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Otherwise, the procedures and characteristics are the same as the standard Stratocruiser. It's a Plane: One man's obsession, it helped get us to the moon Tripp, Robert S. Spring 2002, American Heritage of Invention and Technology "Boeing 377 Pregnant Guppy" by Kenneth W. Shanaberger. Data from Jane's All The Worlds Aircraft 1965–66,[6] Jane's All The Worlds Aircraft 1971–72[7], Outsize cargo conversion of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. I am working on a project which started with the stress analysis provided by Strato. [1] The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. London. The Super Guppy is the descendant of the Pregnant Guppy, the first Guppy aircraft produced by the company. "Model 377 Stratocruiser Commercial Transport",, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 27 November 2020, at 05:26. Built from a heavily modified KC-97 Stratotanker, the Pregnant Guppy featured the largest cargo compartment of any aircraft ever built. The NASA ocean-going tug, Apollo, loaded with an S1C rocket stage. A better solution than sea lift had to be found. NASA's Flight Research Center assisted in certification testing of the first Pregnant Guppy in 1962. Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy byl velký nákladní letoun s objemným trupem postavený ve Spojených státech amerických pro leteckou přepravu rozměrných nákladů, a to hlavně komponentů lunárního programu Apollo pro NASA. All of us in my family watched later when the plane made its takeoff as George Putnam reported on the historical flight. • "Model 377 Stratocruiser Commercial Transport" by Boeing. He would have to borrow fuel for the cross country flight.  Conroy had over $1 million invested in the project — he was flat broke and had a long line of creditors hounding him. Ricavato sulla base del precedente Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, modificato per trasportare carichi eccezionali, il Pregnant Guppy è stato il primo aereo prodotto … I own some of the old Wardlow STC’s for the conversions to the Stinson SR-10F. I serviced N1038V a few times when it stopped over at the base. Retrieved … Photo: Unknown Wikipedia Commons. It was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, the first of the Guppy aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines, which in turn was named for its resemblance to a pregnant guppy.Five were built in two variants, both of which were colloquially referred to as the "Super Guppy". The plane flew perfectly and when they landed, the tower controllers recalled the crash trucks and fire engines. Not your average flying fish. Digging Deeper As stated above, the Super Guppy had been developed from the Pregnant Guppy which in turn was based on the C-97 military cargo plane, itself based on the … 628 twv23. Letoun Pregnant Guppy byl první z řady letounů Guppy vyrobených společností Aero Spacelines. 3.1 years ago. Might answer some questions. In honor of the earlier NASA officials off-handed comment, he named the plane the “Pregnant Guppy.” NASA pilots Joe Vensel and Stan Butchart would work with John Conroy to evaluate the plane at Dryden.  Photo Credit:  NASA. Sadly, Gene is no longer with us, but the success of the Guppy project he and so many of you participated in lives on. Airbus' Pregnant Guppy The Airbus Guppy livery is now on my website in the repaints section under "military and vintage" - help yourselves. section of fuselage from a second Stratocruiser … Because of the restrictions of land travel, passing ov… Retrieved October 5, 2006. After filing with the FAA for approval to fly the non-certified plane to Alabama (it was approved, but only for a route that was entirely over countryside from end to end), he borrowed the fuel and made the flight.  Once in Alabama, the Pregnant Guppy was greeted with awe.  It flew — somehow — and if Conroy could be believed, it was the answer to their dreams.  Wernher von Braun, himself a rated pilot, asked to personally check it out as copilot for a test flight.  Conroy agreed and made the best in flight sales pitch of his life, even shutting down two of the engines quietly while von Braun was flying.  At that point, when von Braun realized that there was no question about the viability of the project.  