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ROBERT HEWSON

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5 RATOC U s~ _

.-- ..oTpu blishing 1V lJlcornpany .CLASSIC AIRLINERS -----I . 0_ ING MODEL 377 STRATOCRU SER Robert Hewson 1\.

We use them for identification purposes only. Galtier Plaza. MEl Publishing Company books are also available ar discounts in bulk quantity for industrial or sales-prcrnotioual u e. note the dis incrive square windows. Boeing Printed in China BELOW:N9094S. a Model 377-10-29. USA. With the exception of quoting brief passages for the purpose of review no pan of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission from the PUblisher.. mentioned here in are the property of Ule rrad ernark holder. 380 Jackson Street. We recognize that some words. St. for ex am pie. Gallier Plaza. The Siratocrui er in the foreground is the fourth Model 377. Shrewsbury.e 200. For details write IQ Special Sales Manager at Mctorbooks International Wholesalers & Distributors. model names and designations. during 1949. All rights reserved.ea' Airway s.380 Jackson Street. after FAA merged with American Over. who also disclaim any liability incurred in connection with the use of this data or specific details. © 2001 Robert Hewson Previously published by Airlife Publishing Ltd. USA. Sui!. Pan American and BOAC. MJ< 55101-3885. joined Pan American as Clipper Monaro'. The information in this book is true and complete to the best of our knowledge. Suite 200. a/the Shi . England. SI Paul. MN 55101-3885. This is no! an official publication. Paul. All recommendations are made without any guarantee on the pan of the author or publisher. s. the Boeing delivery line at Renton is replete with aircraft for Northwest Airlines.10-30 for Northwest.p!"~L PiR1'ceylA PL . Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication ISB 0-7603-1197-8 Data available PREVIOUS PAG& Seen at the height of Stratocruiser production.Thi edition first published in 2001 by MBI Publi hing Company.

CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ~ -- 6 8 1 BACKGROUND AND EVOLUTION 2 3 DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION 22 42 56 76 88 4 IN SERVICE 5 OPERATORS INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS 6 7 THE Guppy CONVERSIONS 8 PRODUCTION HISTORY 9 CHRONOLOGY INDEX 92 104 120 128 .

Of all the aircraft associated with this golden age. Those who came later.the Stratocruiser was the most statesmanlike of them all. 'Strats' crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific in the livery of Pan Amerlcan. if your sleek but always temperamental 'Clipper of the Skies' decided to throw an engine somewhere over the dark waters of the Atlantic The days of cabin stewards and sleeping quarters. American Overseas Airlines. yearn to have been there to have lived with the sight and sound of the great pistonengined airliners that began to criss-cross the globe in the late 1940s an dIg 5Os. and sometimes beyond.BOEING STRATOCRUISER i NTRODUCTION rna via tion there is an era. that has become steeped in magic. but they had an impact . Its portly. 'ui!:li'vl ihd S was the prototype as 'Number BELOW. The days before jets brought cramped and dehumanised air transport to the masses.nor the longevity of the great Douglas pistons . Boeing's Stratocruiser stands apart. RiOI·rr. fantastic outsize cargo aircraft that could haul chunks of the Saturn V moon rocket into the air and which ended their days flying Airbus wings and fuselages to their final assembly place in France. To many. Those were the days before the crushin g science of revenue+passenger+kilometres times per-seat calculations directly affected operating costs . The days before accountants ran airlines and there was no such thing as an airline 'industry'. the Stratocruiser had a quiet but important career as the US Air Force's C-g7 transport and KC-97 air-toair tanker. the 'Strat' adopted the high technology of aircraft like the B-29 and £-50 and added some all-new features of its own. Pan A merican's 00 Clipper on ear-ly visit LO Greal Britain. Known Stratofreightcr Stratoc-uiser and made its maiden to PAA. delivered flQ. Though it had none of the sleekness of the Lockheed Constellation . this aircraf was late. The days when you might not get there at all. Even after the introduction of the jets there was no aircraft that could rival the Stratocruiser in terms of interior space and passenger comfort. Only 56 Stratocruisers were ever built. cruises serenely over Windsor Castle established the IirS! transatlantic ~TQud S l ra tocruiser se rvi ces in June 1949. in an age when only the very rich could afford to fly.and inspired a love .the landmark airlines of their day. The days when flying was still a most glarnourous pursuit . Those who remember it nod sagely and agree that we will never see its like again. Experience with the Model 377 fed directly into Boeing's early jet airliner designs. The KC-97 was the backbone of Strategic l\ie Command's tanker Beet for many years and KC-97s soldiered on in service for decades after the last airliners had been put to rest. The days of the wonderful classic propliners. United and Northwest .out of all proportion to their numbers. weather ships and Morse code. Pan American Flying fug/.g 6 . 'Aigl11 on 367 II' [because il followed the 'l Oth Model off the line). blunt-nosed exterior hid a cabin that was built for the utmost comfort. that lasted for just a few short years after World War II.and no-erie thought it the least unusual. The Stratocruiser pushed the technology of piston -engined aircraft to the limits. In another guise. In those days a succession of technical failures could turn a trip from New York to London into a three-day odyssey . the Model 377 is the definitive design of the great 'propliner' era of the 19508.". The Model 377 design was also reborn m the family of Aero Spacelines Guppy conversions.and definately not for the likes of you and me. NX90700 8 June 1947. aircraft that would all become world-beaters. BOAC.so absolutely crucial these days. A true giant of the skies. as early technical hitches and crashes were endured and overcome.

INTRODUCTION 7 .

Stratocruisers have become synonymous with luxury air travel. Boeing promised that the new aircraft would have the lowest direct operating costs of any land plane transport now built or designed. Boeing made some bold claims for what it described as 'the first of the great post-war supertransport designs with a prototype actually built. in the freighter version.BOEING STRATOCRUISER 1 BACKGROUND . the Stratoliner and the Superfor tress.' The new aircraft would be the Model 377 Stratocruiser. It has behind it the proven performance of the Boeing Flying Fortress. The cocktail bar in the downstairs' lounge has become a legendary feature and the unprecedented level of space on board allowed the airlines to dream up all kinds of diversions for their passengers...' Tbe new aircraft would have a. top speed of 400mph (644km/h) and would be capable offlying from New York to London non-stop. the Atlantic Clipper. At one stage Northwest Airlines hosted 'Strata Fashion Flights' on services from Chicago- 8 . The new aircraft was being designed and built by what was modestly described as 'the company with the greatest experience of any company in the four-engined airplane field. 1¢ per passenger mile or j¢ per cargo ton mile.-. released to the world on 15 November 1944..VOLUTIO AND In its first public statement on the Srratocruiser..

i. the Model 367.EVOLUTION Minneapolis.I and' clcveloprnerrt would not prove to be an easy one.Production of this "jr(:rafl rar exceeded the rratocruiser.~ 9 . The airliner's 'double-bubble' fuselage I( is n01 difficult 10 sec the influence of the Boeing H·2Y in the Model 377 was an extension of 'he D-lY'. U(u:ln~ programme BELOW. New YorkStockholm in less than 12 hours and Miami-Buenos AiJes ill Iess than 13 hours. the sarne. 1'<1.. San Francisco-Honolulu in 7X hours. 10 be built by BQci!1~.end of the 1940 s there was one airline in the world that had such global ambitions. At the . N ew York-Tokyo in ny. The flighl !". BDt!'m~ shoreline for while the wing and tail lay-out of both types 'was essentially BeL(rW Lr::FT: "'1n early view oft he prototype the Stratocruiscr Model 371 owe the Seattle during one of the first rest flights. and the C-97/KC·97 famfly also hod n longer service life. hours. KC-97G 53·3816. Arlev!': Strntocru iscr. The "tory ur the Srretocr-ulser is inextricably linked with its military . was the Ias t of 888 C·'l7. one airline that knew what the corning demand for air travel would be.ibling. It could fly New York-London in about J 1 'll hours. This particular aircraft. At a cruising speed of 340mph (347kmh) the Stratocruiser would cut the travelling time between the world's major cities by a respectable margin.

Trippe established Pan Am (as it was widely referred to later. and was renowned as one of the truly great figures of the airline industry and the history of aviation itself During those decades Pan American became arguably the world's foremost airline and the company won a deserved reputation for trail-blazing and innovation. the airline for which Stratccruiser was designed and built .. on the airline's Latin predecessor network.' - - . The Commodores were the stepping stone to the first Pan American 'Clippera'.. in April 1981.38.Cli'P The immediate buill up an unparalleled America. Flying boats remained the only true long-range airliners and Pan Amer ican grad u a ted to the 22 . encircl ed the glob e. with the 5-'11) was the (seen here in }. P. 10 . but never then) In 1927. the Sikorsky 5-40. PAA was one of the great pioneers of long-range air travel..Pan American Airways (FAA).4cx. as the operating subsidiary of his Aviation Corporation of the Amencas Inc.. but operations began on a very modest scale . associates and Central the airline became around the Caribbean the PAA fleet in 1(n8. Dayl. with an eight-seat Fokker F -VIla/3m. the A CREATION OF PAN AMERICAN The story of the design and development of the Stratocruiser is inextricably linked with that of Juan Trippe and the airline he founded . Cuba.seat Canso lid ated Commodore in 1930. The Ford Trirnotor became another type closely associated with PAA and. By the end of the 1930s Pan American had quickly established a network of routes throughout Central and Southern America. Pan American of services that Pall American It wag from this solid fcundation tha.e PANAGRA launched passenger seaplane operations with Sikorsky S-J8s in 1928. RJ. more of this type flew with Pan American than with any other airline. and Havana.ic<m American 'Clippers'. of the SAO was the Sikorsky 5. ~ Passenger fl ights were establ ished between the same two points later that year.ilt served routes. after the first example entered service in 1926.l\A Hid IVi /I illm JJ<ryI. and its subsidiary airLin. He stayed at the helm of Pan American until a year before his death.co) christened aircraft with PAA. ABove. he T first aircraft largest exclusively Sikorsky S-4{l W~ the first or the Pan American f\me. Using a large fleet of 5·38. which joined and it.with a single Fairchild FC-2 Hoatplane flying a 90-mile (145km) mail route between Key West. Trippe was a visionary and a master negotiator who managed to tie together the interests of three rival groups to establish his new company. ft was the airline that had done so much to establish long-range air travel in the pre-war years. PAA uiu IVillian. Trippe looked to the S-40 as a trans-ocean flying boat and therefore his solution to the quest for ever greater range. ClippOT. The commercial of its day and the three that were bu.Pan American. in Florida.

