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Why Wasn't The C-141 Ever An Airliner?  
User currently offlineMatt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 43
Posted (16 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2439 times:

Can anyone tell me why Lockheed never offered the C-141 in a Commercial Airliner version? I read somewhere that back in the early '70's, they actually considered doing that. It is a fine tactical military transport, and I would think it would have offered some good competition to the 747 when it first came out.
Can anyone shed some light or comment on this?

3 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineStarship From South Africa, joined Nov 1999, 1098 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (16 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2380 times:

Hi Matt,

I read somewhere as well that pilots hate to fly them and that they stink (of fuel?). In the air force I guess you just have to fly them; in airline use, maybe the pilots would have just changed jobs!


Behind every "no" is a "yes"
User currently offlineUPS Pilot From United States of America, joined May 1999, 871 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (16 years 5 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 2389 times:

I can't speak of the C-141. The C-17 is one incredible aircraft. It's like the F-15 of transports. I would really welcome this in commercial or cargo use. I know that MD was marketing it under the MD-17 but I never saw anything about it since.

User currently offlineStarship From South Africa, joined Nov 1999, 1098 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (16 years 5 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2370 times:

I checked my files and note that Lockheed had the Starlifter tested and certificated to meet the FAA's standards for civil airline operations. While I do not think that they had passenger operation in mind in the short term, the fact that it offered easier loading and unloading than its 707 and DC-8 rivals meant that Lockheed could offer the Starlifter to civil cargo operators as a serious alternative to Boeing and Douglas.

Incidentally a civil version was ordered by Slick Airways, but they were absorbed by Airlift International and the order was cancelled, probably because the 707's and DC-8's offered a far superior payload, not to mention cheaper operating costs.

The civil-registered Starlifter was transferred to NASA, where it served as a flying laboratory.

So, by deduction, it would appear that the Starlifter was expensive to operate, while its competitors could lift a 50% greater payload. In service, however, it was discovered that the Starlifter's hold was full before the weight limit had been reached and this led to a fuselage stretch with plugs inserted fore and aft of the wing and thus the C-141B was born in 1977. All pre-'77 aircraft were then up-graded to 'B' specifications.

By then the Boeing 747 had been in airline operation for 7 years and Lockeed had long since introduced the Tristar and therein lies your answer. There was simply no need for it.


Behind every "no" is a "yes"
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