After landing Conroy had two challenges — one, getting a letter of intent; and the other begging NASA for enough fuel to take his plane back to California. Because of the Pregnant Guppy, NASA was … I personally made many of those drawings including the bulkhead at the back of the cockpit as well as the installation of airflow ducts for ventilation into the tail section, and many other routine drawings involving the modification — so many I don’t even remember any of them specifically. Super Guppy is the ideal successor to its erstwhile avatar called Pregnant Guppy.. Aero Spacelines manufactured their first flight Pregnant Guppy in August 1965. The new plane had cost over $1,000,000. [3] When Van Nuys traffic control realized that Conroy intended to take off, they notified police and fire departments to be on alert. First, Aero Spacelines had to lengthen the fuselage enough fit the 40 ft. long Saturn S-IV stage. What cargo aircraft can lift the greatest load (in weight, not cube) in the world today? Thus, in the Spring of 1963 the plane was readied for its heavy lift test flight at Mojave, California.  Sandbags and a full fuel load pegged the plane at its projected maximum gross weight.  The pilot that day was Jacky Pedesky.  As the plane lumbered down the runway, everything was within operating limits.  When the pilot pulled back on the control yokes, the plane rotated and slowly rose into the air — too slowly, in fact.  It seemed only barely able to climb.  Without sufficient runway ahead to land, they had no choice but to press on.  The airspeed was pegged at 128 kts — the plane was lumbering along just above the ground.  Gingerly, they inched upward into slowly rising terrain ahead.  For every foot they climbed, the terrain rose underneath the plane equally. By eagleworks4u in forum FSX Replies: 3 Last Post: 12-24-2009, 02:50 PM. Historic Wings is pleased to present our daily story celebrating what happened today in aviation history. Air shipment seemed reasonable enough.  The rocket components were extremely lightweight, though the problem was that they were simply huge.  No aircraft had a cargo hold large enough as just one stage of the rocket was 40 feet long and 18 feet in diameter.  Conroy started working the problem, literally on the back of a napkin with Mansdorf.  Together, they thought that it might be possible to modify a B377 by adding a larger cargo bay atop the fuselage.  He prepared a rough design series with some drawings and presented the idea to NASA in person, hoping for funding. I am attempting to find out what happened to Strato Engineering. As the plane taxied out toward the runway, the air traffic controllers on duty looked at amazement at the monstrous addition bolted to the top of the fuselage.  Surely, nothing that weird could fly, they reasoned.  With a sinking feeling, they realized that the pilot intended to take off.  What they were looking at seemed a monstrosity — an ex-Pan Am Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, lengthened at the center point with a 5 meter long extender piece taken off a different B377 (this one ex-BOAC) with a huge, bulbous cargo hold ballooned over the top of the fuselage.  When the pilot stopped at the hold short line and requested permission to take off for a first test flight, the tower controller first reached for the phone to scramble the crash trucks and fire engines.  With that accomplished, he intoned, “Aero Spacelines, you’re cleared for take off….”  As the plane started to roll, all eyes were on it — and not a few bets were placed that it wouldn’t fly. There were a few others in the past but this is the last operating Guppy in the world. Aero Spacelines fabricated a large dome that was mated to the top of the fuselage, which resulted in the iconic Pregnant Guppy. Thanks Charlie, “My favorite thing about the Guppy is that it is unique. For more photos of the Pregnant Guppy, Super Guppy and Super Guppy Transport, visit: As the space program increased through the late 1960s, it became clear that this one aircraft could not carry the whole transport load, and so 25 more Stratocruisers and ex-USAF C-9… Updated August 31, 2004. John Conroy, inventor of the Pregnant Guppy and Super Guppy. The Pregnant Guppy loads a Saturn booster. At just over 19’ in diameter, this massive cavity was specifically designed to carry the second stage of a Saturn rocket for the Apollo program. Semedian Boeing Pregnant Guppy. The Pregnant Guppy was constructed using B-377 N1024V and parts of B-377 (c/n 15976). Did it get bought out? The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a mammoth and commodious cargo transport aircraft that is used to haul oversized cargo components. My background was flying in Navy P-3 Orions, so Gene and I had plenty of great flying stories to share. She and her little sister, the "Pregnant Guppy," have carried a billion dollars worth of space equipment for NASA, and undoubtedly helped to speed up the US timetable for conquest of the moon. Photo Credit: NASA. The plane is based at Ellington Airport in Houston, near NASA's Johnson Space