not least for the high-paying passengers. .4mt) it was the largest commercial aircraft of its day and also the first to carry the 'CLipper' name for Pan Am (the three 5-40s were named American Clipper.EVOLUTION l\rJ()\'~: The Sikorsky 5-42 opened UP" whole new era f. route proving Transatlantic New Zealand. on In 1937 an -42 flew as far south as Auckland. The disciples of the airship were the leading contenders and great vessels like the Graf Zeppelin established the world's first trans-Atlantic air services. survey that same year. they had few size and weight considerations. difficult to handle and offered very limited lift capability. this was generally a small price to pay. In any case. that gave birth to the Focke-Wulf Fw 200 Condor and the Farman 200. PAA t'I" \Villww Doyl. flying boats held the upper hand. with engine failures and other mechanical difficulties a routine fact of life. Land-based aircraft could still not offer the range of seaplanes. For the time being.n which in use until all PAN. h had the unprecedented a fullioacl (I. the fiery death of the Graf Zeppelin's sistership. at least. However.the United States had a handful and Europe had almost none. Ike flights £rom San Francisco. as airliners. In fact. Most importantly of all. No-one claimed that air transport was yet a reliable means of transportation. streamlined refinement that set the DC-3 apart .207km). he fourengined S-42 entered service at the same time as the Douglas DC-3. While they could be difficult to load and unload in choppy conditions. 11 flying boats offered the impression (at least) of safety on long trans-oceanic crossings.. Unlike landplanes. the 3-42 began flying with Pan Am.ended the airship story almost overnight. while other 5-42.. twice as far. both were compromised by their bom er origins. Weighing in at 17 tons (15. airships were slow. The 38-seat Sikorsky 5-40 which entered service in 1931 had all the appearance of a scaled-up Sikorsky 8-38.was devoted to large bombers for the military. capability of carrying of 32 passenger> Over 750 LTLil. but it was almost a braud-new aircraft. if a flying boat got into trouble it could simply land 011 the water below and await the arrival of assistance. This was a compelling argument . The -42s undertook a host of recordbreaking long-range proving trials and PAA ultimately operated a fleet of ten aircraft. an aircraft that had a huge impact on air transport but is today almost forgotten. It had none of the sleek. then there were generally few concerns about running out of space.nr Pan American. delivered four 193+. Ft remained the year 1946 - . In the early 1930s huge debate raged as to what was the best route to follow for truly long-range aircraft. Both were pressed into commercial service (with the latter the more successful) but. Hindenb'urg. because suitable airports with long enough runways were simply unavailable . in 1937. It was military projects. Juan Trippe's airline became the master of the art.almost exclusively in Europe . the DC-2.Aunerican embraced the flying boat ideal and. However. Pan American's in ]W1C Brazilian Clipper. They needed little in the way of facilities to operate just a stretch of clear open water. TAKING THE FLYING BOAT RAIL Pan .but the -42 carried twice as many passengers. Caribbean Clipper and Southern Clipper). If a heavy flying boat needed a longer take-off distance to get airborne. rernaining : -42>1 (from a fleet orlO) were withdrawn and scrapped. The '-40 was followed by the -42. conducted PAA Hd \Villidm 1)"). born in a world edging closer to war. Aircraft designers were still arguing over whether their future airliners should be biplanes or monoplanes and most of the development work being done . just as fast.le RlG.HT: This is the very first 8-42. along wi h Britain's Imperial irways and its great Empire-class flying boats.erican in 1934 and so was really a contemporary of the DC-3's forerunner.and similar bad experiences elsewhere . in a range of of different variants.

mg Atlantic. A number of bugs had to be ironed out before the aircraft was ready to start work on the 12 ABOVE: The Boeing Model 314 Clipper was the ultimate evolution of US eommereial flying boat design. an aircraft that had been expressly designed to the airline's own specification. once and for all. 'The CLipper it whole new era in air is seen her" just prior I" its delivery in Apr-il 1939. was originally intended Cor Commission in "1940. in the Philippines. that there was no real obstacle to regular trans-oceanic flying when it opened its rust air routes to the Far East. 0 n 2S J u net 939 t h is ai rc raft mad e it. but il was sold to the Br-iltsh Purchasing 11. A mail service to Southampton began on 24 June. this time for a large trans-Atlantic flying boat.or about $12.though the aircraft themselves also came with a hefty price tag ($417.BOEING STRATOCRUISER In 1935 Pan American showed. and sometimes as few as one or two were on board In reality.and actually entered initial service on the Pacific routes. They weighed 40tons (36. Trippe would issue a new (and demanding) specification. The first flight from San Francisco lasted seven days. increasingly. FROM MARTIN CLIPPER TO BOEING CLIPPER Pan American Airways launched a new age in air travel with the Martin M-130. Pan American's engineers were already issuing their next set of specifications. The Atlantic was a tough nut to crack. This aircraft. flying from the USA to Manila. The DIXie ClIpper (NC1860S) carried the first paying passengers to Europe on 28 June. Because of these challenges. Though capable of carrying up to 41 seats" most of the time the M-130s operated with very low loads indeed . Staging points in the Azores or at Foynes (near today's Shannon Airport.000).equivalent to about $15. The S-42 had also been designed for PAA and. The first Model 314 was handed over in January 1939 -later than planned . In the end Boeing won the PAA Atlantic design competition and. the M -130 cou ld not accommodate more than eight passengers if it was to carry enough fuel for the critical San FranciscoHonolulu sector. l1flelllg Pall. The one-way fare from San Francisco-Manila was $799 . It then entered RIGHT: Pan American's Dixie C!ipp<r (NC L860S) carried up the first transatlantic passcn gers from th e US to Euro pc. The high cost of the tickets meant that the flights could still make money for Pan American .3mt). but within a few months the Boeing Clipper was ready for duty. and the man ufacturers would compete to meet it. in Ireland) meant that the sector distances were comparable to those in the Pacific.bound traffic. Pan AmerIcan's third Model 314) launched the world's first scheduled transatlantic seaplane service on 20 May 1939. Guam and finally. The Martin Clippers cut the travel time involved from many weeks to several days. In the eyes of many this new Pan . Bo.500 today. These aircraft outclassed anything that had come before them. Manila. Wake Island. Pan American signed a contract for six Model 314 flying boats. The flying boat Yankee Clipper (NC18603. m aid en "oyagc fzom New YQrk ro Marseilles nnd opened transport.000 in tcday's money. The SA2s had paved the way. i\n"l:'!rica . This latter fact is tellingly reflected in the small size of PAA's Aeet of Martin Clippers. from 22-29 November 1935.. The aircraft flew from Port Washington to Marseilles. The S-42 and the M·130 had actually been rivals for the same long-range flying-boat requirement Trippe liked each design so much that he ordered both types! Witb the Martin Clippers entering service in the Pacific. with a return ticket costing $675 . To those travelling on the route money was no object and at each stop along the way they were well looked after in a succession of fine hotels. in July 1936.often the crew outnumbered the passengers. and stopped at Honolulu. Midway Island.taking delivery of three aircraft between October 1935 and March 1936. via the Azores and Lisbon in 29 hours. service with BOAC on thm airline's war-time services. this was how the airline dealt with the aviation industry. could carry up to 74 passengers and had twice the power of the great Martin M -1308. What made the Atlantic so different was (and is) its long periods of bad weather and very-severe headwinds. but Pan Am conquered the Pacific with the Martin M ·130 flying boat . any new airliner would have to have very long legs. which particularly affect west. NCl B6U7.

ieSOI) •• II 13 .EVOLUTION -pOC .

Un til then. a place where anything was possible. NC 19903 ENTER THE STRATOLrnER . However. the Stratoliner proved capable of operating comfortably at 20.096m). and undertook many missions in support of the US military. in 1933. ultimately. and boasted operating costs so low that they shook the entire transport industry. Boeing had the confidence to tackle this ambitious goal because of all the work it had expended on its Model 299 design .the aircraft that became the illustrious B·17 Flying Fortress.reaching out for comfortable. high. US did not enter the war for another two years. 1937 saw a most important event in the Pan American Airlines story . With the larger.. the US airlines and manufacturers pressed on with most of their plans.----------------11 BOEING STRATOGRUISER _--------------- American service was little short of a miracle. the Atlantic services were the product of solid operating procedure and proof of its fundamental competency. In February that year Pan American was finally granted -landing and traffic rights in Britain. High" alti tude.DODft(6.speed air travel at al ti tudes far above the bad weather. The US was largely divorced from the storm douds gathering over Europe and so. was adjudged to have more Bight hours above 30. Once in serv ice. In 1937 Pan American took on new aircraft in its own right when it accepted the first of what would eventually be a huge fleet of Douglas DC -3s. the Douglas Aircraft Corporation trumped Boeing with the DC-2 and then the immortal DC-3 (the Douglas Sleeper Transport. and the provision of this regular reliable air link between Europe and the USA stood as one of the great technical achievements of the age. pressurised StratoLiner 14 Boeing tried to open lip a whole new market . with its wealth of transpacific and long-range flying experience. Pan American was not among the first wave of 'early adopters' for the DC·2 and the Boeing Model 2470. for the first time. and the development of the modern airliner was interrupted As Hitler's war machine smashed across Europe the United States stood back and stayed out of a fight that it did not see as its own. though their attention was diverted by the fighting in Europe. the fledgling service was curtailed and by October it had been halted completely. but it was not too far behind. Boeing intended the Stratoliner to operate routinely at H.just one man.something intangible but so very important.Pan American's civil mission was put to one side. the Clipper services stood for something more than that . of its associates. Pan American's DC-2s were deployed on the routes. all chromium with leather trim. The DC-2 and the DC-3 were the aircraft that finally made real economic sense to the airlines. With the outbreak of war. the Boeing Airplane Company had time to spend on . Boeing hac! sowed the seeds of a whole new industry when it introd uced the Model 24 7D. Unusually. and even higher.and soon the Pacific . be able to conduct landplane operations across the North Atlantic. Pan American's mighty Boeing Cl ippers continued to fly elsewhere in the world. TWA's famed Tommy Tamil son . in September 1939. pressuri sed fligh twas stil I very much a 'black art' at that time . As a bridge between the Old and I ew Worlds however. as it was originally known). the Model 307 Stratoliner.144m) than every other pilot in the world combined. Pan American Airways had taken its first steps into the emerging world of modern airlines when it ordered 18 DC-2s in December 1933. To serve on these new routes PAA ordered a brand new airliner frorn-Soeing.OaDEt (9. an altitude that no other airliner could dream of reaching. The.aircraft like the Douglas DC-4 and Lockheed Constellation. A whole new generation of large long-range landplanes was taking shape on the designer's drawing boards . The four-engined Stratoliner was conceived as a high-flying long-range air transport that would.OOOft (4. To PAA. until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (on 7 December 1941) shocked the nation into action at last. While war raged across Europe . The Strata liner was very much a product of its age .267m). An initial order for eight was placed in October 1937 and these were split between Pan Am and PANAGRA.America and the China National Aviation Corporation.the post-Depression United States. in Seattle. like PANAGRA in South .and. in the story of the Stratocruiser.

