Unlike the Pregnant Guppy, the Super Guppy is pressurized, making it possible to fly above weather. I was in the USAF stationed at DMAFB from 1964 to 1968 and was an aircraft refueler. The Pregnant Guppy in early flights during 1963. Do you have any info on what happened to the company? Although NASA was lukewarm on the concept, Conroy mortgaged his house and founded Aero Spacelines International to build and operate the concept aircraft.. 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. That was a memorable experience for sure. Conroy presented his plan for the modified plane to NASA, where an official said it looked like a pregnant guppy. Retrieved October 5, 2006. Conroy returned to California and mortgaged his house, used his personal savings and borrowed everything he could to build the plane on his own.Â Â He even sold his car to fund the project.Â It still wasn’t enough and he was able to find venture capital funding from William Ballon.Â 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.”Â 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.Â What worked they drew into engineering plans after the fact.Â While risky, Conroy just had to hope that his prototype would fly. He would have to borrow fuel for the cross country flight.Â Conroy had over $1 million invested in the project — he was flat broke and had a long line of creditors hounding him. Sadly, Gene is no longer with us, but the success of the Guppy project he and so many of you participated in lives on. ... nose at the front of the huge plane. The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. 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. The various Guppy aircraft served throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond, initially transporting space components, and later, as NASA scaled down its operations after the success of the Apollo program, transporting airliner sections.. Those were the days when you could ride your bike into the airport and ride around looking at some really cool planes. 3.0 years ago. Photo Credit: NASA. Even before the Pregnant Guppy made its first flight, however, both NASA and Conroy knew they needed a roomier plane. The aircraft was named for its striking resemblance to a pregnant guppy … A Super Guppy departs Edwards AFB en route to Johnson Space Center. I am attempting to find out what happened to Strato Engineering. Its predecessor, which looked very similar and carried components of the Apollo moon program, was appropriately named Pregnant Guppy. Carrying the S-IV Saturn I rocket stage, the Guppy saved three weeks' transit time versus barge, for a cost of $16.00 (equivalent to $131.9 today) per mile (1.6 km).. Designed by Aero Spacelines, an American aircraft manufacturer from 1960 to 1968, the Super Guppy was introduced in 1965. I can personally attest to the fact that many times I had to drive to the Van Nuys Airport, climb up the scaffolding surrounding the plane and find a specific location of modification, make drawings on a yellow tablet, take some tiny black and white photos and return to Strato to make the drawings match what was already built. The Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy was a heavy cargo plane used for transporting large and bulky items by air. NASA has a long history of developing specialized transportation devices for its rockets and equipment.Â While the Super Guppy was big, it was still far short of the size and load bearing capacity needed to transport the Space Shuttle fleet.Â For that requirement, NASA instead settled on a piggy back design, mounting the Shuttle on a set of pylons above the top of a Boeing 747 that had been modified specifically for that purpose.Â Meanwhile, Airbus and Boeing borrowed from Conroy’s Pregnant Guppy concept and build their own “volumetric” designs.Â These specialty aircraft still fly today all over the world. Data from Jane's All The Worlds Aircraft 1965–66, Jane's All The Worlds Aircraft 1971–72, Outsize cargo conversion of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. 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 Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft that is used for hauling outsize cargo components. So Aero Spacelines created the Very Pregnant Guppy, with an inner diameter of 25 feet and a cargo compartment 94Vi feet long. This was done by adding a 16 ft. 8 in. Retrieved … May / June 2010, PILOTMAG Magazine May / June 2010, PILOTMAG Magazine 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 Even though NASA was lukewarm on the project at first, Conroy mortgaged his house and started a company with Mansdorf called Aero Spacelines to pursue the project. My uncle had a plane there and would take me and my Dad flying a couple of times each month. This monster, designed for Apollo rocket stages, could easily swallow a … ... Guppy prop plane download for FSX. What cargo aircraft can lift the greatest load (in weight, not cube) in the world today? Apparently, Jack Conroy had GREAT confidence that his design would work! Thus, in the Spring of 1963 the plane was readied for its heavy lift test flight at Mojave, California.Â Sandbags and a full fuel load pegged the plane at its projected maximum gross weight.Â The pilot that day was Jacky Pedesky.Â As the plane lumbered down the runway, everything was within operating limits.Â When the pilot pulled back on the control yokes, the plane rotated and slowly rose into the air — too slowly, in fact.Â It seemed only barely able to climb.Â Without sufficient runway ahead to land, they had no choice but to press on.Â The airspeed was pegged at 128 kts — the plane was lumbering along just above the ground.Â Gingerly, they inched upward into slowly rising terrain ahead.Â For every foot they climbed, the terrain rose underneath the plane equally. 