reserves and to keep their military current in the face of new technology developed by the USA.
The USSR also faced unrest in Eastern Europe, especially Poland, and from Muslim minorities in many of the central Asian republics.
Casey immediately started taking action to exploit these weaknesses. In April 1981 he took a 3 week trip in a specially outfitted black C-141 Starlifter. First to Cairo to meet with Anwar Sadat about using Egypt to supply the Afghani mujahedin with more and better quality Soviet made weapons.
Next stop was Saudi Arabia to talk with members of the Royal family about the price of oil. He wanted the Saudis to pump more and thus lower the price. They were concerned about the protection of their air force. They knew from the 1967 Six Day War that a surprise air attack can destroy an air force in minutes, and wanted an airborne radar protection system. The US had what the Saudis wanted in AWACS. For Saudi Arabia, AWACS for more oil production was a win-win situation, since they also got more revenue from the greater volume, even at the lower price.
While a Saudi AWACS was more for protection against Iran than Israel, Casey knew Israel would voice strong objection to the US giving it to Saudi Arabia. And Casey also wanted a favor from Israel. The previous CIA director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, had stressed satellite and electronic intelligence and had permitted the US "on the ground" spy network to dry up. Casey wanted to tap into Israel's "ratline" network of spies that operated in Poland and Russia, because he didn't have the time to recreate a US spy network.
So how to get help from the Mossad ratline and sell Saudi Arabia the AWACS? He had to give Israel something that they valued enough to offset AWACS.
So his next stop was Israel, where he provided Mossad with something they wanted very much: detailed satellite photos of the exact location and state of development the nuclear facility under construction in Iraq. Israel was very concerned about the prospect of a Iraqi nuclear bomb, and soon sent an F-16 Falcon to bomb the Iraqi nuclear plant.
The US issued a formal protest of the bombing, but we were clearly not very unhappy about it.
Meanwhile, Casey was off to Rome to meet with Vatican officials. He wanted the Catholic Church to provide information on events in Poland, and now he had two sources of information: Catholic priests and the Jewish ratline. Casey knew that the government in Poland was going to crack down on Soladarity, and that communications would be critical to the survival of the movement. So he provided Solidarity with small portable radio and communication equipment, which proved very useful when the government declared martial law and tried to wipe the labor movement out.
This short trip indicated the general plan. Cut off the source of currency the USSR needed to buy technology by lowering oil prices (which also aided the US economic recovery), and also try to restrict the sale of US technology to the USSR. Meanwhile aid rebel groups within the Soviet block, like Solidarity and Muslims, and shift the Cold War to high technology, where the Soviets could not keep pace without the ability to buy US technology. This was the game plan but the book includes information on many of the details.
At the famous Summit Meeting in Reykjavik Iceland in October 1986, Gorbachev practically begged Reagan to drop the SDI project. He offered to give in to all of the US demands on arms control in exchange for a promise to end "Star Wars". But Reagan refused. And I think that is when Gorbachev knew the "Cold War" was over and that the USSR had lost. At the time the US press described the summit as a "failure". They thought the purpose of the meeting was to reach an arms control agreement with the USSR.
Reagan saw things differently. To him the point of the meeting was to convince Gorbachev that the USSR was a lost cause.
I'm not sure if this was referencing a black C-141 or not...but here's another reference to a special ops incident. I think this discussion is in reference to the hijack of the Italian cruise liner Achille Lauro in October 1985 in which Leon Klinghoffer was murdered. Whether it was a black C-141 or not, it sounds exciting:
John Prados, Presidents' Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations from World War 11 through Iranscam (New York: Quill/William Morrow, 1986), pp. 390-91, describes the affair as an ugly nose-to-nose showdown between Delta Force heavies - who surrounded the airliner - and Italians committed to keeping them out of what was seen as an Italian law enforcement matter. The confrontations outcome was sufficiently in doubt that Italian forces surrounded Delta's Air Force C-141 with vehicles to block its departure. Campbell Page, "When Not To Treat A Loyal Ally Like a Banana Republic," The Guardian (London; 21 October 1985), discusses the cost of the affair to the stability of the Craxi government.
Here's the lead paragraph from a Washington post news story (later became a book)
Anatomy of a Victory: CIA's Covert Afghan War by Steve Coll
The Washington Post
July 19, 1992
A specially equipped C-141 Starlifter transport carrying William Casey touched down at a military air base south of Islamabad in October 1984 for a secret visit by the CIA director to plan strategy for the war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Helicopters lifted Casey to three secret training camps near the Afghan border, where he watched mujaheddin rebels fire heavy weapons and learn to make bombs with CIA-supplied plastic explosives and detonators.
Remember the $2 billion dollars that US troops ran across somewhere in
Baghdad after they rolled into town? Here's the results of a little bit of
Googling related to what should be a GREEN C-141, not a black one.
I can't quite pin down the orientation of the site where I stumbled across this little missive, but assume the quotes and description of the news conferences are reasonably close to accurate (I know that's not necessarily a safe assumption):
Then when General Sanchez came to the podium, the gal immediately said, "Have arrangements been made with the Treasury or State Department to have an official present, which is required by your own law, to transfer this money and see it safely back to the United States -- since the $2 billion you previously seized in Baghdad is now accounted for?"
And General Sanchez said, "Well I don't know anything about that." She then asked, "Well who has custody of the money at this point?" The problem is that Sanchez is not a Republican; he's a Democrat, one of the very few Democrat Lt Generals. When he was asked who has custody of this unknown quantity of money? Sanchez said he didn't know. He didn't know where the money was.
And as to the $2 billion that is missing, this is the first time on US media that this has even been mentioned since the money was seized. He said, "You'll have ask General Franks." The gal then said we did ask General Franks, and he said he didn't know where the $2 billion was, and he suggested that we ask George Bush.
(Note: this refers to the $2 billon in 100 dollar bills seized from one of Saddam's palaces in Baghdad last April and announced with much fanfare by the DoD. The last media coverage showed this money being trucked out under a tarp and loaded onto an American C141 cargo plane leaving Baghdad. The money has never been seen since)....
I can only say that it would have made for one hell of a retirement party for the crew of that C-141!
Here's an interesting comment about C-141's from Joseph Biden in a conversation with Brian Williams of NBC news on November 21st, 2005. Evidently he was on a C-141 leaving Iraq when this incident happened (I'm not sure of the exact date of incident). It was not on a black C-141.
"Last time I left Iraq, we got up about 2,000 feet, a missile - whoom! - all of a sudden that old lumbering C-141 - I didn't think it could turn so quick."
Here's a note from Bill Weeper:
The following are some of the facts that I remember about the wingless wonders at Altus AFB. I was involved with them from the very start of the project. I am going send a copy of this email to some other loadmasters who were directly involved with the trainers on a day to day basis so that they can fill in the gaps if they want too. I could not have gotten this project to work if it wasn't for the following loadmasters at Altus AFB: SMSgt (Ret) Mark Cavanaugh, MSgt (Ret) Grady Woosley, MSgt (Ret) Ted Cleaver and TSgt Tony Hilton. There are plenty more involved (at Altus, HQ AETC and HQ AMC) but they were the main players. MSgt (Ret) Bill Patton from Altus Air Freight gave me lots of help getting the loading equipment, loading personnel and cargo together.