EVOLUTION A1l0VE: \'I. worl d's Ii rs I pre ss u rised airliner stone in U'C development or the St ratocruiser.1. NCtQ90.. built and the)' did "01 live up to cxpccta RIGH ns. the by fo ur Tl was powered engines. Booms. delivered - It is . aircrafi . the Stratoliner 10 r: Superficially bore some rescrn blance Stratocruiser..d IlCl'S th c [as' of I h ree S rra toll In Pan Aruericnn. Wri~h! eye/nne nine-cylinder lH-cyLinder Siracoliner.lS. The. the fourth by Howard Hu "he. BOOIng 15 . In its Own right.1 Clipper Flying CI". as his 'flyi n g pen tho use'.100-hp which were a far mighty R-4360 cry From the Stmuocruiaer's & 'Whitney's operated W a sp Majors. it was II disappointment.0 ! he only example that survives intact today Air nnd was the and was The Stratnliner- i _"T cared for by the National Space Museum... a stepping however. Pran was GR-1 R20·G I02 1. lio OnJy a handful WIT.

Washington state. the Caribbean and as far south as Brazil. The Model 300 was reworked into the fina I }vf odel 307 design. did not shake confidence in the aircraft. but this never happened. effectively.------------------nBOEING STRATOCRUISER . the StratoLiner did finally get the chance to fly the Atlantic. ITi" Willi~m /JPll. with no more passengers in reclining chairs.' _ ABOVE: ~rSl Pan American joined the Constellarion club when it took delivery of its Lockheed L. disaster struck. The Stratolmer used the wings. and featured a characteristic upswept nose with a wide curve of flightdeck windows.. Another five aircraft were ordered by Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). The fuselage invariably had a polished all-metal finish and. killing all on board ~ including two representatives from KLM. The PAA aircraft were pooled with T'iAlA's and handed over to military control once the US entered the . despite its portly figure. two hours less than a DC-3. nothing could yet rival'the Stratol. As a testament to its potential for luxury. sleeker ve rs Lon of the B-1 7. at the bands of the United States Army Air Force Air Transport Command. The prototype made its maiden flight on 31 December 1938 ~ by which time Juan Trippe had already signed up for three. In fact it range was not even enough to undertake an adequate one-stop transcontinental route at home. Ironically.ol the improved L 749 a va ilable. THE STRATOLINER ENTERS SERVICE The three Model S-307 Stratoliners (Clipper Rainb011.049 en 5 january 19%. Clippe1' Gamet and Clippe)" Flying Cloud) for Pan American Airways were delivered in 1940. By 1947 Pan Arueri r "n had began to introduce (as seen here) on its North Atlantic service s. Juan Trippe would have liked to bave had 1 his 'own' . The Stratoliner was the first ever-pressurised four-engined airliner. Its payload/range capability feU well short of what was needed and. on 8 July 1940. a four-engined tail dragger th at was a fatter. The PAA Stratoliners were redeployed to routes from the US to Mexico. however. the Stratoliner could not cross the Atlantic and carry passengers at the same time. in service by then - but it was just :n.and the DC-4 E was not pressurised.t soon became clear that the Stratoliner was not capable of doing the job it was designed for. In March 1939 the prototype crashed into Mount Rainier. This sad event. and Lockheed had the bigger and better Constellation taking shape. and major European airlines such asKLM came to see it with serious intent. thus sustaining engine power at high altitudes As interest grew in Boeing's new baby. one Stratoliner was bought by the billionaire Howard Hughes who used it as his own personal 'flying office' ~ this at a time when even small privately-owned aircraft were quite unusual. Another important 8tratoLiner innovation was its use of a new kind of high octane fuel that could maintain higher supercharger pressure. Bermuda.1. All told. Consequently. This advanced technology ~ coupled with its promised performance . only nine Stratoliners were ever built. The Stratoliner could be configured in a Ic-place Pullman sleeper layout.iner in terms of performance and passenger comfort . pressurised fuselage were all-new though. But as far as Pan American was concerned i. Pan American's biggest competitor in the US at the time. Though Douglas 16 had flown its rival DC-4E several months earlier in June 1938. Boeing had very little airliner design experience with just the Model 247D and the Model -fO-A of 1927 to look back on. TWA placed its aircraft into service [erst. PAA bad plans to use its Model 307s all proving flights across the Atlantic.100 airliner. The lines of its 33-seat. or so Boeing hoped. the Model 307 looked like nothing else in the world. tall surfaces and engines of the early-model B-17C.' its new Model . Flying a transcontinental service across the USA the Stratoliner could complete the journey in 13 hours and 40 minutes.would be the key to its success. carrying mail.}irljne:c Constellation the Stratocruiser.

Ultimately though. the Stratoliners carried 70. driven by the technological advances of the wartime industry. better known as the B-29 Superfortress. ·Flying from Miami to destinations like Havana. now owned by the t'mithsonian. Very much in the twilight of their careers. which entered vi~ \ I'i IIi. with five aircraft going to French Indo-China In the hands of Aigle Azur. In January 1940 TWA. They sur vived in to the mid .00 Hight hours. and us T'Wzv. but successful. Boeing was already putting the finishing tou ches on its Model 37/ Stratocr ui se r design for Pan 17 ABOVE: The Lockheed development W. After the war PAA had its three Stratoliners returned. f).ner was destined to became a footnote in the Stratocruiser story. cornpetitor Irel~n<l (N86516) was an early L-049. TVlA aervjcc in February American. A handful of Stratoiioers did keep flying.).ste:Ualion was Ihe: Strutoceuisee's by Pal' American's grenrest g reat rival.JS driven C(H1. which drew heavily on the Model 34S. The DC-4 first Hew on 14 February 1942 but all available aircraft were immediately pressed into military service as C-54s (or RSDs in the Navy). C-/5s carried the likes of Generals George Marshall. they were handling the: 1O){.. flew transport routes to the UK and South America and were also used to train pilots for other fourengined transport types.EVOLUTION war in 1942. S!ar of 194(. by the end of that year. The C-75s were used to carry high-priority VIPs. two months later.000 hours In the air.J".75s were: dernob bed and retu rned to commercial service the airlines were: looking at a whole new generation o_fairliners. III 1936 Trippe sat down alongside the' Big Four' US domestic carriers and the Douglas Aircraft Company. By the tim e the C . Nassau and Port-au-Prince. Repainted in olive drab the Stratoliner was given the service designation C-75.. .500. Today.I. Juan Trippe made sure that his airline was also involved with Boeing's competitors and their alternative aircraft.a Stratoliner previously operated as the personal aircraft of Haiti's president.our New York-Kansas City round trip h every day.000 oceanic crossings and 7.000 passengers in a year and. with Howard Hughes at the helm. and signed all agreement to fund the development of the four-engined DC-4E (not to be confused WIth the smaller. the Stratoli. some 3. Dwight Eisenhower and 'Hap' Arnold The small Ileet of aircraft recorded 45. COMPETITORS AND RIVALS Though Pan American is most closely associated with the Stratocruiser. DC-4 that followed). PAA figures for 19-1-6showed that each of its Straroliners spent around eight-and-a-half hours in the air every day.1960 sand some were even active into the early-1970s. Pan American specified a pressurised cabin (though no DC-4s were ever built that way) and by March 1942 PAA's order had grown to 28. Though they proved to be a disappointment in airline service. while Pan _American ordered just three. the PAA aircraft still continued to provide meaningful service. (the TWA aircraft were handed back to Boeing). the Stratoliners had a good wartime record and despite several dose shaves . just one example survives . not one was lost.. ordered 61 DC-+s.

when Pan American merged with American Overseas Airway . but before too much work could be undertaken W. Trippe: returned to Boeingwhich had cemented faith in its mastery of large aircraft through the success of the B-17 and the B-29 bombers. affordable price.during the wartime years Trippe too had been busy. It was up to the manufacturers to provide th be t solution to PAA's need .The Model 377 followed performance airliner. Deliveries did not start until after the war. quick delivery. which served mostly on domestic and Far Eastern routes. even though Pan American was a Constellation operator. In the end though. With to provide shape Boeing was well-positioned the next generation in the shape of the civilianised Modcl377.000 miles (8. Juan Trippe was Frustrated that his great rival. Bur"'ll went on to operate a staggering total of 92 DC--h. .A.ADOVE. What Pan American wanted was an aircraft that combined the technology of the Stratoliner with the performance of the Model 314 flying boat. BIRTH OF THE STRATOCRU[SER By the end of 1940. It would be a landplane.938kg) payload for 5. The airline even entered into some tentative agreements with some manufacturers for a post-war airliner. when they could have them. By January 19-+I this demanding speeification was being circulated around the major S manufacturers. in January 1946.that it would be the biggest thing in the airline's history. and what it was asking for was extraordinary Pan American Airways wanted its new airliner to be capable of carrying a 17. With the Boeing Clippers. Juan Trippe. ordered by the USAAF in January 1942 as the XC-97. the brilliant but manic Hughes. In June 1947 the more advanced Model 749 began to nter service \.047km) at 375mph (603km/h). The answer was provided by the Boeing Model 367. only Boeing could offer the (unbeatable) combination of availability. hOI On the heels of Ihe military's Medel 3b7. With Lockheed committed to Hughes and TWA. A.uch an aircraft \Vhen the latter was re waled to 'he public in November left most observers reeling. and who got the best customer support. PAA had been operating large four-engined airliners a good ten years before any of its domestic rivals and the airline was keen to keep that advantage alive. had made such a major step forward in aircraft design and. Procurement) had sat down and drawn up the specification for their Dew long-range airliner. necessary speed and desirable payload. This was a design that bad been driven by Howard Hughes and TWA but Juan Trippe had the good sense to see that it was an excellent aircraft and so PM signed up for 22 Icdel 049 Constellations.ies' and those without. ith PAA and. Hughes had enough influence over Lockheed to dictate who was allowed to purchase aircraft.5001b (7. PAA was al 0 an early customer for the Lockheed Constellation. rid War II halted any thoughts of civil aircraft development During the war years Pan American maintained contact with all the companies it saw as prospective suppliers. without question. fully-pressurised and (probably) four-engined. its Constellation fleet grew to 33 The Constellation outclassed virtually every other airliner around and soon became such a dominant force in air transport that there were only two kinds of airlinethose with 'Oon11. They kne -literally and figuratively . The Constellation would not go unchallenged . Priester (Pan American's Vice-President and Chief Engineer) and Franklin Gledhill (PM's Vice-President. As early as 1941 Trippe was already in serious negotiations with Boeing to develop a new long-range airliner that could take on the 18 Aft r the war Pan American Constellation and preserve Pan American's place at the top of the airline tree. 1944 its size and already (aking of pest-war .

