Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
...from Key Publishing, via Pen & Sword
Title: Lockheed C-141 Starlifter
Author: Bob Archer
Publisher: Key Publishing
A 96-page soft-cover book from Key Publishing taking a close look at the story of one of the great Cold War transport aircraft built by Lockheed for the USAF. The Starlifter was the one in the middle, from the smaller C-130 Hercules and the even larger C-5 Galaxy.
The 8 chapters take us from the first production examples which first C-141A rolled off the production line in 1961 before extensive testing and delivery to the Air Force. 284 followed, at what I found a surprising rate for such a large aircraft, at one every 5 days. They entered service in 1964 and the rest of the book takes us through their story, up until the last one was retired in 2006. The Starlifter went through some upgrade programmes, including extensions to the fuselage with the C-141B. There are also a great variety of colour schemes which we see in the many photos throughout the book, from bare metal, through grey and white, the dark multi-colours of European 1 and the final overall grey schemes of the later years. It also includes details of all the units which operated the Starlifter over many years of service, many of which are illustrated in the photo collection, The aircraft served with regular USAF units, also with Reserve units, and in the final stages of their service life, with National Guard units, before their retirement to the AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. Amongst their operational use there was one in 'combat' in Vietnam, landing under fire, and another which was hi-jacked as well.
Some great stories amidst a long service life and an aircraft for which the flight and ground crews clearly held in high regard. The colours and markings illustrated throughout the book will be enjoyed by modellers and aviation enthusiasts alike.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for this review copy, as they are distributors for the Key Publishing series of books.