Here are some photographs of the two Altus C-141B wingless wonders (Loadmaster Training Devices/LMTD).
642 and 154 @ Altus AFB
When I was at HQ AETC/DOFA I worked with CMSgt Steve Spotts at HQ AMC to get policy changes, funding and eventually two C-141B (642 and 154) fuselages for Loadmaster Trainers. It was part of an Enlisted Aircrew Training Device initiative. The C-141 still had a few years to go at Altus and when the aircraft started going to the boneyard we were able to get the two fuselages. The one that fell off the jacks was due to go to the boneyard when the accident happened. So instead of spending quite a lot of money to repair the aircraft and then send it almost immediately to the boneyard we got it for one of the trainers. A Combat Logistic Support Squadron out of Tinker AFB (along with Altus maintenance) dissembled the engines, wings and T-tail's. (NOTE: See note below from Tom Morton for a correction to this info.)
The 'Trainer Development Squadron' at Randolph AFB TX did the modifications to the fuselage, weather sealing the overhead hatches, making rain gutters above the doors and side hatches. Modifications were made at the flight engineers panel to simulate fuel load quantities. The latrine was modified so it could not be used. There were other modifications but that's all I can think of at the moment. External heating and cooling units were installed and ducted into the fuselages for climate control. The fuselages were moved to an area adjacent to the C-141 and C-5 loadmaster cargo loading simulator training facility (currently the Basic Loadmaster Course is situated there and C-5 cargo loading simulator is still there) and tied down.
AMC instituted the 'Second Loadmaster' (even though Second Loadmaster wasn't a popular name) program and Altus AFB pretty much fully qualified loadmasters for a while. Before the Second Loadmaster program C-141 loadmaster training at Altus consisted of academics and the time on the cargo loading simulator. No flight training was accomplished. With the Second Loadmaster program things changed for the better for C-141 loadmasters (C-130's loadmasters have been doing this type of training for years). After academics, cargo loading simulator the loadmaster student then did whole mission scenarios on the LMTD's. That included doing all checklists and cargo loading and off loading. Loading was not just a pallet or two but full cargo loads including rolling stock and pallets. After training on the LMTD's, the students went on to flight training at Altus. It included loading palletized cargo and rolling stock. The only things that the student didn't get to do was home station procedures, some customs training and getting follow on training and flights at the students home station to season them. I am sure that if Altus had the C-141 mission for a few more years the Second Loadmaster program would have matured very nicely. A lot of kinks had already been worked out by the end of C-141 training at Altus (maybe the name would have changed too). The instructor loadmasters at Altus did an outstanding job even as C-141 training drew down. I only wish we had been training this way all along. Getting flight training, driven by C-141 loadmasters instead of pilots was hard to sallow for some. But loadmaster training can drive more flight hours and that benefited all crew positions.
After C-141 training stopped at Altus one of the fuselages was sold for scrap metal (I think) and the other was towed to a spot at the Altus Airport for civilian maintenance training.
642 at the Altus Airport
Hopefully the other loads will fill you in on what I have left out or might have misstated.
On Feb 3, 2006 I got the following additional comments from Tom Morton:
While reading Bill Weeper's notes on the 'Wingless Wonders' (642 and 154) I noticed he said a CLSS team from Tinker did that job. That is incorrect. It was the 653 CLSS from Warner Robins that actually did it. I was on the project (154 crew chief), and worked with those CLSS guys for the whole project. I feel like they should get the credit for it.
I'm stationed at Lajes now. I left CLSS in January which means there is only one 141 guy left in CLSS.
It's killing me to see my airplane go!!!
Tom Morton, MSgt, USAF
I got this not from Frank Laning early this morning:
Tail # 66-0132 will be flown out to AMARC on 12/1 as scheduled. I myself will be one of the FE's on it. This will also be my last flight on the C-141 as I'm retiring this Saturday. It will be a sad occasion indeed, flying one to AMARC and also walking away from one for the last time.
Looking forward to the retirement of 177 in May, maybe hooking up with some old crew members.
In response to the VIP pallet discussion started on November 23rd (scroll down a bit to see that) I got two more photos and the following comments from Bill Weeper.
I saw your request in the C141Heaven Blog about 'VIP Pallets' and thought that the configuration manual would have a decent description of the basic kit. I don't have an AMCR 55-4 C-141 Configuration/Mission Planning manual to show the DV Kit configuration and you should put it on your wish list so that someone can get one for the website.
I never saw a DV kit until I got to Altus AFB. I always called the Altus kit the CINC kit and not a DV kit or VIP pallets. The Altus CINC kit was note the same DV kit that PJ Sim's sent to you for the Blog as you can see from the photos below. The kit that was used at Altus AFB OK almost filled the aircraft (B-model) and didn't look like PJ Sim's photographs (his looked a lot older, don't know what year he took the photo's). I don't know who manufactured it, could have been Lockheed but possibly may have been built locally (don't know). I don't know how many kits were manufactured or if each of the C-141 bases had DV kits (I don't ever remember seeing one at Norton when I was stationed there). The kit at Altus had a square top if I remember correctly.
For the CINC Kit we had a very nice comfort pallet, cooking pallet, staff seating pallet (enclosed), CINC pallet (included conference table, small table for the general and sleeping quarters), staff sleeping quarters pallet (enclosed), at least one set aft facing seats (for Space A Pax), radio operator station (by aft right troop door) and WRSK pallet on the ramp. When I was on the crew the kit had been just overhauled and it was needed very badly. The crew chiefs and others at Altus did a first rate job.
I was on the CINCMAC crew at Altus for a short time when General Fogelman was the CINC (late 80's).
I have attached two photographs:
Me outside the CINC's quarters pointing to my name on the crew list.
Me sitting in the CINC's quarters sitting at the CINC's small table.
The chair that I am sitting in could swivel and slide to the conference table.
It was a nice touch.
Behind where I am sitting was the CINC's sleeping quarters.
I am sure that there are other ex-Altus crewmembers that flew on a lot more CINC missions than I did and can offer you a better description of the CINC kit and have better photographs of it. After Altus AFB came under ATC/AETC the CINC mission moved to McGuire AFB NJ and I am sure that there are some crew members there who were on the CINC crew that can also send you information and photographs.
William H. Weeper Jr.
I'm not really sure where to put this, so it goes in the BLOG for now. A few days ago (a few entries down the page) we were able to share information related to the original Lockheed proposal for the C-141. The cover page referred to "476L":
Never having heard of 476L, and being an intensely curious type, I got to doing a bit of Googlin'. It turns out there's a lot to find. The AF designates various system projects with numbers like these, rather than the particular system or aircraft name (e.g., 476L instead of C-141 or Starlifter). There's a fantastic web-site created by Andreas Parsch, a gentleman from Munich, Germany, that really goes into this in great depth. The site is www.designation-systems.net and has pages and pages of interesting material on all sorts of things you never knew, and which the USAF would probably be just as happy if you didn't ever know.
It would seem logical to assume that most of the project numbers were
assigned sequentially, either as they were approved or funded...but there
seems to have been a freakish sort of numbering system in play back in the
day. Perhaps numbers were re-used when a project died on the vine or they
ran out of numbers .. I can't really say. Here's an example of what I'm
talking about: The C-141 was assigned SS-476L. (SS=Support System) The TF33
engines were assigned 476E. And the C141-B was given 476L.