Stratocruiser flight trials and certification similar.)0700. \/ih . N lCl39V was handed Pan in Jul} 1'H'l..()72kg) payload. which a short time previously had set a coast-tocoast time of ix hours 57 minutes. Not only that..348km) distance from Seattle to Washington DC. The 2 March 1945 edition of The Aeroplane noted succinctly that. None of the three aircraft saw any wartime service but on 11 January 1945 the prototype set a world record by covering the J. even though b} Uo sing for use in the over to For these tasks it wore a it \ a part of the initial Pan American colour chcme merican order. but not identical.OOOft(9. and at 30. to NX.1Hm) at a speed of 383mph (616km!h). ..indeed i s record-breaking performance was most interesting for tbe insight it gave into the capabilities of the still-classified B-2Q. it was retained p""gramme. 'even flying light.albeit about an aircraft that a commercial eus orner could not (yet) buy. nearly rwo yean after iL' fir . This was not only faster than the Constellation.. " . It was to be the Model 377 Strarocruiser.323-mile (5.'Yn"J had already been adopted and announced by Boeing.' In the K. The new Boeing looked like being ready well before that. DC-f1 and onstellation was all well-known and most ob iervers had expected the DC-7 to be the first of the n w larger Arneri an airliners to become available. but not until 1946. Such an aircraft was virtually tailor-made for the: Pan American requirement and both Boeing and the airline lost no time in t~lking to each other . As early as November 1944 a name and model number for the new airliner 19 ABOVE: Nl039V was the second Srrarocruiser (0 roll off the line and.OOOft. The existence of the D . P-51 Mustang which covered the same distance in six hours 39 minutes. The appearance of the first XC-97 in public caused a stir because very little information had been released about the aircraft while in development. The 'C-97 was conceived as a longrange military transport aircraft with a dual passenger! freight capability. nigh!. in six hours and three minutes while carrying a 20. Two more test aircraft (both Model 367 -1-2s) joined the Right trials programme. The '<C-97's top speed was also a source of great surprise .OOOlb(9. but the XC-97 was fully pressurised and could cruise at up to 30. and it must have shaken our constructors somewhat. as the C-97 probably did.-4. the ground speed of 383mph was an amazing performance. but also the.EVOLUTION Designed and built to a military specification the first XC-97 (the Model 367-1-1) made its maiden flight from Renton on 9 November 1944. It stayed in the air for two hauls and five minute.

The new airliner would have four piston engines rated at 2..to help fund Stratocruiser development.432kg) and a cruising speed of 280mph Apart from the Stratoliner. in tum. and thousands of orders disappeared overnight. transformed into the l\ Lodel 377 through the interest and intervention of Pan Amencan Airways.' At the end of hostilities. :177 litres) of fuel. carry 5.25 percent of the total contract .L. While Douglas and Lockheed had orders. it W"". The armadas of B~29s and their B~SO siblings gave way to the swept-wing jet-powered B-47 Stratobomber. Then. before the Stratofreighter (as the C~97 was known) could become the Stratocruiser. The modest total of C_'97 Stratofreighter production soon ballooned with the arrival of the KC·97 tanker variant and the best part of a 1. Events proved to be particularly fortuitous for Boeing. Just at present it stretches the imagination a bit too far. In the 8-29 Boeing had proven all the engine and airframe technology that peacetime. The Aeroplane sceptically reflected. In fact.000 aircraft were built.700VS gal (21. ~Ia IVillJum 1)". 'WeH that sounds good.1. with the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950.made design that could meet the renewed demand .the discussions with Pan American went unreported. It overcame immense technical difficulties to perfect the B~29 Superfortress. IMPROVING BOEING'S OFFER The Model 36" was that aircraft. but once the Cold War began in earnest Boeing supplied the huge fleet of jet bombers with which the newly-established US Air Force sought to equip itself. Boeing emerged as the master large aircraft builder. required With the end of the war the huge government contracts that had sustained mammoth production day and night across the nation ceased. when carrying between 70 and 100 passengers. After a period of extended negotiations FAA agreed on a down payment of some $6 million . In June 1944 Boeing returned to PAA with an outline commercial design.200hp (l. have a take-off weight of around 120. Boeing's only relevant experience wiih 'modern' airliner design was with the Modcl247D. the Model 377 would offer 'the unprecedented low operating cost of one cent per passenger mile'.but well before the war in Korea that same aircraft was being readied for the: airlines. This shiny new array of jet bombers demanded. the aircraft which ultimately ended the war with the atomic bombs attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. BELOW: or 20 . All the major manufacturers began to look to the civil market to take up their huge surplus 10 capacity . and the new large airliners. PAA banded over more than $.airliner designers were still struggling with types such as the Avro York.though they knew that the numbers would never match those of the wartime 'boom'. the good old days were back in Seattle.or sales. Egyvedt (the man who fathered the Flying Fortress). By early 1945 it was clear that the end of the war was not far away and speculation was growing about the new civil aircraft that would soon emerge.0001b (54.641kW). Boeing had to make some major changes. Boeing found itself in the enviable position of supplying not only the bombers but the tankers too.' eclipsed b)' the superlative Douglas DC-21DC-J and so il did not provide Boeing witb n wealth experience . a Lancaster derivative which was far outclassed by the new American designs. Not only did the company start to work on commercial aircraft. However. Ell 1945. Boeing was not shy in promoting its new aircraft and made some weighty claims for it. Boeing bad not announced any for the Model 377 . an equivalent fleet of air-to-air tankers to support their global deployments and operations. Boeing was lucky to have a ready. According to the Company Chairman c.7 million before it received its first aircraft. but frankly we'll believe it when we see It. A credible and well-respected aircraft.

All the time Pan American was still asking for more. the famed resupply operations by air over the 'hump' of the Himalayas. The same narne wns applied to Pan first Ccnstellanon.EVOLUTION AllOVE: As the first Stratocr-uisar [be illustrious name for Pan Arnerican. Trippe knew that basic aircraft performance would make or break PAA in the fight for traffic after the war. Boeing determined that fuel capacity could grow from 7. PAA's executives could see a whole new market opening up for the airline once the war was over. but looked the same on the outside (apart from a 5ft/1.571 litres) and yet speed had also been increased from 280mph (451km/b) to 340mph (S47km/h).706 litres) to 7. AD told. On 23 March 1945 the Model 377 specification changed again. . This was performance of which any manufacturer at the time would have been justifiably proud. jQlm !lIm"" (. 21 GE already had some experience with turbosuperchargers fitted to Consolidated B-24s during World War TT.236kg). By adding revised wi.1 t rrr'). General Electric had developed an entirely new turbosupercharger that promised dramatic reductions in fuel burn. merican's Nl023V was christened Clipper with Gold"n and the Clipp~r A moned (though il was soon renamed Gille). more fuel and higher operating weights . the payload had been increased by lO.5141itres) of fuel had been fitted in outer wing tanks that had once never been considered. in June 1955.268 kg) to 13. airline IS first Boeing 747. On 4 January 1945 the turbosupercharging system was incorporated in the latest iteration of the Model 377 design. He asked Boeing for more speed. Trippe again asked Boeing to go back to the drawing board and wring the maximum performance out of the design. With their experience of the China. Boeing looked at the drawings once again and found that the new R-4360 engines would indeed fit on the Stratocruiser.another 400US gal (1.S36kg) while the maximum gross weight had grown by 15. Then by accident more than design . Before the war. Boeing found room for another 120 S gal (454 Iitres) offuel and released a further revised specification for the aircraft on 25 November 194+.and suggested this could be achieved by using four of the new 3. Pan Am was not finished though.JAPL (450 kru/h). THE DEFINITIVE STRATOCRUlSER APPEARS These changes were still not enough.OOOlb(58. and this in itself was a very advanced feature.52m extension to the tail fin).200US gal (4.). The final Model 377 configuration that emerged was very different on the inside. and when the final specification for th Boeing Model 377 was released on 28 November 1945 . OOOlb (61. but PAA wanted more.OOOlb(6. in New York state.215 'gal (27. This then was the aircraft that Juan Trippe and Pan American signed up for. Fuel capacity had risen by 2. and that gross weight could rise another 5. All these changes pushed the (then unnamed) 'tratocruisel-'s maximum take-off weight to 130. It had always been planned to I1ta mechanical turbosupercharger to the R-·+360 engine.and its refined design for Boeing promised to take operating economics to another level.:>42 litres) of fuel could be squeezed into the airframe.611kW) engines that Pratt & Whitney had developed for the B-50 bomber.OOOlb (4.:>OOhp (2.up from the previous 675cu ft (19.".the business of carrying freight.though all credit still goes to Boeing .Burma-India air bridge.80+kg).ng tanks an extra t. Pan American had become the largest commercial contractor to the US Army Air Force during the war and this got the airline into a whole new business . air cargo had hardly existed and only mailbags featured as a regular load.0001 b (2.just 87 days after VJ Day .7m') of cargo space . this time to provide 410cu ft (25.OOOU5 gal (7.968kg)."f/ccli.the engineering department at eattle became aware of new developments in superchargers taking shape at General Electric. th is particular aircraft was written off afler a heavy landing at Manila.055US gal (26. At its 'chenectady plant. Ten years later.312 litres).

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which first flew on 9 November 194-+. The Model 377 would inherit the unequalled aerodynamic 24 efficiency of the great Hoeing Superfortress. on 15 November 1944.When Boeing provided the first public details of the Model 377 itratocr ui er. slotted in after the tenth Model 367 (a YC·97 development aircraft). The 1v[odel . . Pea tu ri ng an excl us i ve press urised cab in the ~tratocruiser would be able to maintain a comfortable cabin altitude of 8. it claimed that the new airliner would have the highest overall performance of any ran sport built or designed. and provide a combination of high performance and very low operating cost. The Boeing Model 377 'tra ocruiser was a direct descendant of the Boeing Model 345 (B-29 Superfortress). and the prototype Stratocruiser was built in sequence.lHm).OOOlb (15.876kg) of cargo. Its double deck ('double bubble') fuselage and large fuel capacity would provide unrivalled payloadlrange capability. carrying up to 1 UO passengers or 35. the Stratofreighter.167 and 'Model 377 took the lower section of the 8-29 fuselage and enlarged it to a distinctive 'double bubble' form.438m) when flying at 3(). Top speed would be 400mph (643km/b). Its immediate ancestor was the Model 367.OQOft (9. The Mode) 377 and 367 were constructed on the same production line at Renton.000ft (2.

