SERIAL NUMBER: 56-1999
Span: 179 ft. 8 in.
Length: 157 ft. 6 in.
Height: 48 ft. 8 in.
Weight: 282,000 lbs. maximum
Maximum speed: 398 mph
Cruising speed: 311 mph
Ceiling: 23,300 ft.
Range: 4,027 statute miles
Engines: Four Pratt & Whitney T34s of 7,000 hp each
History of the C-133 "Cargomaster"
John M. Lacomia, 60th Air Mobility Wing History Office, reported in an 8/29/2008 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. press release that the C-133 flew at Travis from 1958 until its departure in 1971.
The 84th Squadron moved to Travis AFB in 1953, where it was equipped with long range C-124 "Globemaster II" intercontinental transports. The unit flew worldwide strategic transport missions under the Western Transport Air Force. It was re-equipped with the C-133B “Cargomaster” very heavy strategic transport aircraft in 1958, and continued worldwide transport operations until July 1971 when the C-133s were retired.
The Cargomaster was the largest turboprop transport to be used by the United States Air Force. At over 157 feet long with a wingspan of 179 feet, plus its four Pratt and Whitney T34-P-7WA engines rated each at 6,500 horsepower, the aircraft was able to do what was considered impossible at the time. There were only 50 Cargomasters produced; 35 “A Models” and 15 “B Models.” It was the first aircraft in Air Force history to go directly into production without any prototypes.
Douglas C-133A "Cargomaster" Taxiing
The aircraft was flown only at Travis and Dover Air Force Bases for the 1501st (later the 60 MAW) and 1607th (later the 436 MAW) Air Transport Wings. Three squadrons flew the aircraft that included the 1st, 39th and 84th Air Transport Squadron (later military airlift squadrons).
As a result of its design, the C-133 was capable of carrying large payloads that included transporting the Atlas, Titan and Minuteman ballistic missiles. The C-133 would also do work for NASA transporting Atlas, Saturn and Titan rockets to Cape Canaveral as the launch booster for the Gemini, Mercury and then the Apollo space programs.
The first C-133A arrived at Travis on Oct. 17, 1958 and was dubbed the “State of California” and was assigned to the 84th Air Transport Squadron of the 1501st Air Transport Wing. The last Cargomaster, a C-133B departed Travis on July 30, 1971 for the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.
The C-133A (Tail Number 56-1999) was assigned to Travis from February thru November 1960. It was the last Cargomaster in flyable condition and is on permanent static display at the Travis Heritage Center.
N199AB as it was re-dubbed on Dec. 6, 1975 was purchased by Maurice Carlson for the Cargomaster Corporation and was flown to Alaska to haul cargo for the Alaskan Pipeline. Forty-eight years after its departure from Travis, it returned to a base that it called home for the last time.
Plane Returns to Travis
By Master Sgt. Anthony Borrelli 60TH AIR MOBILITY WING MUSEUM
The Alaskan sky was dark and overcast and Terry pulled the collar up on his brown leather jacket to keep the chill out. This was going to be a big day for him. He was far from home. A little anxious, a little excited, and one could say even a little nervous. His steps were heavy as he walked out on the barren flightline and thought about what he might be getting into. What could he say? What would he do? The questions went round and round in his head, a chaotic jumble of words, but before he could grasp his thoughts and get a handle on things, he saw her.
She stood there all alone. She was weathered, cold and lost. She was pushing more than 17,000 hours of flight time and her days of flying were now numbered. She was missing her markings and looked tired, but there was no mistaking that she was the one. Terry was speechless. He approached her slowly, put his hand out to greet her and like destiny and knew without a doubt, that their lives would never be the same again.
Douglas C-133 "Cargomaster" Landing
From that timeless moment on, the Travis Heritage Center, and the men, women and families of the 84th Military Airlift Squadron devoted their time and efforts to bring the C-133 "Cargomaster" 56-1999, home. In no time, the arrangements and the funding for the long trip from Alaska to Travis were made and in August 2008, the last flying C-133 touched down at the 2008 Travis Air Expo. Terry Juran, the museum director at the time, was there to greet her as well, and he had the sole honor of being the last crew chief to block a C-133.
For 13 years the C-133 served our Air Force as the first wide-body cargo aircraft. Only 50 of these magnificent aircraft were ever made and unfortunately only seven remain in existence. They courageously served our Air Force from 1958 to 1971 until they were replaced by the C-141 "Starlifter" and later overshadowed by the C-5 "Galaxy" and C- 17 "Globemaster III". NASA referred to her as the first step into space as she carried booster engines for the Mercury Gemini Space Program, and on several occasions she carried the Apollo space capsule. More than anything else though, the C-133 was the airplane of the 84th MAS stationed at Travis.
On Saturday, 15 Mar 2010, the 84th MAS celebrated their reunion at the Travis Heritage Center where their honored guest was, their long lost love, the C-133 "Cargomaster". This magnificent aircraft, tail number 56-1999, which flew out of Travis only from February to November 1960, was the main attraction for this occasion. Also on that day, the Travis Air Museum presented their newest display dedicated to the men and women who sacrificed, served and supported this beautiful aircraft and to those who donated funds to bring this beauty home.
Travis AFB 2008: C-133 "Cargomaster" - Its Final Landing
So there it is, love lost, love returned and a love affair remembered. Like a match made in heaven, Travis and the C-133 "Cargomaster" are reunited.
Information derived from, “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico, copyright Travis AFB Historical Society and Travis AFB Heritage Center Foundation.
This book is available from the Travis Heritage Center gift shop.