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Wednesday
Feb162011

Super Guppy Fuselage Cross Section... It's Umm, Really Big!

(click pic for hi-res) NASA Super Guppy super-size cargo transport at Edwards AFB in 2000

 A total of eight Guppy aircraft were built by Aero Spacelines in the 1960's to haul oversized cargo, including many large parts related to the Apollo space program. In fact, those specific parts were the inspiration for airplanes that could relatively affordably transport pieces that were huge in size but not really all that heavy. The Pregnant Guppy, the Mini Guppy, as well as the Super Guppy that's seen here at Edwards Air Force base in 2000 were a remarkable success over the years... and I believe this one, the last Super Guppy produced is still operating yet today for NASA.

 This CoolPix really shows off the massive fuselage cross section of this beast. The original Super Guppy was built by lengthening and adding the massive upper area on to a Boeing C-97J Turbo Stratocruiser which was the old C-97 that had been retrofitted with large turboprop engines. That first SG still retained the fuselage floor width of the C-97 which was just under 9 feet wide. You might have already read the story I posted that tells about the near loss of the prototype SG on one of the last flights during the certification tests. If you haven't read, I suggest you go there now, it's an amazing story: 1965 Super Guppy Dive test Goes Bad (Not A Bird Strike!)

 I would guess the lessons learned from that nearly catastrophic event played a big part in the changes made in the four additional Super Guppy's that were later built. They all had fuselages built from scratch, and Aero Spacelines took the opportuinity to widen the fuselage at the floor level to just over 13 feet. The view looking into this SG gives a bit of an idea of just how big that scratch-built fuselage is. It's a pretty stunning sight! It's an interesting shape too. This view with the nose swung out of the way really shows it off.

 It's easy to see a picture of a 'Guppy' and just chuckle at the crazy big fatness of the airplane, but these unique aircraft have been a really important part of the aerospace industry over the last 40 years. They're definitely worthy of our respect and appreciation!

 

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Reader Comments (2)

The Guppy series was certainly a great piece of engineering. Here's a video I put together at the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon a couple years back - they have a Mini Guppy on display and open to be crawled around in.

Photos walking through: http://www.flickr.com/photos/adamfastphoto/sets/72157623543049521/

Video: http://media.adamfast.com/flying/guppy/

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAdam Fast

Adam- Cool pix and video... thanx for the links : )

February 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMartt (admin)

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