Lib. the Model 377 proved to be qui te similar to the USA F's YC. The Model 377 used Boeing's 7S-ST alloy structure and had a door and window arrangement similar to that of the YC-97B .I iLOU Y cargo doors and cargo-handling equipment. . ramp.25 The XC-C). Til e rn est 0 bv ious d iITe ren ce be twee n 1 he S Ira roe ru iser an d til e m .DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT ---. ...ider j rc i a] [reign ter ve rsi on 0 r l6 e S u-a Ioc ruiscr bu t I hese pl ans were &. The lower section of the bubble housed cargo and baggage but also provided space for the Stratocruiser's famed lower lounge.rnal as 'the r..97D. Model on the outside VU~Li it was net ~ignjf1LantJy bigger me that it offered set the 317 in a class apart. To link the upper and lower cabins.3m). Boeing the unprecedented lhc Stretocr-uieer tfH:c. Juan Trippe insisted that the mighty 28-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-. '5' of the gianl airliners to go into service' thnn its contemporaries. which had a diameter of 11 ft (3.u.r"l Pi"... A"".f360 Wasp Major be fitted instead (these were later also added to the YC-C)7A and all subsequent members of the C-97 family). However. It was also hard to believe that its blunt-nosed shape could fly so fast.i"g Srratocruiscr thunders styled While off 'he runway at Renton at rhe prototype of another lest Ilight. This through the away its hydrnulicnlly-operated doo rs that led rear loading n. Boeing introduced what would became the Btratccruiser's most talked-about feature . Stratofreighter was 1 he latter's C-97 is see" lucking und ersl un g clamshell bu ilding a comrne soon abandoned.2UOhp Wright R-33S0-23 piston engines .the power plants that had originally been intended for the Model 377.. inside an aircraft! At the time the Model 377 seemed excessively large and was likened to both a flying ocean liner and a flying whale. A"i~'. a one-off VIP conversion that lacked the spartan cargo interior and clamshell loading doors of other Stratofreighters. was powered by four 2.)' "i" so that in cross-section the fuselage had a figure-of-eight shape. LEfT: The beginning '0 lhe me in enbl ADein g eli d con . The main cabin was formed from the new upper lobe.the spiral staircase. 1ill!~1 111(1\11 Aaovu.ing lit. ill fact.

so popular at that time. later sufferedthe Dr On" g'. on 2H September 1947. STRATOCRUISER VARIANTS Although all the Stratocruisers that were delivered to the six primary customer airliners were structurally identical. Both aircraft played a major part in the mandatory Functional and Reliability testing requirement. But however it was laid out. Special cloakrooms were provided for male (forward) and female (aft) passengers and the Stratocruiser's underHoor galley arrangements (located forward) were the largest and best equipped of any contemporary airliner.. MODEL 377-10-19 The Model 377-10-19 was the first commercial version of the Stratofreighter. which could accommodate another 14 passengers ."ash while in regular in Apri.iser typically had 28 upper and lower berths. difficulties that delayed (IV" yean .': .IBOEING STRATOCRUI5ER . particular b urden aircraft with the single p .0101 YP". they had some detail differences. At the end of the spiral staircase was the lower cabin. with the so-called 'observation lou nge' stretching aft from there to the point where the fear fuselage began to slope upwards. a Stratocru. Depending on the seating arrangement the Stratocruiser could carry between 55 and 100 passengers.na Af'L . which were registered as NXI023V and NX1. Stratocruiser deliveries ran from February 1949 to March 1950 and the list price of a new aircraft at that time was approximately $1. replicating standard airline operations. followed by NX 1023V on t 7 April 1948. the entire area was treated as free space for passengers and was never ticketed or sold. ~ production-standard aircrnff shouldered the and fI igh It".039V for trials flying. The most noticeable of these were the 'Douglas style' rectangular windows adopted by Northwest Airlines and United. in a luxuriously appointed cabin..but this space was often devoted to a cocktail bar with some lounge seating. In the sleeper configuration. towards the tail. with Pan American.500.000 each.! 1952. but none of its original operators ever used their aircraft at maximum seating capacity.BOVE: Slr"'""ruioer I NX 1OJ'lV.ng commandeered two production aircraft originally destined for Pan American. To speed up the Right test programme Boei. The single prototype Model 377 Stratocruiser (NX90700) followed the tenth Model 26 . Bo"".A."This the first Strntocru iser 10 ".. A typical load was in the region of 60 passengers. These were N1023V and NI039V. . NI039V flew first. with another five reclining seats. The stairs were situated just behii'ld the trailing edge of the wing. dubbed the Stratocruiser. Boe in g SU IT CT"d 3 TOn ge the Stratocruiser's service entry by nearly sad Iate of becoming service. For this particular phase of the certification programme the Stratocruiser had to undertake a sustained 200-hr Hight schedule and make S4 transcontinental Rights.

These aircraft were all operated by the airline's Atlantic Division and were intended to provide extra range for transatlantic crossings.. Norwegian and Danish ownership. In sleeper configuration they carri ed 25 seats when 18 ber th s were made up to sleep 27 passengers.. The MODEL 377-10-28 SILA (Svensk Tnterkontinental .703 litres offuel (total load then 8.so it was referred to by all at Boeing as 'Number 11'. initially Sew in Boeing house Livery and was used for the certification fI ight testing alongside the -19 prototype (which later also went to PAA). it was later bought by Pan Am and brought up to that airline's -26 model standard. However.because it was used to test a host of trials and development fits.1 n ge' de ck. Pan American ultimately had a fleet of 29 27 MODEL 377-10-26 'SUPER STRATOCRUISER' Ten of Pan American's -26 Stratocruisers were modified to 50called' uper Stratocruiser ' standard. but these were never taken up as the order was cancelled.:'1 ng tratocruisers. All of these were subsequently upgraded with revised with turbosuperchargers that provided an additional SOhp (37. NX 1039V (later N1039V). Extra fuel tanks carrying an additional 450US gall1 .Boeing gave these aircraft the model designation -26.3kW) of power per engine. for which registrations were allocated. thougb the maximum 'coach' layout was 81 to 6 seats.367Stratofreighter off the production line . all of which carried 'Super Stratocruiser' titles on their fins. 20 went straight to Pan American . The Madel U'S AOA had round wer 1] 01. Modd I"eatund unlike the American but sq u are win de verseas Airlines aircraft that joined 377-10-29s built in l he [0 fOT ReeL in 1950. by Boeing. The -19 made its maiden Bight on 8 July 1Y47 and was a Boeing-owned aircraft. a joint airline with wedish. The) launch order rounded for Ihe cabi . LuFtrafik) was a predecessor of today's SA (Scandinavian Airline Systems). gall:! 1. they were modified to -26 standard.board equipment. SILA ordered four -28 Stratocruisers.in the way of most prototypes .191 litres) were fitted to these aircraft.DESIGN 8: DEVELOPMENT . Of the 56 aircraft built. One Pan American aircraft.240U . NX90700 was also known as the 'dog ship' . the Pan American upper deck windows I that made up Pan American's 377-10·26. MODEL 377-10-26 Pan Amer ican Airways was the launch customer for the tratocruiser and bought the lion's share of Boeing's Model 377 production. When PAA took ver the -29 aircraft hat were previously operated by American Overseas Airways. and a variety of 011. The 20 Stratocruisers type "ere designated windows throughout.. Pan American's Stratooruisers were typically configured with 61 seats. ABOVE. B[)t.

in sleeper configuration they carried 25 seats plus 30 berths made up to sleep 45 passengers.lower deck windows nfjol."" quartet of aircraft was acquired instead by BOAC (and later sold on to Transocean airlines) These -28's were configured with a private stateroom. the ·32f. Each aircraft was different to its sisters hips. ish air-line. When Pan Am and AOA merged in 1950 these aircraft were all transferred to the PAA fleet.ABOVE: Noetbwest buill . with the Far Ea'L.much like that fitted to the C-97 A. RiGrlT.pe~ilicall)' preceded different them into was the firs! of BOAC's rOT Model 377. and had a luxury main cabin fitted with 55 seats. situated aft of the main cabin. 28 .[0·32" six of which were and a \/O(~J'y 'he B"i.ilh square to orthwest's Ai dine'. had square. the Northwest 'Strats' were modified to carry up to 83 seats.or 28 when J 6 berths were made up to sleep 24 passengers. This plane wears the 'Orienl tjtl~ aircraft some years after their introduction.:'rl!~ cabin layout.. The -30s were built with a single 'luxury' layout in mind. In sleeper +ayout.10-308 were the only Ser-atoer-ulscrs t 10 be added MODEL . Beginning til 1953 however. The -30s were notable for rectangular cabin windows (earlier aircraft all had circular windows) and later in their lives the Airline added a weather radar in a pimple radorne on the nose . MODEL 377-10-29 MODEL 377-10-32 After Pan American.. They were typically litted with 60 seats and had a maximum seating capacity of 86. Unlike the four e>o-SILA aircraft 'h'" service. seating just 61 on the main deck . when the: airline restyled itself as Northwest Orient to r cfleci its link.. with the first exam pie delivered ill June 1949.. G-AKGH built . seating fell to just 20 . The -29 configuration was very similar to Pan American's own -26s. "ill \. Ten }dodel -30 Stratccruisers were built for Northwest Airltnes (later Northwest Orient) and the first was del ivered in July 194~. the Britisb Overseas Airways Corporation (BOl\C) became the most important Stratocruiser operator American Overseas Airlines ordered eight Model -29 Stratocruiaers.It'lIler K 1. windows Model 377.with another 17 berths available to sleep 26 passengers. 377-10-30 em both decks.

DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT f -- / ) ~I~ ~~ ABoVE' The firs.J-s which. BOAC Stratocruisers. descr-ibed it as 'Seventy-one tons of comfort: the lower lounge could accommodate \2 people two less than most other 'Strats'. later. originally relea e that accompanied (G-ALSCj.". In the BOAC aircraft nited Air Lines ordered seven -3. with 20 seats available when 17 berths were made up to sleep 26. like the -30 aircraft. The Boeing press 13. which bega n to arrive in October ordered of rhe third BOA Stratoccuiser 1949. MODEL 377-10-34 with 17 aircraft eventually wearing BO C colours.32 aircraft was ordered from Boeing. were the four :>. UAL was un usual among Stratocru iser operators j n that all its aircraft spent most of their time on domestic services within the 29 .n~ this photogr-aph. with the first example delivered in __ovember 1949. the former United Stratocruiser . were all fitted with rectangular cabin windows. The main deck of the -32 provided seats for flO passengers.. BOAC's fleet also included the ex~ILA aircraft and. An initial batch of six -. The first -34 was handed over by Boeing in September 19-1-9.lodcl377-l0-28. by SILA.

a former which was converted into a swing-tail frciR"hlcr. or 20 when 17 berths were made up for 26 sleepers.BOEING STRATOCRUISER . They each had an addi tional 12 seats added and so could carry between 75 or 98 passengers in a two-class arrangement . \\'ull<Tl . however these aircraft never entered TAL service as the airline went bust in 19( 0. Four of the second batch of six aircraft. N402Q. 406Q.ir-craft erved on the air-line's trans-Pacific ShOT't service from Los Angeles and to Hawaii. delivered in early 1959 (N405Q. UAL's aircraft were fitted out with a firs class cabin for just 56 seat. IDF/AF.depending on their original configuration. Later in 1959 Transocean took delivery of a third batch of four aircraft.ng United States . Boe.though they did venture as far as Honolulu. MODEL 377 HIGH DENSITY MODIFICATIO ransocean Airlines purchased H Model 377s from BOAC. the Fir t batch of four aircraft (N401Q. in si ngle-class seating.·U'!_ited ABOVE: and they Francisco II or United Mod 377-10-34 a relatively tratocru isers were christened 'Mainlined an a.though not to the same 'super capacity'. Klm't and rhe longest-lived.LOW: The unusual. service Israel stand Out as the most a mojor for the aircraft. This example of all the the one-time implemented transports POI" Anrericnn the air craft into specialist N1030V. N403Q and N 40+0) were fitted wi th a high -density cabin capable of carrying ] 12 passengers. Art~ service career the six surviving were sold lo BOAC in 1954. BI:. with a side c a rgo door. modification five aircraft programme that entered that converted was Isr aeli military tratccruisers. N409Qand 41 OQ) were also refitted with additional seat . These were all former-UAL Stratocruisers that had been acquired by BOAC and so were in a slightly different seating configuration.

were also converted to serve as freighters.were fitted with doors measuring 76in x 80in (193cm x 203. They were also fitted with an internal cargo hoist and a rear loading ramp. A third RA T A aircraft.giant'. To give them some of the tactical operational capabilities of the C-130s the ID F I AF Stratocru isers were fitted with three braking parachutes (one large.8cm x 360. or for special missions. Jess extensive.4X-FOH (later -!-X-FPV) and if -F F (later 4X-FPW) ..4 -FOD (later 4X-FPZ). The swing door was opened by a hydraulic actuator mounted in a fairing forward of the main fin and it was held in place by 12 latches around the circumference of the aircraft.6cm). was fitted with a much larger door that measured 72in x 142in (l82. ABOVE: The newly-added mechanism (extending along with sistership its. These aircraft could carry 110 paratroops. The entire fuselage and fin. just like those found on the C-97. The last aircraft were retired in the mid -1970s. meaning . YV-C-ER].allowing the aircraft to accommodate wide and bulky loads. thou gh several ex -USA F C -97s did remain in Israeli service for several years after that. W 'ANAK' CONVERSION Five Stratocruisers acquired by the Israel Defence Air Force .876kg) of cargo. aft of the wing. At the hands of lAI all five aircraft were fitted with forward cargo doors. allowing small vehicles to be driven up inside the aircraft. Two RANSA aircraft ."1' Klett! lL In oft . The other two Stratocruisers . 31 . In IDFI AF service they were given the local name 'Anak'. 135 infantry soldiers or 35. Three of the Stratocruisers ..were then given underfuselage clamshell freight doors. was hinged and could be folded 92° across to the right .DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT mal lad or err ~ry TRATOCRUI ER CARGO CO V RSIONS When RAN A (Rutas Aereas Nacionales SA) of Venezuela bought its fleet of surplus tratocruisers the airline began to convert them into freighters by adding a side cargo door (in the same style as the C-97).2cm). -+ -FOG (later 4X-FPX) and 4 -F I (later 4X-FP ) .underwent a dramatic swingtail conversion. rear fuselage hinge s. \Valh. and the fairing [or th e tail opening which received 'C·97-st)'le' clamshell doors as part of from the fin root) can clearly be seen in this view of 4X-FPw' 4X-FPY cargo conversion.. was about to undergo its freighter conversion when the airline went ou of busine s in 1956. nee the C-130 became available for export to Israel there was no need to sustain the expensive-to-operate Stratocruisers any longer. These dramatic modifications would have allowed the tratocruisers to land and take-off from short unprepared strips in time of war.RK.YV-C-ERH and W-e-ERI .OOOLb (15. A fourth aircraft. two small) and provision for 22 RATO (Rocket-Assisted Take-Off) bottles on the aft fuselage sides. YV.

[f the outbreak of World War IT had not scaled back the ambitions and importance of the civil air transport industry it is quite possible that the tratocruiser would have appeared before the tratofreighter and. en rOIl'. Described or an overall the fourth ordered batch often in July 1945.Lllm1T)' 32 .sing over Jupan and.)7 family and an in 19%.BOEING STRATOCRUISER THE"Ilf ilf"A/S. for a new long-l·angt-97Ie. without the war in the Pacific.aJL through KC-97Ls KC-97L standard the addition to improve soldiered on well into the 1970.'iathal1' by USAF (ofsi~) VC97. proudly Oil its fin. With America embroiled in a transpacifc war. with both military and civil requirements expressed in the basic design. AflOVE: wearing its 'Pacific Air Transport Division' credential.. were modified total o{sn were buill before the advent of the KC-I3S.. with tho: and two burning'.UM. to its l1[St stopping to Pan American's this Stc. to the Air N ational Guard of}17 turbojets.. the Boeing lode! 367. the Stratofreighter was conceived as a transpacific military freighter in San FranciscoBay. it was almost identical public aflai r's copywrirers.tl." was BIOI_OW: The KC-97G impressive Beginning performance. In fact. Iare The :ijIIS KC-97 Force Military Island. i urning in 196+ . to their overall G -111i. USA F tn~ \ Vd Ifcr K'. perhaps the latter might not have existed at all.irc. aircraft S!epllctl the last production attached var-iant of the C-. a' is actually test aircrafi :.cOIfTCCllJlII/IIO • • • BOEING MODEL 367 C-97 STRATOFREIGHTER. development of the two was intertwined. to serve irs trans-oceanic routes.:orreigbteltransport is pictured The story 0 the Stratocruiser would not be complete without a brief record of its immediate predecessor. eRe)] was conceived airliner part as a long-range for the war agninst requirement .li:eigblcr pre-service ofT point in Hawaii. entice SVal. is seen in IuJ~r 1973 with 'four P11:'-C€"! Al'tdUUn PIcture. this US Air pru:.

The C-<r/'s pressurised cabin made h well-sui led '-0 carrying sick Or wounded in this Pan Arne rican Stratocruiscr (below) are having il more luxurious Aighl. Bu". passengers while ito.. while the de luxe sea IS could b~ r-.DESIGNS: DEVELOPMENT ABOVE 1u''DBaow. Unsul-pcisinll-i) there was a stark difference between 'he personnel. This C-97 (above) is ri&g£dfer air evacuation dudes and is carrying rnsualties horne frorn the Korean War."!! 33 ... dined or even made up in. Instead or stretchers sleeping berths can be lowered from the cabin roor. high cruising ahirude made [D' a more oomfortahle ride. The interiors of the USAF's Model 367. double beds. and ais-lincs' Model 377..

and a new three-bladed used to produce performance Wall"" Kfem OIl~C the USA F took the decision to acquire fitled lo the ·97A" This YC-97 A " C-Q7 As. records The YC-97J. but they hold n plnce of their own in the overall sag" of the were built to lest the Pratt & Whitney prop. preduction-standard to an equivalent seen over level. LISAI' engine. However. of the.34turhoprop in proven itself in the Berlin airlift lO' '011'1" real service experience. maiden night of the lirst YC-97 A the type had was dispatched in service. powered YC·9iJ testbed. may be only a footnote T.DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT ABoVE: Within mont h. The). the B377 G Super Guppy both aircraft were latur tI. Golden but the new engines were not adopted . They to Germany were upgraded BELOW: The two turboprop Srratocruiser. USAFnw \valler Klein 35 .d an Francisco'. set man)' in-service conversion. gaining rhe third aircraft the C-97 story. the YC-Q7s eernnined the chin radomc Gate Brjdge.

test Right and is performing check on all his rni sion BO<li. panel. had hecn buill. Six YC-97s were followed by three YC-97 As (Model 367-4-6 ). could be swivelled sear. but did have revised engine nacelles for its Wright R-3330-57A piston engines Within the batch of ten aircraft there were three distinct build standards. The bulky scope for the APS-42A between instrument identifiable rada r.. as seen here..BOEING STRATOCRUISER experience. Identifiable give-away refuelling by their ide "argo doors.~ 36 . A""ing Am lVl. their lack of cabin windows and the boom. When the first XC-97 (Model 367-1. With Cold War demand al its peak. such as therrn a] de. with white lines grouping Ilndng RIGI rr: The navigator AP -42A was lirslfitlcd it> ground through had hi own dedicated abilities. This aircraft were virtually identical to the XC-97. pre-delivery equipment.' Ihe ra re or one pel' day. Note the relatively related clean layout of the main into easily inst rumerus together the pilot and co-pilot' visual duster.-1) made its maiden flight on 9 November 1944 it was powered by four Wright R-3350 piston engines. and these wet'e"'fitted to all three XC-97 prototypes.Rrrurr. The YC-97As had numerous refinements compared to the XC-97. AP5-+2A radar. on a LOC-97.icing. They also featured the full 7s-ST alloy ABOVE.by which time over ~oo C-97.-mghl i_~ about to embark mapping functions and could even detect other air-bor-ne targets.. as seen on the night deck of a KC-'. The first example made its maiden Bight on 11 larch 19+1. were tolling out of the Scanle plunt . finished KC-97G. designated YC-97s (Model 367. in 1950 and was used chiefly a" a navigation The radar also bad weather This crewman a full pr. and the basic design was built up from the proven 8-29 wing mated to an enlarged B-29 main Fuselage. hydrau lie rudder boost and nose wheel steering. In July 19·Ei the USAAF (soon to become the US Air Force in its own right) ordered ten pre-production d velopment aircraft.I7G. aid. The C·97 ram ily became the firSl production-standard USAF transport aircraft io carry radar as pari of their basic equipment. these KC-97Gs are seen still lilling the Renton f" tory Hoor as late as 1954.5).5.

DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT • 37 ..

