After 13 years of meticulous restoration work by a team of passionate volunteers, the Aviation History & Technology Center in Marietta dedicated Lockheed Aircraft’s original YC-141B prototype StarLifter on Saturday, as a monument to the men and women who designed, built, maintained and flew this historic aircraft over four decades of service with the Air Force.
“She’s back home where she came from,” mused Frank Hadden, 87, a retired test pilot from Marietta who was among the guests at the ceremony. Hadden, who worked at the Lockheed plant for 37 years, piloted the plane when it was first rolled out in December 1963.
The C-141 StarLifter, which served as the mainstay of U.S. military airlift from 1965 to 2006, was restored and installed as a permanent display at the outdoor museum to honor the men and women who designed, built, maintained and flew America’s first jet-powered strategic airlift aircraft.
Of the 285 StarLifters built at the Lockheed plant in Marietta, only 12 remain. “60186,” the production number assigned to this aircraft, was the first to be “stretched,” adding over 23 feet to the fuselage, allowing for more cargo space, and earning it the designation as the YC-141B.
“When it rolled down the runway, this aircraft had many of you at the controls,” Brad Hawkins, spokesman for the history center, told the crowd of aircraft engineers, navigators and pilots who attended the dedication.