Center. The Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy was a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft built in the United States and used for ferrying outsized cargo items, most notably NASA's components of the Apollo program. Photo credit: NASA/MSFC/Janet Sudnik The Super Guppy also benefited from upgraded engines, which are the same as those in Lockheed's P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft, though its cruising speed of 250 … I came to this site to get a link to some photos of the Guppy for a friend of mine after telling him my story. It was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, the first of the Guppy aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines.Five were built in two variants, both of which were colloquially referred to as the "Super Guppy". Conroy returned to California and mortgaged his house, used his personal savings and borrowed everything he could to build the plane on his own.  He even sold his car to fund the project.  It still wasn’t enough and he was able to find venture capital funding from William Ballon.  Lacking funds to “do it right”, he coined an operating phrase that would carry him through the project, “Built to suit, draw to match, and paint to cover.”  In essence, Aero Spacelines cut years off of the development time by just doing it, cobbling the parts together with 2×4 braces, hope and baling wire.  What worked they drew into engineering plans after the fact.  While risky, Conroy just had to hope that his prototype would fly. Photo Credit: NASA. In 1960, U.S. airlines were disposing of their obsolete piston-engined Boeing 377 Stratocruisers in favor of the newer jet-engined airliners. 3.0 years ago. Those were the days when you could ride your bike into the airport and ride around looking at some really cool planes. In case you were wondering how the Guppy … L'Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy era un quadrimotore da trasporto a fusoliera allargata sviluppato dall'azienda statunitense Aero Spacelines nei primi anni sessanta. My uncle had a plane there and would take me and my Dad flying a couple of times each month. The design also inspired similar … Studio Editions. The U.S. Department of Defense and government contractors also have tapped the Guppy's capabilities to move aircraft and large components around the continent, including T-38s for the Air Force and V-22s for the Navy. [See more photos of NASA's Super Guppy swallowing jets] The first Guppy aircraft, called the Pregnant Guppy, was built from a heavily modified KC-97 Stratotanker in 1962 by the California-based company Aero Spacelines. Designed by Aero Spacelines, an American aircraft manufacturer from 1960 to 1968, the Super Guppy was introduced in 1965. Np bro. The Pregnant Guppy on the ramp in preparation for NASA test flights and pilot evaluation in October 1962. So Aero Spacelines created the Very Pregnant Guppy, with an inner diameter of 25 feet and a cargo compartment 94Vi feet long. One Saturday we went to the airport and stumbled on the biggest airplane we had ever seen. Photo Credit: NASA. My wife tells the story about how her dad pulled her out of school one day and took the family to the Van Nuys airport to watch the first Guppy test flight referenced in this article. Eugene Stanley is my father-in-law. 17.8k SemedianIndustries. We got caught but the one who caught us gave us a complete tour and I got to sit in the captains seat — it was the ‘Pregnant Guppie’. The various Guppies were modified from 1940's and 50's-vintage Boeing Model 377 and C-97 Stratocruiser airframes by Aero Spacelines, Inc., which operated the aircraft for NASA. The aircraft first flew on September 19, 1962, piloted by Conroy and co-pilot Clay Lacy. [1], Conroy presented his plans for an extensively modified Stratocruiser to NASA, where an official commented that the bloated aircraft resembled a pregnant guppy. It was a version of the Boeing Stratocruiser airliner, on which the first two thirds of the fuselage had been blown up like a balloon to create a cavernous cargo space. The head of the drafting group was Eugene “Gene” Stanley, a former pilot in WW2. A bulbous looking whale of an airplane, the Super Guppy was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, an equally goofy looking giant cargo plane. The Pregnant Guppy in early flights during 1963. Retrieved October 5, 2006. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated. ui_manufacturer=Boeing ui_type=377 "Pregnant Guppy" ui_variation="NASA" ui_typerole="Four Engine Prop" ui_createdby="A2A … The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy was first created in 1962 as a successor to the aptly-named Pregnant Guppy cargo aircraft. Among its early duties was transporting the first and second stages of the Gemini program's Titan II from the Martin Co. in Baltimore, Maryland, to Cape Canaveral. 