DOVE: When refuelling aircrata like this B-SOD Superforrress. The third YC-97 A took part in the Berlin Air Lift of 1948 and all three were later modified to C-97 A standard for service with the U AF. The introduction performance receivers. These aircraft were a success in their test and development role. I t had no cargo doors and an airline-style cabin capable of seating up to 80 passengers. and the swept-wing that they replaced.n" structure and extended tail fm that" became standard on all subsequent aircraft (and the tratocruiser). and were fitted with Hamilton Standard props.97C. 60 KC-C)7E tankers were built. pushing throttled differential of jet bomber s. but were later converted back to transports. a dedicated VIP conversion.lI\~ of purpose-built Bo<. The hrst full production version of the Model 367 was the C-97 A (Model 367-4-19). to prove the flying boom refuelling system on the Stratcfreighter. converted 10 KC-97 A standard. trial. The KC-1J7 found itself struggling the KC-97A along in tail-high back 10 minimum speed. The last of the YC-97s was the Y -97B. based on the C-97C airframe. paving the way for a dedicated air-to-air refuelling version of the Stratofreighter. greater within its performance limits and suffered none of the difficulties tanker. were "eTY successful and paved Ihe way for the hundred. Note the nose-up position. Three aircraft were modified to serve as KC-97 As. followed by an 38 . a little to keep up. the KC-97 was well of the KB-29s "These BEl. They were fitted with the flying book refuelling system that Boeing had first developed for the KB-29P. 500 which were built. between the pisron-engincd brought with it. In 1g 54 it was redesignated as the C-97D. This is another attitude of the B-47 which is the bomber is even though eaely trial involving a KC-97A. A total of 1 S9 KC-97Fs were built. AU the YC-97s used Curtiss Electric propellers. BO. These aircraft were fitted with the distinctive chin radorne that housed the ANI APS-42 radar.OW. The main KC-97 versions were the [( -97F and the KC-97G. KC-97s thai followed. These aircraft had a strengthened cargo floor and were intended for aeromedical evacuation tasks. like this 8-17B. This tanker is one of the three C-!)7 A. The C -97A led to the improved C. 14 of which were built by 19:i1.

i DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT i ~ 2827 astonishing 592 [(C~97Gs.!! J 47 je rcngi ncs allowed but only just. The to stay u setul we II in to the jet age. ill 1956.. in this engine In inside.97 is well-illustrated boom the aircraft & Whitney Wasp Major by Ihis KC-97G..in ABO\l~. Guard. These aircraft were the backbone of SAC's tanker fleet until the arrival of the Boeing KC-135A. SAR BElOIV: The 1". medical evacuation (IvfC-97C).. Many C-97s were later converted for other specialist tasks such as electronic systems development (EC-97G).. This Illinois ANG tanker is seen here rduelling an early-production F-'lCPhanlonl. While refuelling is still able to carry cargo. 39 . Bo'. These aircraft were particularly active on fl ights along the Berlin corridors over East Germany. retaining the outward appearance of regular transports to hide their secret work..1 serving bcened 1<C-97L. VIP transport (VC-97D) and a one-off testbed for a probe-and-drogue refuelling system (KC-97H)..1)i" (He-97G). operated add itional veraions of the C-97 in the Unit~d States were the jetb)· the US Air Force Air National the KC-97. Several C-97s were also converted for clandestine Cold War reconnaissance tasks. KI.. These aircraft were known as KC. The KC-'nG under-wing by relocating some or its fuel' streamlined pods. (ron. Walt.97 Ls and stayed ill service until 1977. When they were retired from front-line service many KC-97Gs were transferred to Air National Guard units becoming C-97G transports. Some were used by the ANG as tankers and were refitted with ]47 jet engines to improve performance. The dual capability retaining case" freed-up its air-to-air internal contain . general lest work (JC-97A). with a Prall r volume of the KC. engine testbed (YC-97J). Tactical Ai" Co:mmal"ld.

On Mo del 367 d eliveries handed 377 Srratoc ru isc r prod u <:1io n tenfo ld.ER J AHOVE: When the 50!l1h C-9'7 was delivered ex ceed cd Mode! aircraft imti I to the USAF On 5 . B(lcll:ll£ which ushered Squadron. 40 .\ (odd 367-80 Boeing's the n u. El Paso Texas.\·far. in a whole :5"0 :L' the St •a ocruise. Jml 7.m bCT5 wow d keep growing 0\'(:1:.BOEING STRATOCRUIS. irs KD-29P at Biggs AFB. the Boeing was the KC·97 replaced OTI 'This particular Bo.h 1'154 Boeing B~L(}W.r gav" way (largely) by the Stratorareker. an d an asr orris hi ng 88M aire raft h fI d been to the {j7lh Air Refuelling of was delivered or the 10 18 Ju Iy 1956 Boeing hosl ed a ceremony ar RC1'Wn (0 mark the roll-out last KC-97 and the first KC-13.A. new era for military and civil aviation.07 in air line ser-vice. when that unit began the replacement rankers. ..i"g Borh the Model 707 and the C-BS ramily were bused prototype.

International 'C-97G' freighter 0111'1'1 ies LO RIGHT: Red Cross.1 II"". US fire-fighting specialist Hawkins & Powers WIIS' acquired • number of ex-/\NG KC·97L. found their way the hands of commerniai ope rntora who needed the ai. Brawn Ii \ !_.ilrr'$h ea vylif ca pa bil i lie's..I DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT AHOI'E: Our of uniform. A rue ng the' best k 11own ~'C'" ihe four e. Agro A ir struggled Pi<!. to fly r-elief Biufra. A!lslmj BfOWJlIAvl~110" 41 .. illlll several C-97. bbrary into (he ""rly 1990" and this C·97G is seen landing Miami in lQS8. bur this plan for possible abandoned A ttItTn).'uj nou BELOw: Plctll m L ibm. acquired ill 1969 by LO lb. llj~ LlI .~cl. r)' C-97 operators was Agro at r\:ir or the The last commercial Dominican Republic. Converted standard back they were used...-USAF KC-97G. cnnversion to fircbcm bers.

AI this time SAS had not yet cancelled of the 110ft (33.977kW) and 2. boss of Pan American Airways who saw that his 'ultimate airliner' would only fulfil its true potential when fitted with the 'ultimate' powerplant. he R-4360 evolved from the other big piston engines developed by Pratt & Whitney during World War Il.3 ENGINES ICAL EC SPEC) ICATION distinctive cylinder arrangement. from SILA. Though the first Boeing Model 367 (XC-97) was powered by the Wright R-33S0. The Wasp Major was a radial piston engine that boasted 28-cylinders in a four-row layout.800hp (2.52m) is nlso well-illustrated. degree of scale to the sheer size of the Srraroceuiser. r tentered its first phase of tests m June 1942 and by year end was runrung at an unprecedented 3. Another unusual feature was the engine's one-piece crankshaft and split master rods.l:. Because of its most ADOVE: The Stratocruiser's provided Stratocruiser's ground-r-unning.650hp (1 . bubble' fuselage John . The engine's normal rating was between 2. outstanding mighty Prau & Whitney needed.611k W).126k W).Ihe all the bailie power the aircraft However. the engine was universally known a the 'com cob'.238k W).IToud Coll<oi. high-altitude performance R-4361l Wasp Major engines Rrcrrr. the R-4360 was specified for the Model 377 Stratocruiser from the outset. Siuing' in the centre-section at! evident on this BOAC Modcl377-10-28.onl AUI"tion Pictu<c Lib"'T)' Boeing 42 . The Wasp Major was also fitted with turbosuperchargers. are particularly The open eowillap>. was its specially-developed at Seattle. 'Siltillg Pretty' (according Strarocruiser construction ladies lend unmistakable customer to Boeing). It was Juan Trippe. the real secret of the required during airlines 'model' their flew aircraft. excellent 'double G neral Electr-ic BH4 turbosuperchargers. but for take-off power output could be water-boosted to 3. si" air hostesses from each of the .500hp (2.i~ while still under its order inherited The long fuse lag .OOOhp(2. Pratt & Whitney's R-4360 Wasp Major engine stands as a landmark in the story of piston engine development. (see page 46).

~~ ~~~~~~_jIT~E~C~H~N~IC~A:L~S:P~E~C~IF~l~C:An~O.N11--------------------- 43 .

Each of the Stratocruiser's four engines were interchangeable and so could be easily swapped around for maintenance or replacement. This was not a universal feature On aircraft of the 'tratocruiser's vintage, and so was a major cause of celebration for the engineers that had to keep the often idiosyncratic .. . engines to service. When BOAC first took delivery of its aircraft the mean time between overhaul for its Wasp major engines was 600 hours. By the time of the type's retirement in 1958 this had increased to 1,600 hours. Over the same period the propeller overhaul interval had increased from 600 hours to 200 hours.

PROPELLERS
Pan American chose Hamilton Standard fully-feathering and braking propellers, with their distinctive curved section and squared-off tips. These were refitted to the eight AOA aircraft after they were merged into the Pan American fleet in 1950. They replaced the Curtiss Electric electrically-powered

44

,TECHNICAL SPEC IFlCATION ,

Al!OV~;

The Srratocruiser's

Aighldeck,

or control

cabin "" it was referred afforded The cockpit appreciated.

10

nt the

time.

\I.o'3.1i:

2,S64'<l
IlTId

rt (266m')

a roomy and efficient nl"window
Bfl,l>
I

wcrkptace.

The good visibility

by wa, navigator

Ilnangcc.1 Ior 11crc« rad io oper ato r.

or Jive including
ng marked fuselage

area cart he clearly

the pilot. co-pilot, flight engineer.

