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Although NASA was lukewarm on the concept, Conroy mortgaged his house and founded Aero Spacelines International to build and operate the concept aircraft.[1]. Photo Credit: NASA. Anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated. NASA's Flight Research Center assisted in certification testing of the first Pregnant Guppy in 1962. 1989. 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.[1]. 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 … John Conroy, inventor of the Pregnant Guppy and Super Guppy. [3] When Van Nuys traffic control realized that Conroy intended to take off, they notified police and fire departments to be on alert. @twv23 thx. Built from a heavily modified KC-97 Stratotanker, the Pregnant Guppy featured the largest cargo compartment of any aircraft ever built. The idea for this ridiculous looking plane was originally NASA’s, for carrying bits of … Photo: Unknown Wikipedia Commons. 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. Thanks for your great site! The plane flew perfectly and when they landed, the tower controllers recalled the crash trucks and fire engines. The Super Guppy … A better solution than sea lift had to be found. I am working on a project which started with the stress analysis provided by Strato. 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. Conroy presented his plan for the modified plane to NASA, where an official said it looked like a pregnant guppy. I was raised in Van Nuys, near Balboa Boulevard and a few miles from the Van Nuys Airport. Thanks to all of you for your hard work and dedication on the Guppy project and countless others that made this country great. B377PG Pregnant Guppy. The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a mammoth and commodious cargo transport aircraft that is used to haul oversized cargo components. All of us in my family watched later when the plane made its takeoff as George Putnam reported on the historical flight. Retrieved … I was in the USAF stationed at DMAFB from 1964 to 1968 and was an aircraft refueler. Thanks Charlie, “My favorite thing about the Guppy is that it is unique. That was a memorable experience for sure. 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. 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. I’d like to talk to you sometime if you did any work on the Stinson project for Wardlow. "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. In the end, John Conroy’s Super Guppy was the key aircraft that got America to the Moon.  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.”  Against all odds and based on just his own faith in his idea, his own funds and his hopes, John Conroy had made history. Sadly, Gene is no longer with us, but the success of the Guppy project he and so many of you participated in lives on. The aircraft first flew on September 19, 1962, piloted by Conroy and co-pilot Clay Lacy. 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 Pregnant Guppy was constructed using B-377 N1024V and parts of B-377 (c/n 15976). [1], Conroy presented his plans for an extensively modified Stratocruiser to NASA, where an official commented that the bloated aircraft resembled a pregnant guppy. On September 19, 1962, they logged the first test flight. Eugene Stanley is my father-in-law. 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. Retrieved October 5, 2006. 3.0 years ago. The construction was done in three main phases. Apparently, Jack Conroy had GREAT confidence that his design would work! The Pregnant Guppy in early flights during 1963. Photo Credit: NASA. I am attempting to find out what happened to Strato Engineering. ... nose at the front of the huge plane. 3.1 years ago. In honor of the earlier NASA officials off-handed comment, he named the plane the “Pregnant Guppy.” ... Guppy prop plane download for FSX. He had a storied aircraft career from his time as a Thunderbolt pilot in WW2 through many commercial and military aviation projects all the way into the 1990s, including his time at Strato. The aircraft was named for its striking resemblance to a pregnant guppy … NASA has a long history of developing specialized transportation devices for its rockets and equipment.  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.  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.  Meanwhile, Airbus and Boeing borrowed from Conroy’s Pregnant Guppy concept and build their own “volumetric” designs.  These specialty aircraft still fly today all over the world. Everywhere we go there is a crowd waiting for us and I love to talk about the aircraft, its incredible history, and our mission.”. The owner of Strato was a man named Abraham Moses Kaplan. Not your average flying fish. Because of the Pregnant Guppy, NASA was … "The Plane That Won The Space Race" by Margy Bloom. Flying is one thing and flying with grace like the Concorde is another. The Pregnant Guppy loads a Saturn booster. What cargo aircraft can lift the greatest load (in weight, not cube) in the world today? 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". 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.. 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. A large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft, the Super Guppy refers to either of two variants: the first Super Guppy (SG), or the second "Super Guppy Turbine" (SGT).The aircraft was a successor to the Pregnant Guppy which got its name from its resemblance to (surprise, surprise) a pregnant guppy. 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. 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. Guppy. [1] The Pregnant Guppy was the first of the Guppy line of aircraft produced by Aero Spacelines. “ Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. Those were the days when you could ride your bike into the airport and ride around looking at some really cool planes. 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".

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