[Totally unrelated side note: For all you perverts out there, the next project number was 477L, which was a system called "NUDETS". Being a MAC-era crew-dog, I particularly love that one ... but it's not what I thought, of course. Something to do with the Nuclear Detonation, Detection and Reporting System. What a waste of a great project name. And of course, in today's PC world they could NEVER get away with a project name like that, could they? Oh, for the good old days.]
Anyway, getting back on track, if numbers were assigned sequentially wouldn't you think the C-5 would be somewhere north of 476?
No, the C-5 was given project # 410. Did they really dream up the C-5 first, but settle for the C-141 because they could afford it? (Should'a just bought more C-141's in my opinion....)
If anyone knows why these particular two numbers are out of sequence please let me know.
The complete list of projects can be seen at
C-141 Heaven received some photos of the move of this tail number to its final home over the weekend. Please see the for the photos. Scroll towards the bottom of the page for them.
In the early 60's the AF issued a document called SOR 182. This was a
statement of the Air Force requirements for what was to become the C-141.
Lockheed and other manufacturers responded with proposals to the AF
detailing their solutions to the requirements listed in SOR 182. We are
still looking for a copy of the complete SOR 182 document, and are hopeful
that it will turn up and somebody will submit a copy to C141Heaven for
In the mean time, here's a set of links to a 5 documents that comprise Lockheed's proposal to the AF for the C-141. I don't know if this is the complete or final copy or an just interim draft, but be warned, these are MASSIVE PDF files of hundreds of pages and will take a while to download. If you don't have high-speed internet you should probably forget about it until you do. Each is between about 20mb and 50mb in size.
They make for fascinating reading. There are lots of 'concept' drawings of things that never materialized (including a very stealthy looking transport called the "GL-268" that never went anywhere), detailed cost work-ups (did you know that direct labor costs were about $3.00 an hour in 1960, and engineers ran about $4.00?), proposed flight-deck control panel layouts, and so on. There's just massive amounts of material here. There's just no end to how much time you can spend looking over this stuff.
Download them to your local PC for viewing offline. Just "right-click" and "save-as". Use the Adobe Reader to view it, which you can download for free from their web site if you don't already have it installed on your machine.
Notice that the SUMMARY is largest document! Typical. But it does make for the best "reading". Lot's of pictures and all the right buzz-words (the term did not exist in 1960, as far as I know) for the Generals. Documents 2 through 5 are full of a bunch of numbers and theoretical performance charts. I hope they submitted these on recycled paper as there were thousands of pages. Oh yeah, I forgot, that had not been invented yet in 1960!
For the past few months the guest book has been getting hit every day with
lots of crap from spammers, especially from strange Eurpoean countries like
Italy. I have implemented an IP address filtering process of several
thousand known spammers but they are smarter than that I guess.
It's not clear what they think they are gaining by doing this but suspect it is automated in some way as there are dozens of messages with identical text. I go in several times a day and clear out their useless posts. I suspect that the reason they visit is to scour email addresses from the valid entries that appear in the guest book but why they have to leave their stupid mark there with a meaningless post is beyond me. The system automatically purges most 'swear words', ALL web site addresses, and most of the man's man drugs names, gambling, porn, and weight loss drug names, and more are added as they appear.
I've noticed that many of these are very short (e.g., "Nice Site") posts, so from this point forward, posts must between 50 and 1500 characters. If your messages says "Hello, nice site" or some equally useless post like that, it WILL be purged. Anyone who has a real reason to be here should be able to come up with 50 characters of greeting. Even it it is that long, be warned that if it's not related to the C-141 in some way (dates, names, places, times, squadrons you flew with, how much you love the C-141, etc.) it's going to get deleted! It only takes me a split second to purge these sorts of posts, and I show no mercy in doing so. If I could send these jerks down to Gitmo for a little "tropical vacation" they'd be on the next flight.
Whether this will have any beneficial affect in reducing this garbage is unknown but it's worth a shot. There will still be plenty to manually remove even after this change.
A couple of days ago I asked if anyone had any photos of the VIP pallets
they used to roll into the C-141 for big whigs.
Well, at C141Heaven, just "ask and ye shall receive".
As a Captain, I thought I deserved one, but "they" never viewed things the same way I did. I never came even close to seeing one ... until now. It doesn't exactly look like Donald Trump's decked out corporate jet but it had to be better than the red sling coach class seating that I dead-headed around the world in!
Check out these photos submitted by Patrick Sims. His comments follow the photos.
Comments from Patrick:
If my memory serves me correctly, the "Caboose" was about 5 pallets long and held a seating area for staff, a conference room, and a private sleeping area for the General and his companion. Food was prepared by a steward using the standard comfort pallet.
Sorry I don't have any pictures of the conference room or sleeping compartment...the General's Aide forbid me from taking any pictures of them. I do recall the sleeping compartment was pretty decked out...stereo, liquor cabinet, etc. I have no doubt that every General who used it is a member of the Mile-High Club.
If anyone has more information, photos, tech orders, or any Dash-1 sort of
material covering these little add-ons to the C-141 story, please be kind
enough to share them with us all.
email or contact me
Just found this note on the internet (it's AFTER the fact, but hopefully someone got some photos for us):
from "The Journal"/Houston County GA
MUSEUM TO TOW AIRCRAFT DOWN GA. 247
Two large aircraft will be towed down Ga. 247 on Sunday, Nov. 20, from Robins Air Force Base to the Museum of Aviation.
The transfer will bring a B-1B Lancer bomber and a C-141 Starlifter cargo transport to the museum for permanent display. The move will begin at 9 a.m. and take from two to three hours to complete. Traffic on Ga. 247 and near Gate 14 at Robins AFB will be interrupted during the move.
The Museum of Aviation front parking lot will be closed to allow movement of the B-1 into its position in front of the Eagle Building. Vehicles may be parked, however, behind Hangar One inside the Museum main gate.
B-1Bs were assigned to the 116th Bomb Wing at Robins from 1996 to 2002. Sixty-seven of them are still in the active U.S. Air Force inventory assigned to bomb wings at Dyess AFB, Texas, and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.
First designed and flown in the mid-1970s, the B-1B is a highly versatile, multi-mission weapon system that can deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.
B-1s were used in combat in support of operations in Iraq in 1998 and later in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). B-1s dropped nearly 40 percent of the total tonnage during the first six months of OEF. On June 3, 1995, two Dyess AFB B-1Bs completed a historic 36-hour, 13-minute around-the-world mission. The flight brought the total number of world records established by the B-1B to 61.
The C-141 coming to the Museum is the last C-141 to compete Programmed Depot Maintenance at Robins Air Force Base in 2003.
"Uniquely a 'ship of the line', the C-141 has for the past 45 years carried men, supplies and equipment all over the world," said Museum Director Paul Hibbitts Sr. "It represents the hundreds of C-141s that the civilian and military workers here at Robins worked on and supported between 1960 and 2003. Both of these aircraft will be tremendous new additions to our historic aircraft collection."
Recently someone sent me a note about a trip he was able to make during the
Vietnam war period, possibly on 67-0166. To the best of his recollection,
the aircraft was configured for VIP travel.
