Matt D From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 9502 posts, RR: 42 Posted (16 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2295 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?
UPS Pilot From United States of America, joined May 1999, 871 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (16 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2245 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.
Starship From South Africa, joined Nov 1999, 1098 posts, RR: 13
Reply 3, posted (16 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2226 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.