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The Aero Spacelines Super Guppy is a large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft that is used for hauling outsized cargo components. 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". This website gives lots of information on all the Guppy variants: http://www.allaboutguppys.com/

The first Super Guppy, was built directly from the fuselage of a C-97J Turbo Stratocruiser, the military version of the 1950s Boeing 377 "Stratocruiser" passenger aircraft. The fuselage was lengthened to 141 feet (43 m), and ballooned out to a maximum inside diameter of 25 ft (7.6 m), the length of the cargo compartment being 94 ft 6 in (28.8 m). The floor of the cargo compartment was still only 8 ft 9 in (2.7 m) wide, as necessitated by the use of the Stratocruiser fuselage.
In addition to the fuselage modifications, the Super Guppy used Pratt & Whitney T-34-P-7 turboprop engines for increased power and range, and modified wing and tail surfaces. It could carry a load of 54,000 pounds (24,494 kg) and cruise at 300 mph (480 km/h).

The second version was officially known as the Super Guppy Turbine (SGT), although it used turboprop engines like the first Super Guppy. This variant used Allison 501-D22C turboprops. Unlike the previous Guppy, the main portion of its fuselage was constructed from scratch. By building from scratch, Aero Spacelines was able to widen the floor of the cargo compartment to 13 ft (4.0 m). The overall cargo compartment length was increased to 111 ft 6 in (34.0 m), and the improved fuselage and engines allowed for a maximum load of 52,500 lb (23,800 kg).[3] These design improvements, combined with a pressurized crew cabin that allowed for higher-altitude cruising, allowed the SGT to transport more cargo than its predecessors. The SGT retained only the cockpit, wings, tail, and main landing gear of the 377. The nose gear was taken from a Boeing 707 and rotated 180 degrees. This dropped the front of the aircraft slightly, leveling the cargo bay floor and simplifying loading operations.

In the early 1970s, the two Super Guppies were used by Airbus to transport aeroplane parts for the Concorde and Airbus projects from decentralised production facilities to the final assembly plant in Toulouse. In 1982 and 1983, two additional Super Guppies were built by UTA Industries in France after Airbus bought the right to produce the aircraft. The four Super Guppies have since been replaced by the Airbus Beluga, capable of carrying twice as much cargo—by weight, though not nearly as much as a C-5 Galaxy or an Antonov-124 (47 tons as compared to 122.5 and 150 tons, respectively).


above: 2 photos of SuperGuppies in service transporting sections of Concordes in preparation for their final assembly
left hand photo - F-BTGV C.1978. Picture courtesy of Alexandre Callahan Pelletier, whose Grandfather was the captain of #1
the right hand photo is reproduced from  "Concorde - Essais et batailles" by André Turcat and was sent to me by Christiaan Julius who worked on the Concorde project at Toulouse for many years

below photos of other Super Guppies, nos. 2 & 4
left hand photo: Super Guppy no.2 (F-BPPA) preserved at Toulouse, taken during a team visit in 2013
right hand photo: the still active Super Guppy no.4 (N941FA) currently operated by NASA (NASA photo)





left: F-BTGV (cn.0001) was retired to Bruntingthorpe on 1st July 1996 as part of David Walton's British Aircraft Heritage collection, this photo was taken shortly after she landed for the last time, I believe the photo was taken by Andy Bonsall





the aircraft has been cared for by volunteers but time had still taken it's toll and in mid 2009 a team was assembled to undertake a programme to restore the aircraft back to as good a condition as possible although only as a static exhibit.
the photo on the right was taken by Keith Newsome (who kindly allowed us to use the photo, thank you) shortly before the restoration was started

The team is lead by Gareth Lander who has been assisted by others whom he has worked alongside on aircraft of the Cold war Jets collection

The last produced Super Guppy remains in service: an SGT flown by NASA (currently used to ferry components for the International Space Station and Project Orion). It is stationed at and operated from the Johnson Space Center's El Paso Forward Operating Location in El Paso, Texas.

The other four are mothballed: the SG at Pima Air and Space Museum, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, United States; the first SGT, at Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome, United Kingdom, the second outside Airbus' factories at Toulouse Blagnac International Airport, Toulouse, France; and the third at Finkenwerder, Germany.

DIMENSIONS

Maximum diameter of the fuselage was 25ft

Other details:
Length 144’
Wingspan 156’
Cruise speed 290mph (at 25000’
Range 2000 miles
Max payload 54500 pounds
Usable volume 39000 cu ft

Further information about the Guppy variants can be found by following these links:

http://www.allaboutguppys.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aero_Spacelines_Super_Guppy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aero_Spacelines



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