I have heard about the VIP and communications pallets that could be rolled on to the C-141 but have never seen one. If anybody has any information, photos, tech orders, or any Dash-1 sort of material covering these little add-ons to the C-141 story, please be kind enough to share them with us all.
email or contact me
Here's a link to a planning guide issued by Lockheed. It's a pamphlet with a general description of the aircraft and some charts showing key operational and performance characteristics. You can view this material at this link.
C-141 enthusiast Paul Minert recently sent me a ton of material he has been
collecting for years. I have scanned it and am starting to post it this
The first installment is a report about the C-141 Operational Experience presented by C. H. Cannon of Lockheed at the AIAA Military Aircraft Systems Meeting in Dallas on October 18-19th, 1966. You can view the report at this link.
Somewhere 'over there' (England), submitted by Dave Grant:
It looks like this is a short-term thing, but special arrangements can be made for folks who normally can't get on base (civilians, 'non-retired' ex-military, etc., by calling the museum directly.
TRAVIS AIR MUSEUM OPENING TO THE PUBLIC
By Ian Thompson, Fairfield Daily Republic Newspaper(On Line Edition)
TRAVIS AFB - The Travis Air Museum, the most difficult-to-see museum in Northern California, is opening its doors to the general public to take a free guided tour through aviation history.
Located behind the gates at Travis Air Force Base, the Travis Air Museum is offering one-hour tours starting at 10 a.m. Nov. 10.
Because access to the base is restricted, transportation will be provided onto base from the Cypress Lakes Golf Course, which is located at 5601 Meridian Road near southern Vacaville.
Visitors will be limited to groups of 40 and reservations need to be made by Monday. Call 424-5010 for reservations. Be prepared to show photo identification when you arrive for the tour.
The museum holds hundreds of exhibits on the history of Travis and the role of airlift in the Pacific from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War.
There are exhibits on the space program, the Tuskegee Airmen, the 1942 raid on Tokyo by Air Force legend Jimmy Doolittle and the Women's Air Service pilots.
The museum also has an impressive collection of military aircraft ranging from the World War II-era B-29 Superfortess bomber to the C-141 Starlifter jet transport, the Golden Bear.
Remember when it was the Republicans who said Clinton had decimated the military? Here's a story from the LA Times about the C-17. Now that they've scrapped nearly all the C-141's it would seem we need more airlift capacity .. not less.
BOEING'S LONG BEACH WORKERS MAY PAY PRICE OF DEFENSE CUTS
By Peter Pae, LA Times Staff Writer
The Air Force has scrapped plans to order additional C-17 cargo planes, a decision that could bring Boeing Co. a step closer to shuttering California's last major airplane manufacturing plant in 2008, Pentagon and defense industry sources said Thursday.
Boeing has about 6,500 employees at the Long Beach plant where the four-engine jet, a workhorse in transporting military personnel and heavy equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan war zones, is assembled.
But with the Pentagon facing a budget crunch, the Air Force recently told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it cannot afford to buy any more C-17s beyond the 180 it has ordered, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition they not be identified because the discussions are classified.
Boeing has built 145 C-17s since 1993; the last of the $175-million planes, nicknamed the Globemaster III, is scheduled to be delivered in late 2008.
The Air Force recommendation came after a confidential report concluded that a fleet of 180 C-17s would be sufficient to support military operations, according to Christopher Bolkcom, defense analyst for the Congressional Research Service, who read an unclassified version of the study. The review "says we got what we need," he said.
Rumsfeld has not made a final decision on the C-17 program. But several defense industry analysts believe he is likely to go along with the recommendation. Rumsfeld has called for cutting traditional weapon systems to make the military more agile.
A Pentagon spokesman declined to comment.
The study caught Boeing by surprise because the Air Force had publicly supported placing an order for 42 more C-17s. That would have kept the Long Beach assembly line going until 2012.
Boeing was fairly confident of receiving the additional orders because the C-17 has been used widely for military and humanitarian missions and has support in Congress.
If the C-17 production line closes, it would mark the final chapter in Southern California's golden era of aviation, which began when industry pioneers such as Donald Douglas, Jack Northrop and Howard Hughes took advantage of the temperate weather and a talented pool of engineers to design their new flying machines.
Boeing's vast Long Beach complex, which abuts Long Beach Airport, was built in 1941 by Douglas Aircraft Co. and thrived for decades. Popular commercial airliners, including the DC-3, DC-8 and DC-10, were made in Long Beach.
And at the plant's peak during World War II, a new military aircraft rolled off its assembly lines every hour. Workers in Long Beach made 15,000 aircraft during the war.
If it doesn't get any more orders, Boeing is likely to maintain only skeletal staffing in Long Beach to make repairs to the existing C-17 fleet.
"I'm shocked," said Gloria Armijo, a C-17 mechanic for eight years who is now the financial secretary for UAW Local 148, which represents about 2,600 workers in Long Beach. "I was sure they were going to get the orders."
Armijo said many of the employees are married to co-workers and have an average of 20 years of experience on the job. "There will be two incomes that will be hurting" if the plant is closed, she said.
This gloomy prospect follows an announcement by Boeing in January that it would shut down a Long Beach plant that makes the 717 commercial jetliner.
The last 717 will be delivered next year, leaving the C-17 plant as the state's last major airplane production line.
But the end of the Cold War, and the rise of European aircraft maker Airbus, led to a succession of corporate mergers throughout the U.S. aerospace industry.
Local aerospace manufacturing employment is now about 40,000, down by three-quarters from the late 1980s, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Industry analysts said the C-17 decision marks the first clear sign that the cost of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the hurricane recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast has begun to take its toll on defense spending.
Since 2000, defense spending has been rising by 11% annually, but it is expected to grow by about 2% to 4% in the coming years.
"This is war on the aircraft industrial base," said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for Teal Group Corp. of Fairfax, Va. "If you can't save a no-brainer, must-have program like the C-17, then what can you save?"
The recommendation is likely to face opposition in Congress.
"It would be a huge mistake and potentially harmful to our national security," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said in an e-mail Thursday. "Given the aircraft's outstanding performance in providing airlift support for both wartime and humanitarian missions, I think we should be building more C-17s, not killing this important program."
Shuttering the Long Beach plant would have a ripple effect throughout the aerospace industry in Southern California. More than 500 local firms employ 5,000 workers who make parts for the Globemaster III.
In a statement issued late Thursday, Boeing said it remained "optimistic and hopeful that the Pentagon will keep alive our nation's only remaining military wide-body production line." A Boeing executive said the company would look for another project for the plant, but added, "I haven't heard one mentioned."
After the first C-17 was delivered in 1993, it quickly turned into a versatile aircraft. The plane can carry 171,000 pounds of payload and land on short dirt runways. Its laden range is 2,400 nautical miles, but aerial refueling gives it an unlimited range.
The plane has been used to deliver troops to the battlefield and to fly out casualties. It has hauled some of the military's heaviest equipment, including helicopters, tanks and air defense batteries.