628 twv23. Carrying the S-IV Saturn I rocket stage, the Guppy saved three weeks' transit time versus barge,[4] for a cost of $16.00 (equivalent to $131.9 today) per mile (1.6 km).[5]. I’d like to talk to you sometime if you did any work on the Stinson project for Wardlow. A friend and I became regulars at the airport. With the beginning of the 1960s, Kennedy had declared that America was on the way to the Moon.  NASA found it had a problem shipping newly constructed rockets from its west coast contractors to Cape Canaveral in Florida.  The original plan, putting them on ocean-going barges through the Panama Canal, proved unworkable.  The trip took two to three week and, on arrival, the fragile rocket boosters were dented, dinged and corroded from the salt spray.  On hearing of NASA’s quandary, John Conroy had looked across the field at Van Nuys where his friend, aircraft broker Leo Mansdorf, had been storing B377 Stratocruisers that he had acquired, uncertain if they had any resale value.  Surely, the big planes could be used, he thought, and it just might solve two problems — NASA’s and Mansdorf’s. To test the project, first the team added the ex-BOAC lengthening section and test flew it.  It worked fine, though it was a minor modification.  Then, they had to do the real work of adding the huge “volumetric” cargo hold atop the fuselage.  Conroy had the skin bolted on, leaving the regular fuselage in place for strength and to reduce the number of modifications needed.  On September 19, 1962, they logged the first test flight.  The plane flew perfectly and when they landed, the tower controllers recalled the crash trucks and fire engines.  In honor of the earlier NASA officials off-handed comment, he named the plane the “Pregnant Guppy.”  He had to take it to NASA’s offices in Alabama to show them that the concept worked, yet he had no money left. By the way, Airbus actually used a fleet of Super Guppies to transport airplane pieces before they developed their Belugas. Many of the drawings were done by STRATO, E. Stanly and A.M. Kaplan. The Super Guppy … Wait, what was that plane I had requested again? The name Aero Spacelines selected for its unique plane was a natural. The Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy was a heavy cargo plane used for transporting large and bulky items by air. Taylor, Michael J.H. Do you have any info on what happened to the company? 2.9 years ago. The entire rear section (including tail surfaces) was detachable to allow cargo to be loaded directly into the fuselage. The Pregnant Guppy (registered N1024V)[2] was built from an ex-Pan Am airframe with a five-m section from an ex-British Overseas Airways Corporation aircraft (G-AKGJ) added immediately behind the wing. Conroy presented his plan for the modified plane to NASA, where an official said it looked like a pregnant guppy. In summer 1963, the Pregnant Guppy commenced cargo flights for NASA. A Super Guppy departs Edwards AFB en route to Johnson Space Center. The plane flew much as a normal Boeing 377, with the exception of some additional drag. The Pregnant Guppy was sold to American Jet Industries and registered N126AJ for scrap and it was finally scrapped at Van Nuys in 1979. Aircraft broker Leo Mansdorf was stockpiling surplus Stratocruisers at Van Nuys prior to resale, and ex-USAF pilot John M. Conroy realized the potential of these aircraft to transport the large but relatively light rocket components. np. However, the NASA management doubted that it could work.  Several professional aeronautical engineers reviewed the concept and declared it unworkable.  One NASA official quipped that the contraption looked like a “pregnant guppy”.  The trip wasn’t entirely a loss, however, as he found some interested and supportive parties — if he could make it work, they told him, a contract would likely follow….  But of course, no guarantees.  One of those who expressed support was the famous Wernher von Braun, who liked Conroy’s swashbuckling, can-do attitude. Apparently, Jack Conroy had GREAT confidence that his design would work! [1] The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. Unlike the Pregnant Guppy, the Super Guppy is pressurized, making it possible to fly above weather. As the space program grew through the late 1960s, this one aircraft clearly could not handle the whole transport load, so 25 more Stratocruisers and ex-USAF C-97s were purchased to construct four Super Guppy aircraft, which were even longer and larger than the original.

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