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Warbird Tech Series Vol. 39

Lockheed C-141


Frederick A. Johnsen



S u m m a r y

Title: Warbird Tech Series Volume 39 Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
ISBN: 1580070809
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 104 pages
Price: USD$16.95 from the Specialty Press Website
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Detailed history of the type from inception to its sunset years.
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Ken Bowes

Warbird Tech's Lockheed C-141 Starlifter will be available online from Squadron

F i r s t   L o o k


In the late 1950s it was realised that the global commitments of the United States military, with the consequent requirement for rapidly deploying forces, were outstripping the capability of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) of the USAF. MATS Commander, GEN Tunner, set out a set of visionary requirements for a new USAF airlifter which after much political and military to-ing and fro-ing resulted in the C-141. This aircraft was to build on the success of the C-130 with the range and speed of a jet aircraft and achieved this aim from day one.

Perhaps the greatest improvement made was to ensure that the undercarriage did not intrude into the payload area. As anyone who has travelled for six hours with their knees locked between those of the passenger opposite in the wheel-well area of the C-130 can attest, this must have been a fantastic improvement for troops. That said the true improvement was to adopt a high-wing layout, allowing loading and unloading from normal truckbed heights and unobstructed roll on and off of vehicles under the t-tail. This configuration set the standard for all military air-lifters on both sides of the iron curtain.

The C-141 in all its guises is well covered in this book. Not just the C-141A, B and C transport models but also the variety of special mission aircraft such as the NC-141A that towed an F-106 aloft in NASA’s Project Eclipse in 1997/98. A glance through the contents highlights that there will be something to be found for everyone in this volume from origins to technical description, colours and markings to flying the aircraft. Of particular interest is the chapter entitled “What Might Have Been” which details such design proposals as an air defence missile launcher (in essence and airborne SAM system), conventional bomber carrying 54 000lbs of bombs, air to air refuelling tanker to replace the KC-130 and AEW&C platform amongst others. The eight pages of colour also provide some tantalising modelling subjects including desert camouflage trials and the ghost gray trials scheme of the late 1970’s reminiscent of the current day USMC KC-130.
Concluding the book are three useful appendices. These are where the reader will find the facts and figures including full serial list for all Starlifters produced, a run down on the location and status of all preserved airframes and finally two pages with a chronology of key dates in the history of the Starlifter from the call for bids in 1960 to design a new generation transport until Mid-2004 as some of the 24 remaining USAF Starlifters continued missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This is an excellent and enviable record for any operational type.
This Warbird Tech Volume is a very detailed look at the history and employment of the type, with numerous colour and black and white photographs coupled with drawings useful to the modeller. It will prove a very useful volume for anyone who wishes to build a replica of the C-141, although unfortunately unless the tigers of the Far East come to our rescue some time soon, the various kits available have shortcomings in terms of age, scale or accuracy.
The book will serve both history buffs and modellers well.  


Thanks to Karin of Specialty Press for the review sample

Review Copyright © 2005 by Ken Bowes
This Page Created on 04 August, 2005
Last updated 04 August, 2005

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