C-17s also transported people, food and medical supplies throughout the Gulf Coast region after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Two more C-141's are due to arrive at DM this month. 66-0250 is due in
tomorrow (Nov 3) and 249 is due to arrive on the 10th. If my numbers are
correct, this will leave only SIX tail numbers still flying at
If you have any interest in the FINAL flight of a C141 you should mark your calendars now and begin making plans to attend the arrival of the Hanoi Taxi (66-0177) at the AF Museum next year.-- This will take place during the weekend of May 5/6/7.- According to Msgt Lucia G Greer, an FE at Wright Patt who is involved with the planning of this event:
- "The weekend of May 5th and 6th 2006 will be our final 141 flight, when we will fly 177 "Hanoi Taxi" over to the Air Force Museum.- Many of the Viet Nam POW's from that original flight will be in attendance and will host a reunion at the museum.- Additionally we want to host a separate reunion of all 141 crewmembers and maintainers during the same weekend.-"
As I understand it the committee will be setting up a web page and other
information about this in the next few weeks. I will post the details and
web links as soon as I get the information.-- I'm planning on using a bunch
of my frequent flier miles for a visit and so should you!
email or contact me
This has absolutely nothing to do with the C-141 (except there is one photo of a C-17) but someone sent in a power-point presentation of some great photos from the 2005 Paris Air Show. Click here to download it. (Note:The file is about 1.7mb so be patient if you have a slow connection.) If you need the Power Point viewer you can get it free from Microsoft's website.
Over the past year I've come across dozens of C-141 related graphics images, trinkets, and 'artsy-fartsy' sort of stuff. Send more if you've got any.
While browsing eBay I located a couple of C-141 stamps. Hopefully the US
Government will see fit to produce a tribute to the finest airlifter ever
Note that this one shows the crew-door on the right side! Those BRITS! They probably land on the left side of the runway too.
for an exciting addition to the cartoon page.
I got a note for someone from Wright-Patterson who said the FINAL overseas
flight of a C-141 will take place next week.
Of course, world events sometimes dictate changes to the best plans and all things are subject to change, but at this point, it's starting to feel like we are watching a loved-one in their final moments on the death bed.
Please : Anyone in a position to take some photos and possibly get some copies of any related documents (flight plan, crew orders, the Form F for that final flight, maintenance write ups on the 781, that sort of thing .. as long as it's not classified) it would be great to get on the site for posterity.
A few photos of the C-141 doing what it does best have started to come in. Check this link for details. If you have more pics of Katrina (or other current C-141 activities) please send them in so we can document the last few months of the C-141 in action. Please contact me: email or contact me for inclusion.
While browsing the web a few nights ago I stumbled on a link to a guy who
does a bit of embroidery (e.g., patches, hats, golf shirts, etc.). It
occurred to me that some of you might be interested in C-141 related items.
I've asked him for some ideas, and now I'm asking for yours. I know nothing about the embroidery business but assume there is probably a minimum order size, perhaps artwork or setup charges, etc. and that we'd collectively get a better price with one large order rather than a small one. I'm not interested in inventorying or selling any of this stuff and am working on the assumption it would come direct from the supplier.
If you have any ideas about what you'd like to see or have experience with this sort of thing please contact me: ( email or contact me ) and we can get the ball rolling. Maybe we could have a 'design contest' or just offer a few ideas and have a vote on the best designs.
A few days ago I got a note from someone who works at DM (Boneyard)
offering to forward a 'Proudly Maintained By' sign salvaged from 66-0147 to
one of three folks who were listed on the sign.
I asked for anyone who might read the note and who new how to contact any of the three guys to do so and let them know the sign was waiting. This morning I got a note from Chris Badman asking for the sign. It should be on the way soon.
Got this note from Frank Laning at Wright-Patterson this evening:
Just to give you a further update from Wright-Patt. Acft # 67-0031 was flown to the AMARC facility on 16 Sep.
It flew to Travis AFB the day prior and then did a fly-by to dedicate their input of the Golden Bear C-141 to the museum and on to AMARC.
We are now left with 8 tails. Just can't believe it's coming to this.
I got a batch of slides from some folks at Altus who were cleaning out a
desk and getting rid of old training materials they no longer had any need
Included in the material was a slide tray full of slides related to some of the C-141 accidents. One of these was , which supposedly crashed near Mildenhal. However, the photo of the tail shows it was 67-0006. Please check out both pages and see what you think. I've checked a number of sources related to this information and all say it was 008 that crashed at Mildenhal. The photo of the tail sure seems to indicate it was 006. I'm pretty sure the info is reversed.
If I have the info regarding these tail numbers backwards or you have any further documentation about these two accidents and the correct tail numbers please let me know.
In the late 1970's MAC initiated a program called Volant Crew. This was
designed to permit engineers to serve as limited qualification navigators,
and to permit copilots to serve as panel operators and possibly scanners
(they were called 'System Operators').
David Jurcsisn found and submitted an old article from the McGuire Airtides base newspaper from 1978 about the "Enlisted Nav's" (part of the Volant Crew program). Here it is:
David Jurcsisn dug up an old brochure published by Lockheed that details
some information about 2779 which was used for the Advanced Radar Test Bed
program. I've put the info on the
Thanks for the material David
I got a note from someone who works at DM (Boneyard). Here's the text:
If anybody who has access to the AF personnel locator system can do a
search for these folks that would be great. Please
contact me : email or contact me
if you find them and we will get the plaque sent to whoever responds
If you haven't visited the Tall-Tales page for a while, there are a few good stories recently added. Check the for them. Scroll to the bottom for the new stories.
There's a bit of updated info regarding .
Lloyd Domeier was the crew chief on NASA 714 for 21 years and sent me a batch of photos related to this tail number. I've put them on a separate page along with his comments.
Lloyd Domeier sent me a Xerox copy of the original C-141A type certificate
issued by the FAA on January 29th, 1965. Sorry for the low
quality but it looks like this might have been about a 10th
generation copy. Here it is! If anyone has a better copy to share, please
send it in.
I'm working on a 'simulated' version of this that will replicate the exact appearance of the original without all the noise. So far it's looking pretty convincing.
Tail # 64-0645 left Wright-Patterson for Davis-Monthan for its last flight
on Thursday, 9/8/2005.
As of 9/10 here's what's left and the planned 'retirement' dates. Events beyond the control of the powers that be may end up causing this schedule to be adjusted. Current flight hours on each tail number is also shown. All are presently flying out of Wright-Patterson.
>th>A/C# >th>Scheduled >th>Hours 67-0031 22-Sep-2005 39,276 65-0250 03-Nov-2005 43,228 65-0249 10-Nov-2005 40,212 66-0132 01-Dec-2005 38,036 65-9412 08-Dec-2005 42,161 64-0637 05-Jan-2006 38,517 64-0620 12-Jan-2006 37,033 67-0166 19-Jan-2006 22,052 66-0177 02-Feb-2006 39,337
Several folks have contacted me regarding the possibility of getting a
space-a slot on one of these retiring C-141s. I have no strings to pull to
make this happen (I left the AF over 20 years ago). Someone at
Wright-Patterson made the comments in the next paragraph regarding this
topic. Of course, as we've seen in the last couple weeks, anything can
happen, and events can overtake the best laid plans. Here's what he had to
"Regarding space-A requests, I don't see that happening. The retirement schedule keeps changing due to problem aircraft and now real world situations. There have been some tail numbers moving up the schedule because they have some serious maintenance issues. Some have gone to AMARC with waivers. We're still flying them every day and parts are slim. The Hanoi Taxi which has been repainted to the gray and white paint scheme only flys stateside. When we take one to AMARC they are completely stripped and we fly them with 2 Pilots, 2 FE's only. Loads haven't been able to go. Plans are in the works though for us to fly one to Travis on 16 Sep to do a fly-by for there dedication of the Golden Bear to their museum. From there it will fly directly to AMARC. I know when McGuire flew their last 141 they took space A's. Maybe for our last AMARC input we might do the same. I don't know. The Hanoi Taxi (177) will be the last one flown, and that will be across the street to the AF museum. A great era coming to an end. I hate to see it. It's a solemn moment taking one to the bone yard."