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. Pregnant Guppy : THE PLANE THAT WON THE SPACE RACE Bloom, Margy. The NASA ocean-going tug, Apollo, loaded with an S1C rocket stage. The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a mammoth and commodious cargo transport aircraft that is used to haul oversized cargo components. Built from a heavily modified KC-97 Stratotanker, the Pregnant Guppy featured the largest cargo compartment of any aircraft ever built. NASA pilots Joe Vensel and Stan Butchart would work with John Conroy to evaluate the plane at Dryden.Â Photo Credit:Â NASA. Taylor, Michael J.H. In August 1962 I was a draftsman at Strato Engineering, a Burbank firm subcontracted to AeroSpace and charged with making drawings for the conversion process on the Pregnant Guppy. Because of the restrictions of land travel, passing ov… Updated August 31, 2004. While, planes’ performances are somewhat shape dependant, but aesthetics really aren’t anything to simply ignore and overdoing them is perhaps even more awful. 1989. Retrieved October 5, 2006. 2.9 years ago. "Model 377 Stratocruiser Commercial Transport", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Aero_Spacelines_Pregnant_Guppy&oldid=990907994, 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. Photo: Unknown Wikipedia Commons. A bulbous looking whale of an airplane, the Super Guppy was the successor to the Pregnant Guppy, an equally goofy looking giant cargo plane. All of us in my family watched later when the plane made its takeoff as George Putnam reported on the historical flight. L'Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy era un quadrimotore da trasporto a fusoliera allargata sviluppato dall'azienda statunitense Aero Spacelines nei primi anni sessanta. In the summer of 1963, the Pregnant Guppy began flying NASA cargo. Aero Spacelines B377PG Pregnant Guppy on ramp in preparation for flight tests and pilot evaluation 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. 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. The wing, engines, tail, nose, and cockpit were unchanged, but a new upper fuselage of 6 m diameter was added, giving the aircraft a "triple-bubble" appearance in front view. Historic Wings is pleased to present our daily story celebrating what happened today in aviation history. 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. Aero Spacelines fabricated a large dome that was mated to the top of the fuselage, which resulted in the iconic Pregnant Guppy. Studio Editions. By the way, Airbus actually used a fleet of Super Guppies to transport airplane pieces before they developed their Belugas. 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.Â Surely, nothing that weird could fly, they reasoned.Â With a sinking feeling, they realized that the pilot intended to take off.Â 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.Â 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.Â With that accomplished, he intoned, “Aero Spacelines, you’re cleared for take off….”Â As the plane started to roll, all eyes were on it — and not a few bets were placed that it wouldn’t fly. The Super Guppy is the descendant of the Pregnant Guppy, the first Guppy aircraft produced by the company. 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… The stairs were down so we parked our bikes and went inside. The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy was first created in 1962 as a successor to the aptly-named Pregnant Guppy cargo aircraft. The Pregnant Guppy was constructed using B-377 N1024V and parts of B-377 (c/n 15976). 5,246 DJ123. Once on the ground, the engineers lightened the aircraft by 8,000 pounds before the next test flight.Â After a demonstration flight for NASA with a mock-up of the rocket booster on board, the airline signed a contract to fly on revenue runs — Conroy and Aero Spacelines were in business. Specially designed to be able to carry components for the Gemini Space Program, the aircraft then called the Pregnant Guppy had the largest cargo compartment of any plane that had ever been built.. 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 … The aircraft first flew on September 19, 1962, piloted by Conroy and co-pilot Clay Lacy. 17.8k SemedianIndustries. cool 3.1 years ago. , Conroy presented his plans for an extensively modified Stratocruiser to NASA, where an official commented that the bloated aircraft resembled a pregnant guppy. First, Aero Spacelines had to lengthen the fuselage enough fit the 40 ft. long Saturn S-IV stage. 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 moon program. The Super Guppy's most precious cargo was the lunar-excursion module Eagle and the command ship Columbia flown by Apollo … The head of the drafting group was Eugene “Gene” Stanley, a former pilot in WW2.  The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. In the end, John Conroy’s Super Guppy was the key aircraft that got America to the Moon.Â Wernher von Braun gave Conroy and his company the ultimate compliment when he summed it up succinctly, “The Guppy was the single most important piece of equipment to put a man on the moon in the decade of the 1960s.”Â Against all odds and based on just his own faith in his idea, his own funds and his hopes, John Conroy had made history. @twv23 thx. On this date in aviation history, on September 19, 1962, one of the most bizarre aircraft modifications ever accomplished made its first test flight taking off from Van Nuys Airport in California.Â The plane rolled down the runway into the unknown world beyond the limits of aeronautical engineering theory and into the air.Â Nobody knew whether the aircraft would actually fly — in fact, many suspected that it couldn’t, including several aeronautical engineers.Â At the controls was John M. Conroy, a former USAAF B-17 pilot — he had personally funded the effort out of his own pocket.Â The copilot on this first test flight was Clay Lacy, a former United Airlines pilot and former California ANG C-97 Stratofreighter pilot.Â The aircraft was built with one primary purpose and customer in mind — NASA.
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