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/images/icons/csMagGlass.png mittel / groß / voll



October 1971 - Dorval, Qc [CYUL] Aero Spacelines Guppy accelerating on runway 06R, destination Europe and then Damascus, Syria. On board is a complete B707 cockpit for N776TW, which was hijacked on August 28th 1969 and flown to Damasus where the hijackers blew up the cockpit.

I remember that this a/c spent several days in Montreal waiting for the right weather conditions over the North Atlantic as it had to fly low and slow and could not tolerate icing. Inside was a new cockpit built by Boeing.


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Jim Quinn
It looks like a Boeing Stratoliner (?) I think it is named, or the USAF C-97 on steroids. I'm not sure if I have it right.
Bill Babis
Definitely light on its wheels. Must be a split second before rotation. A great shot.
@Jim Quinn Boeing (377) Stratocruiser.

You are right about the C-97 since that is a militarized Boeing 377.
Bob Hackney
I was the Boeing Buyer then for the 707 Control Stand Assemblies (thrust control levers, flap controls, etc.). I found in the factory stores a surplus, completed control stand assembly configured for a previously cancelled airline. We were able to modify the surplus control stand to the TWA configuration for this AOG Program at a considerably lower cost & shorter lead time vs procurement of a new one w/the TWA configuration. This was one of the many positive experiences of my Boeing Commercial & Aerospace projects procurement over my career w/Boeing (1966-1995)
I remember watching as the first (pregnant guppy) was being built at Van Nuys airport, and stood at the end of the runway when it first flew. The Calif. ANG was phasing these transports out, and the 146th Airlift wing was there. I could watch it being built when I drove by the South end of the airport.
jim garrity
Brings back fond memories,like "fyrchaser", I was 10yo at the time and watched the same thing (and the U-2 t/o's)while my Dad was working at "L.A. Airways", on the east side of kvny!
Jim Smith
One of these, possibly owned by Erickson Aircrane used to sit at Tillamook, OR airport next to the old blimp hangar. Don't know about now as I haven't been through there in years.
Hugh Somsen
During the race for space, North American Rockwell had completed sections of what would be the Saturn. We had to cut down and move traffic signals and power lines the the whole thing was ground transported to LGB. Where a Guppy took it to Florida. I marveled as it flew over on its way.
pelican006Photo Uploader
For Jim Smith : The Guppy in Tillamook was N422AU. According to Google map, it is still there, in front of the huge blimp hangar. I have a photo of N422AU taken at Tillamook in September 2006.
Nice picture...!
Jason Belanger
Great pic and story.
I flew on this airframe multiple times when it was a Pan Am Stratocruiser from Juneau to Seattle. Fond memories of seat-side service with stewards in dress whites!
Doug Pickard
It's been 50 years since I've seen this plane, but I believe this is the Mini-Guppy. It was third in the line of production. First was the Pregnant Guppy, basically a proof of concept. It shared the same basic airframe of the Mini_Guppy but had greater fuselage diameter and a shorter expanded section. Next was the Super-Guppy. It was built on one of three C-97 airframes that Jack Conroy (USAF, Col. - Ret,) bought off of the Air Force that had turboprop engines installed. The inside diameter of the enlarged section was 25.5 ft., and as stated above was designed to haul the third stage of the Saturn V rocket. The original Super has been dismantled and any the follow-ons copies were built by Dassault to haul their A300 and A310 parts to Toulouse. They continue that process with the modified A300 they call the "Beluga." The Mini-Guppy was the last of the series to be built and one copy crashed during flight test. It was modified from C-97 to Mini-Guppy at Santa Barbara Airport on the north side of Hollister Ave. Just like Douglas Aircraft towed their production jets across Lakewood Ave. at Long Beach Airport, the Mini was towed across Hollister Ave. at about 0200 to reduce automobile traffic impact. I know all of this because the man responsible for me having a chance to get a pilot license, P.G. Smith (USAF Lt.Col.-Ret) was Vice President of Aerospace Lines, the company that built all three Guppys, and he let me ride inside that plane when it was towed across the avenue. I also got to witness it's first flight a couple of weeks later, in the spring of 1970. P.G. was at the controls of the Super when the fuselage directly above the cockpit caved in. It was an inverted "V" shaped affair that brought the plane to a halt quite suddenly. It departed controlled flight and remained so until approx. 2,000 ft above Mojave. They recovered, landed eventfully (yes, I meant that word), reinforced the failed section and flew again. It was an ambitious undertaking. Conroy and company went on to "Guppy-size" a Canadair CL-44, they modified a Cessna 336 by removing the two Continental O-360s and installed a Garrett TPE-331 in an extended cowl in front, and closed off the rear at about six inches from the horizontal stabilizer. They tried to sell it to the US Forest Service as a smokejumper delivery plane. The only other project I know of was a DC-3 that they traded the piston engines for a pair of R-R Darts. They flew that to the Paris Air Show in 1970, but no buyers.
Leon Kay
Thank you for a very interesting photo and informative comment.
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