Wright-Pat's relief role expanding
By Timothy R. Gaffney
Dayton Daily News
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE
Wright-Patterson's role in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts expanded Friday morning when 13 members of the 88th Medical Group took off for Louisiana. They left at 5 a.m. on a C-141C transport jet flown by the 445th Airlift Wing, which is also based on Wright-Patterson.
It was the second airlift mission the Air Force Reserve wing has flown to support relief efforts. A flight crew and an aeromedical evacuation team flew to New Orleans Thursday morning and evacuated 85 medical patients to Texas. The National Air and Space Intelligence Center is also supporting the growing military relief effort by processing photoreconnaissance film brought in Thursday evening. An OC-135 reconnaissance plane from Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska flew over the disaster area on a photographic mapping mission. It took pictures with a special camera that uses thousand-foot-long rolls of film. NASIC has one of the few facilities capable of developing the film and making images from it. Base spokeswoman Lt. Kristy Rochon said the plane had to stay at Wright-Patterson overnight while a fuel leak was repaired, but it took off Friday morning on another image-gathering flight. Where the medical group will be deployed in Louisiana wasn't immediately clear, Rochon said. She said the members also don't know how long they will be there. The airplane that flew them is known as the Hanoi Taxi. It was the first airplane to return freed U.S. prisoners of war from North Vietnam in the 1970s. The airplane stands out from other gray C-141s in the white-and-gray paint scheme of the Vietnam era, which has prompted crews to call it the "White Bird." Wright-Patterson has extensive medical resources. The base hospital is a regional medical center for the Air Force. The 88th Medical Group deploys members worldwide to support wartime efforts and disaster relief. The airlift wing's C-141s are designed to be converted to carry medical patients, and aeromedical evacuation crews have been flying sick and wounded troops out of Iraq. Wright-Patterson is also a regional authority for the National Disaster Medical System, according to Greater Dayton Hospital Association CEO Bryan Bucklew. Thursday evening, Bucklew said hurricane victims who need medical care might be flown to Wright-Patterson and distributed among the region's 19 hospitals.
Contact Timothy Gaffney at (937) 225-2390.
Thanks to Dave Grant for pointing out this article.
Dave also sent along a photo of 66-0177 landing at Dobbins ARB, GA (outside Atlanta) carrying Hurricane Katrina patients.
Got a note today from someone at Wright-Patterson.
Been looking at your website today and noticed it needs updating for tails still flying. Here at Wright-Patt we have the last 10 flying. They are:
66-0177 (Hanoi taxi)
67-0166 (last 141 built, only has 22,000 hrs)
They will all be taken to AMARC by 19 Jan 06, with the Hanoi Taxi going to the AF Museum shortly after. We have one more month flying the Iraq Air-Evac missions and now started doing the Hurricane Katrina Air-Evacs. I'm retiring in Dec. Twenty nine years I've been flying the C-141 and I guess we'll go out together.
If anyone reading this blog sees any C-141's in the air in and around the Katrina mess please snap some photos and send them in. The C-141 will not be with us much longer! Throughout its whole lifetime, the aircraft has excelled at these sorts of humanitarian missions...and to the end it looks like it's going to continue to do so!
I just uncovered some 'lost' artwork and other materials that I have been frantically searching for since I started C-141 Heaven a year ago. I knew they were somewhere in the pile, and by pure chance they floated to top yesterday. There's a new story about SOF DUTY, and my ATTITUDE PROBLEM. on the tall tales pages page as a result. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent stories.
Ron Payne was a loadmaster at the 75th MAS at Travis from 1966-1970. In
1968 Martin Luther King was assassinated, and there were major riots during
the following few days.
Ron sent me a CD full of photos of his experiences during this domestic crisis. I've posted them on the page. Scroll to the bottom for the most recent stories.
The new site format uses "Frames" to keep the site index in view on the left at all times. This should make browsing a bit easier and reduce the amount of maintenance I need to do on the site links. This change may take a bit of time to be fully implemented on all pages so if you run into any broken or goofy link situations, please let me know: email or contact me
We've got a few new ones for your reading pleasure. Check the link. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the most recently added items.
If you have been reading the blog for a while you may remember a discussion
of the status of tail number 67-0011. This aircraft was "abandoned" at
North AFB (South Carolina).
It has now been destroyed, probably not as artfully as they do at the Boneyard in Tucson (they have a LOT more practice), but certainly as throughly. Read the entire story .
We have been promised more photos of this aircraft, including some shots of it when it was "Air Force One", the only C-141 to ever have been so designated. When they are available I will post them on the 011 page.
These were found while browsing around on eBay at 3am recently. I don't want to start a bidding war, but I love these patches:
Do you think this is an official patch? The way the war's going,
perhaps they are driving our dedicated AMC crews to drink
(before they get to 'Southwest Asia', of course).
When I was in the AF it was MAC, and we had the Midnight Air Command patch.
Those are some ugly looking toes, pointing in BOTH directions.
Another cool one:
Len Feichtinger sent me a photo of
and indicated that the
web page on that tail number showed the aircraft was destroyed in Bolivia
(CFIT) about 3 months prior to the time his photo was taken. He noted "I
guess every series of aircraft needs a ghost plane and maybe this is the
Well, if only it were true it would be a great story. The problem is my technique for creating these web pages. Basically I 'clone' one page into the next in my editor. I mistakenly saved the page for 254 from a previously existing page devoted to , which was in fact the aircraft that crashed in Bolivia. I forgot to remove the info about 274's demise from the 254 page.
Thanks Len for pointing out the error and for the only photo we have so far of 254.
Absolutely one of the EARLIEST photos of this tail number on the ramp at Dulles and a three more taken this week at Edwards AFB, haven added at this link.
Frank Huskin submitted a story about a medivac mission. You can read it at this link.
Click here for my latest eBay treasure which I found last week. It arrived today.
Instead of buying my wife a new pair of shoes or some jewelry I just signed
up for another big hunk of disk space and bandwidth. As a result, the
movies which were removed some time ago due to space and bandwidth limits
have been restored for your viewing enjoyment. Check the
CRAZY STUFF page for the list. Note that
not all of these are C-141 related but they are fun in one way or the
Dave Grant sent a copy of the article below.
Thanks to Thomas M. Dickerson for a heads-up about an article from the
Sheppard AFB Senator (base newspaper) regarding the final class of C-141
for a link to the story.
These are in the new 'thumbnails' format I will be applying to all the
major sections of the photo pages for the generic (not specific tail number
views). Sorry for a few duplicates .. have not had time to weed them out.
There are also a few stray photos of C-130's and other misc photos here and
there that don't really belong here. They are just here to keep you on your
toes. Some these individual photos will be moved to tail number specific
pages as I get the time.
Over 100 photos of C-141's doing airdrops can be found at this link.
Check this link for Advertising. (Hey, it's not mine! It's Lockheed stuff and others for when the C-141 was being sold to the AF decision makers and congress.
Click this link for views of the C-141 cockpit area.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from above.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from below.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from left side.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from right side.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from head on.
Click this link for views of the C-141 from behind.
Click this link for views of the C-141 loading/unloading ops.
There's lots more to come in the next few weeks.
On June 3rd, 65-0248 departed Davis-Monthan for it's REAL Final Flight. It
had come to Tucson a few months ago and was sitting in the desert waiting
its fate. Strings were pulled and it was sent to Robins to become part of
their museum. A crew from Wright-Patterson came out and got the aircraft
ready for flight then flew it to Robins. The following link has some photos
of the aircraft following its arrival at Robins. These were taken by Dave
Grant as far as I know.
I'm expecting some more photos of the 'get ready' process and the flight back to Robins that were taken by the crew. These should arrive in a week or so and will be posted along with the photos below when I get them.
Click Here for the photos
Phil Kovaric, who works at DM, found a set of flight orders stuck on the
bulkhead wall from the last crew to fly 66-0131 . Click on the thumbnail
image below for a full size view. It appears this was way back in 2002 from
the date on the orders.
As of today, I have no photos of 131.
A few weeks ago 50248 was flown to DM from March AFB. Like all the others I
expected it was headed for the grinder. As it turns out, according to my
highly placed spy network, Wright-Patterson is putting together a crew to
come out to DM and get this tail number ready to fly to Warner-Robins where
it will become a museum piece.
I don't quite understand why they would have bothered to drop it here in Tucson rather than simply fly it straight to Warner-Robins as the added cost of two 'final flights' seems like a real waste. Logic would suggest (I know...this is the Air Force) that this was a decision made AFTER the aircraft landed at DM. If you have any insight or info on this topic please contact me: email or contact me .
I've been pretty much occupied with work matters and was a bit shocked to
see there has been no posting on the site for almost 2 months. I'm back in
town and have some time so expect to see a bit more new photos and news
here over the next few days/weeks.
Hello: I am hoping you can pass this message along to anyone you know who can help Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation spearhead the funding to restore the C-141, Golden Bear. I am their VP/Editor/Membership person. My husband flew C-141's at Travis for about a year and the rest of the time flew C-5's. So, I have a personal stake in telling the airlift story. Thanks, Denell Burks
For immediate press release.
Campaign to save the C-141, Golden Bear
The Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation is spearheading the fundraising effort to restore the C-141, Golden Bear.
The Travis Air Museum at Travis Air Force Base has in its collection the one-of-a-kind C-141 GOLDEN BEAR; 63-8088. Lockheed's C-141 Starlifters joined the United States Air Force inventory 40 years ago in 1965 and with the C-5, durably formed the backbone of international military airlift for more than three decades. Among all aircraft, our GOLDEN BEAR is the most notable.
- It was the first operational C-141 and the first assigned to Travis.
- The Lockheed GOLDEN BEAR was our first Starlifter to fly and land in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines.
- It was the first C-141 to med-evac wounded Americans from Vietnam to the US, in this case flying them from Clark Air Base in the Philippines to Travis.
- The GOLDEN BEAR was our first C-141 to fly into Saigon, initiating a mammoth shuttle service between Travis and Vietnam that lasted several years.
- In addition, after the late 60s, the GOLDEN BEAR flew in support of every major military contingency and humanitarian operation in which Travis participated around the globe. These operations included military flights to Panama, Honduras, and Grenada and the airlift of relief to victims of natural disasters in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Mexico City.
- In 1973, the California GOLDEN BEAR very significantly and safely brought home 566 military and 25 civilian prisoners of war from North Vietnam.
The GOLDEN BEAR has long been in storage at Travis and has suffered from exposure to the elements. The Travis Air Museum and Jimmy Doolittle Education Foundation, with support from the 60th Air Mobility Wing Civil Engineers, plan to restore this historic aircraft. We will proudly display the California GOLDEN BEAR at Travis’ premier intersection between our new 350-room state-of-the-art lodging facility and the 15th Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. The cost of restoration, and placement on exhibit of the original GOLDEN BEAR will be approximately $38,000. This 30-day project includes repainting, movement of the aircraft and site preparation, such as lighting and landscaping.
The Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation, seeks assistance in raising sufficient funds and/or donating supplies and materials to preserve this aircraft. All donations to the Doolittle Foundation for this purpose are tax-exempt—tax ID #94-2863472. All donors who contribute $2,500 or more will be recognized for their help at the display site, which, with its historical panels, will become a focal point for many base and community events.
Checks in any amount should be made out to the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation and sent to
Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation
PO Box 1565
Travis AFB, CA 94535
For additional information please contact the Travis Air Museum at 707 424-5606.
I pleaded with my ISP and got them to triple the allotted disk space and
bandwidth for C141heaven.com for no additional fee (I pay for this from my
own pocket...no ads support the site).
The extra space will allow me to post a bunch of stuff I have had to hold back because the site was out of space. For those of you who have submitted photos or other materials and wondered where it went, this was the reason it was not getting out there. I was out of space on the web site. Please check back over the next few weeks for lots more stuff!
I've managed to get almost 100% of the pictures I have received of aircraft
in the 67-xxxx series posted. At this point, there's only a single tail
number (67-0023) in this group that I don't have a picture or other
information on. If you have any more photos or other information on ANY of
these aircraft please submit it for posting.
Check the link for the latest.
There's also a bit more of box lunch info at the bottom of his story.
Bill Weeper submitted a CD full of stuff some time ago and I've just gotten around to adding some of the photos of the fire on the ground at 29 Palms that were among his materials (after a gentle prodding from him wondering what was taking so long for me to get them out there.) Here's the link to the new pictures:
If you have sent anything in and are wondering why it takes a while for me to get it posted click here for one excuse. Also, I still work, more or less full time, and try to play golf once in a while too. And I have, according to my wife, some sort of attention deficit disorder! Something interesting pops up here, or there, and I'm off on a tangent. Please be patient with me.
If anyone has time to do a bit of research it would interesting to track
down some of the lesser-known of these firms and see what they are up to
now, who might have been acquired by larger firms, and which are 'gone for
If you have any info of this sort, please pass it along.
George Miller mailed me a Lockheed PR brochure from the 'early days'. Check
out this link:
Travis AFB is starting a project to restore the Golden Bear to its original
glory. Here's a couple of stories about the project.
If you live in the Travis area and are looking to get up close and personal with the C-141 you might be interested in donating some of your time to this project.
This article is from the Travis AFB TAILWINDS Newspaper
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED TO REPAINT "GOLDEN BEAR"
Dr. Gary Leiser, Travis Air Museum Director
Lt. Col. Dennis Daley, 60th MXG Deputy Commander
Team Travis is looking for volunteers to help repaint the C-141 GOLDEN BEAR, one of the most historic aircraft flown at Travis and in the Air Force.
The Golden Bear made its last flight into Travis in June 1996 and was accessioned by the Travis Air Museum the following month. Since then, it has rested at the western end of the ramp, where it has been used periodically for medical evacuation training. It has also been opened for airshows and a few special events.
On April 23, 1965, with General Howell Estes, commander of Military Air Transport Service, at the controls, the aircraft made its arrival at Travis. This landing marked the turnover of the first Lockheed Starlifter to an operational airlift unit of the United States Air Force.
The aircraft joined the 44th Air Transport Squadron of the 1501st Air Transport Wing.
Along with the acquisition of the Golden Bear, the base also became the headquarters for the C-141, "Lead the Force Joint Task Force", which was responsible for evaluating the long-term operational performance of the new aircraft. The Golden Bear was included in the evaluation and was programmed to fly 2,500 hours a year for five years, about two years ahead of the normal flying schedule.
The Golden Bear immediately went to work, chalking several accomplishments in its first year of operation. In May, it was the first Starlifter to fly and land in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines, blazing the trail for other C-141s establishing routes around the Pacific.
In June, it was the back-up plane for a premiere appearance at the Paris International Air Show. On July 9, it became the first C-141 to be reconfigured with pallets and litters to medevac wounded troops from Vietnam to the U.S., flying them from Clark Air Base, Philippines to Travis. On Aug. 10, it was the first C-141 to fly into Saigon, initiating the mammoth shuttle service between Travis and Vietnam which began a month later, taking cargo westbound and casualties eastbound.
Since the late 1960s, the Golden Bear flew in almost every major military contingency and humanitarian operation in which Travis participated. These operations included military flights to Southwest Asia, Panama, Honduras and Grenada and relief efforts to victims of natural disasters in Sudan, Ethiopia and Mexico City.
In 1973, it brought home 566 military and 25 civilian prisoners of war from North Vietnam.
The aircraft was also the first of its fleet to receive modification.
In 1980, the Golden Bear returned to its birthplace, Marietta, Ga., where it underwent modifications adding 23 feet to its length and providing it with the capability for in-flight refueling. These modifications transformed the aircraft into a C-141B.
The Golden Bear team is looking for volunteers to help prepare the aircraft's surface for paint [no skills required] as well as experienced painters to apply the historic grey and white paint scheme for public display.
"The display will provide a peaceful place for the Travis community to reflect on some of the C-141's historical highlights", said 1st Lieutenant Gary Charland, deputy chief of Wing Special Programs and project volunteer.
For more information or to volunteer, please contact Senior Master Sgt. Terry Kirkbride at 424-0912 or Master Sgt. Steve Kopf at 424-4721.
This article is from the Daily Republic, a local paper based near Travis
>strong>TRAVIS NEEDS HELP WITH GOLDEN BEAR
By Ian Thompson, Daily Republic
FAIRFIELD - Do you want to spend a few days painting a piece of Air Force history?
Travis Air Museum and Travis Air Force Base are looking for volunteers to help them prep and repaint the Golden Bear, the first C-141 Starlifter jet transport to go on active duty, in its original gray-and-white paint scheme.
The 40-year-old aircraft is now parked on the western end of the base's ramp, where it has been opened for air shows and public events, and occasionally used for medical evacuation training.
Travis and museum members are fixing up the aircraft to put it on public display, according to a Travis Public Affairs news item.
"The display will provide a peaceful place for the Travis community to reflect on some of the C-141's historical highlights," said 1st Lt. Gary Charland, deputy chief of special programs and project volunteer, in the news item.
Volunteers need to be at least 18 and are required to fill out a volunteer packet. Base access will be worked out after contacting the repainting team.
No special skills are required to prepare the Golden Bear's surface for repainting. Experienced painters are being sought to put on the gray-and-white paint scheme. Work on the Golden Bear will primarily be done during weekdays.
The Golden Bear arrived at Travis on April 23, 1965, as the first C-141 to be assigned to an operational airlift unit, the 44th Air Transport Squadron of the 1501st Air Transport Wing.
It and other C-141s soon became the workhorse for American airlift forces. The Golden Bear was involved in almost every military and humanitarian mission around the world including bringing home the POWs from Vietnam in 1973.
The Golden Bear made its last flight in June 1996 and was put on loan to the Travis Air Museum the following month.
For more information or to volunteer, call Senior Master Sgt. Terry Kirkbride at 424-0912 or Master Sgt. Steve Kopf at 424-4721.
I got the information below yesterday via email:
To all You "Wing-Nuts", if you want a Last Ride, here's the schedule some of you have been asking about.
You retirees have to sign up at the March ARB passenger service office for Davis-Monthan AFB.
But you'll be on you own for the return ..no chase plane even for the crews.
and no, you cannot fly in the Air Show.
APRIL 2005 MARCH ARB FINAL FLIGHTS
2 April 05: Fly-by for Riverside Airport Airshow.
14 April 05: AMARC input (tail # 650229)
19 April 05: AMARC input (tail # 650248)
22 April 05: AMARC input (tail # 659414)
26 April 05: AMARC input (tail # 660152)
PAUL C. PFEIFER, GS-9, AFRC
1250 GRAEBER ST., WS # 102
MARCH ARB, CA 92518-1721
DSN: 447-2856 COMM: 951-655-2856 FAX: 447-2227
Back in December I got an email from a crewmember who was on the plane the day 67-0029 departed the runway at Iwakuni. I promised him I'd add his comments to the page and finally got around to it. Here's the link to the info on
In the past week or so I got an email from a guy who lives down near Charleston AFB, SC. He said that there is a C-141 out at a place called "North AFB just sitting there, abandoned". Well, I never heard of North AFB, but he went there over the past weekend and took some photos which are still 'in the mail'. Turns out there is a place called North South Carolina. 67-0011 is there, just like he said. See the for details and when I get the photos from him I'll post them right away.
Somebody sent in a big pile of official USAF slides the other day. I've
been scanning them and cleaning them up a bit. It's sort of odd, but a
large percentage of these have the tail numbers obliterated (not very well
in most cases). For example:
This is tail number 65-0276...looks like it's getting ready for an air-drop. For some reason the AF tried to hide the tail number by PhotoShopping out the '7' (but not very masterfully as it is easily readable if you blow up the photo). There must be some obscure AF reg about showing tail numbers of a/c on operational missions. Read on to find out how far this idiotic policy was taken.
Here's another one. In this case, the tail-number for the C-141 is blanked out well enough that I can't make it out at all. 6601??. But the tail number for the C-17 parked to its left was clearly readable in the hi-res scan (23292) although it'd probably not be readable in the lower res version posted here. Go figure.
OK, let's assume there's a valid reason (even though I can't think of one) not to show tail numbers in official USAF photos. But here's a photo of a MODEL of a C-141 (I think it's either at McGuire or Charleston, not sure) and they removed the tail number! That seems to be taking it a bit too far, don't you think? They must think Osama might try to put mini-me in this thing and fly into another one of our sky-scrapers (but only if he knew the tail number).
The Berlin Airlift Historical
Foundation is dedicated to preserving the memory and legacy of one of
the greatest humanitarian/aviation events in history.
Their mission is to preserve this memory by preserving several aircraft used in the great event and creating "Flying Memorials and Classrooms" with the purpose of educating the public about this pivotal, yet forgotten, event in world history.
This has nothing to do with C-141's but I ran across a news item about
Google having bought a company called KEYHOLE.COM. You have to see it to
believe it, so here's the link:
Unless you've been working for the NSA or CIA it's got to be the coolest thing you've ever seen. Here's just a couple of little previews:
A story about revenge has been posted: .
A couple of links to paratrooper sites added to the .