Aaovr LEFT: Clearly ~,clor.y floor, Forward background. Though

as a;""'-afl secrions

[or Pan American, for subsequent

and Nu,dnvC5t
On

Airlin~. lhi1i row of 51 ratocruiscr the assembly

fuselage sections

is being joined aircraft

the Renton Boeing from July

can be seen in the

facililies may seen, unsophisucated, over a per-iod or just 30 month.

managed to build .Ll 50 5t ratocruisers 1947 10 Dece rn ber 1949. /loe; P1g LEFT: Throughout problems. its years of service themselves

the Stratocruiser airlines

suffered

man)

technical with but by far

some more serious

(han ethers, The

experienced

difficulties

the \Vasp major engines 'Props- After

and the new rurbosuncrchargers, by break-away prop"

the, mo." d a nge reus in cid c nt.., were ca used by the origi n" I Ham iIto n Sw n dard a spat e of accidents
10 failure.

caused

and damaged blades which new designs

engine', 'Ham 51:'''' had to redesign had proved ,0 pmnc

the hollow-section

stee] propeller

The company

drew up four potential

and settled on new hollow dural prop •. AVlatiun r~"!m~ Lib"lT.)!

reversible pitch propellers, which had been adopted by most of the other Stratocrniser customers. All the props were 16ft 8in (5.12m) in diameter. The propellers became a source of worry immediately after the loss of the first passenger-carrying ~tratocrwser in April 1952. Propeller failure was suspected as the main ca use of the accident, but not enough parts could be recovered from the crash area to prove the theory. Other Stratocruisers began to looseentire props and with them. their engines. On 25 March 1957, following the crash of two Pan American aircraft into the Pacific (in March 1955 and October 1956) and two further incidents reported by PAA Alaska Division, the Civil Aviation Board made some mandatory changes to the oil transfer bearing design on the Hamilton Standard propellers. The Curtiss Electric props never suffered any of the same failures and continued to give trouble-free service. 45

BOEING STRATOC.RUISER

AOOVE: One intriguing approach innovation
nOI

feature

or the

Stratocruiser was its folding

tailfin, a design

that wa also included

on ihe Model 367. The reason for such an

was su-aightfoward - without the folding fin. the Stratceruiscr could be accommodated b)' the hangars of the day. very few of which had been buill [or aircraft of this size. This is 'he Modcl377 prototype, seen perhaps on the day of it> roll-out, on 2 July 1947. /loci".:

The problem with the Hamilton Standard propellers lay in their basic construction. The blades were formed from hollow steel forgings filled with sponge rubber, and later, nylon. While there were a very aerodynamic design they were also prone to fatigue cracking. This problem was solved, to a large degree, by replacing the original blades with new sold-core blades.

TURBOSUPERCHARGERS

Th tratocruisers was the first commercial aircraft to be fitted with turbosupercharged engines. Thanks to its General Electric BH4 turbosuperchar gera. the Stratocruiser could operate economically at speeds of over 300mph (483km/h) at an altitude of 25,OOOft (7,620m), The BH4 worked by augmenting the geared blower of the Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engine - more than doubling its perforrnanc at altitude. At 25,OOOft the engine would develop 1.300hp (97kW) unaided. but with the turbosupercharger in operation available power was boosted to 2,700hp (2,104kW). Hot exhaust gasses from the engine's 28 cylinders were drawn out by the exhaust system through a nozalebox into a rotating turbine wheel. This turbine powered an air compressor that drew in outside air through a ram inlet above the engine. This 'turbo-driven' air was compressed. or 'supercharged', then cooled (by an intercooler) and sent directly into the engine's carburettor, where it was mixed with fuel. This fuel-air mixture was next fed into the engine's wn gear46

..

driven internal supercharger where it was further compressed and then injected into the intake manifold and back to the cylinders. The amount of supercharged air was varied by simply opening a wastegate bleed valve on the exhaust pipe leading to the turbine. The amount of supercharging available was dictated by the power schedule of the engine. A turbosupercharger (often referred to simply as a turbo) has several important benefits for the piston engine. By increasing the air pressure in the engine cylinders, a turbo raises the level of available horsepower. Thus an engine can deliver the same power output at high altitude as it would in the denser air at sea level. By raising the cylinder air pressure and using engine exhaust gasses in this cycle, fuel consumption is cut back. Thi obviously allows the aircraft t fly further on any given fuel load. Flying at higher altitudes (thanks to the extra power now available) makes the aircraft faster. For every l,OOOft (305m) of higher attitude that the 'tratocruiser could reach. its air speed increased by about one percent - thanks to the lower drag of the thinner air. There was also a knock-on effect from the extra power provided by the turbo itself. The BH4 was designed especially for the (medium) altitudes where the tratocruiser spent most of its time. It was different to military turbo upercharger designs which were usually optimised for higher speeds or higher altitudes. The BH4 was about half the size of a ypical military turbosupercharger, which were then quite common on piston-engined aircraft. Each unit weighed in at around 2201b (100kg). It proved to be a quite demanding design task. The rich highpower fuel mixtures set for commercial cruising operations resulted in much higher exhaust gas temperatures than were found on military aircraft. Also, commercial aircraft flew longer

In this photograph there are eight men working reason why such seemingly Canopus. In later years some '.tratocruisers were fitted out to carry up to 115 passengers by Transocean. pictured was being made ready one of the R-436U engine. initially. this space wa given over to the famed cocktail lounge. Pan Am had its Stratocruisers configured. on the port side of the upper cabin.. with 53 seats in the main cabin plus two four-seat 'family cabins' amidships. plus another five reclining seats if required. The additional 14 seats were located in the lower deck. Refuelling was conducted through an underwing connection and all the tanks could be filled in about 15 minutes. When pressurised. At the aircraft's maximum cruising altitude of 25. A lower rear cargo door. F ELSYSTEM The trarocruiser had five groups of seven bladder-type fuels cells . plus the additional lounge space (14 seats). Therefore General Electric had to solve a variety of problems to ensure that the Stratocruiser turbosuperchargers would have an acceptable performance and service life. VVIP Srratocrui •er. There were also] 4 potential seats available in the downstairs lounge. a quick Or easy task as the: aircraft on just lavish 'vas fiendishly attention Princess complicated. for a maximum of 75 passengers. The main cabin entrance was located a t.\C'.790US gal (6. The aircraft had 28 berths.OOOft(4. trarocruiser maintenance However.and lower-decks.TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION and more often than military types and so the BH4 had to be a very robust design. the Stratocruiser's main cabin was maintained at a sea-level equivalent altitude.5 75m).all made from nylon . enjoyed a particular status a. When fitted out in full sleeper configuration on the upper.fitted in its wings.488 litres). could also be used to gain access via the internal lounge stairway.486Imp gal/29. was seldom there was. John StTnud Co!!ecl. BO. Aaove.000ft the cabin 47 . Passenger comfort was also assured by fullyautomatic air conditioning and a radiant/convection cabin heating system. The airlines knew that their passengers w~re all going to be prestige customers and there was no conception that these stately airliners could ever carry som thing as vulgar as 'Tourist Class'! The main cabin was usually fitted with around 65 to 67 seats. with a built-in stairs. C. The basic fuel capacity was 7.onIAvialian Picture Lif>rary CABIN LAYOUT Boeing offeri ng new customers several choices of baseline interior fit for th Stratocruiser. At the other end of the scale was the high density cabin capable of seating 100 passengers. CABIN COMFOR The tratocruiser's pressurised cabin was one of its major early selling points. Not one of the original five customers opted for anything but the most refined of cabin layouts."OPU. The aircraft and the Duke of • din burgh on their royal visit to Canada. but before long.. while th aircraft was cruising at heights lip to 15. Fihon hangar during was being paid to the BOAC Elizabeth 51 ratocruiser here in a to Lake the Q<:tober 1951.

fore and aft of the wing. reading light switch. By cruising at 15. Boei. browned preparation b) celebrated Swiss chefs'.9Sm') of usable space and a payload of 35.c..OOOft(1. r Lon•.R76kg) 48 . seat number Sign. of course! UmkJ A.. regular passenger-carrying duties. There were separate cloakroom facilities for both men and women . This version was intended to have 3.06m). PASSENGER ACCOMMODATION Boeing's Engineering Division made a special effort ta-develop the seats and sleeping berths for the Stratocruiser passengers.OOOftthe Stratocruiser was above most of the worst storm activity found over the Atlantic which had major implications both for passenger comfort and for overall safety. but thanks to the fore-sight of Pan American's Juan Trippe the Stratocruiser was one of the first airliners express! y designed to carry cargo as part of it. ash tray. and reclining seat controls. which supports alDOl b blonde without springing her up into the luggage rack. WoN. the private compartments could be fitted w.680m).OOOlb(15. must be equally pleasing to the 300-poUl1der without sinking him to the floor.. 'garnished by the Steward '..th a bathroom. which it outlined in some of the earl y press material about the aircraft. ABOVE' 10 perfection aloft after its all part of its Mainliner Strarocruiser IlL. Standard seat pitch was an extremely generous {Oin (102cm) The night sleeper seats could be converted into a bed measuring 74in x 42in (1. Each seat also had a slot into which a dinner tray could be secured. berth and settee.(11 ain ca bi n b~ l we ~t ewa rdesses. \Vhen describing the Stratocrulser's seats. The same seat. Boeing's press material from the time boasted.' CARGO HAi\1DLING The Stratocruiser had the Model 367 design to thank for its substantial load-carrying ability..\"U ry 'service. an 'occupied" placard. The De Luxe passenger 'day' seats-weighed 75lb (34kg) each and had an innovative control panel with a call-bell.. The forward cargo door measured 4 ft 11 in (1. Meal s were ser ved in the s pac io U 5 .ng did once plan to produce an all-cargo version of the Model 377. while the rear door was 4ft Sin (1.measuring 238cu ft (666m') and 228cu ft (6.83m x 1 . once rhey had bee".i.34m) wide. Sill) across. The lower cargo deck had two loading doors. 'Whether you are a petite blonde of 100lb or a buxom butter-and-egg man of 3001b you'll be equally comfortable. ..000cu ft (84. Furthermore. Kkill United boasted about the 'hOI food.interior remained at an equivalent pressure of S.38m') respectively.

Not all used. gav" th feature of rhe Stratocruiser its 'oceanliner intimate ofthe was its lower It skies' appeal. linked The mirrored wasf •• tures like this. /I"flfl. h lounge bUI it still remains perhaps the must fond1} to the main cabin Stratocruiser by the renowned spiral staircase. ''''}''.TECH NJCAL SPEC IFICATI ON .. The lounge area could be ocufuted with 14 passenger airlines used the splice in different degree possible. nighrclubesque feel to it. and different to the most luxurious walls.BOICE Al\'U B"I. tho. plush upholster-y and rather seating remembered aspect of air travel of all Lime.~pltnt'" 49 ...11W: The most celebrated deck cocktail lounge. had an ""citing scats.

engineer and radio operator. The navigator and radio operator sat further back and the cockpit even had its own toilet facilities. The rest of the 'control cabin'.BOVI~: For oveeniglu folded berths rignl down were separate $1 eper services fold-out the Stratocruiser's main seats could be Above these lower of degree and converted 10 double beds. as 11 was referred to at the time. proud Boeing of its de luxe cabin and develop.IlOOman-hours of dollars. The Bight engineer sat directly an of the central engine pedestal.A. seal. where all the engine instruments we e mounted. with provision for an observer.d was extremely taken 5UO.2 5m ') with 134sq ft (12 .4m') or 50 .[fered an even greater com fort to the pampered LEfT: Boeing thousands passengers. beds which ". The pilot and co-pilot sat sideby-side with full dual controls. which il claimed hundreds h. to design at the cost of man)' "f Bneillil FLIGHTDECK LAYOUT The Stratocruiser was designed to be flown by a crew of five. if required. The cock pit measured some 680cu ft (19. was occupied by a navigator. Their seats were located inboard in the wide noise ection.

seal. allowing an increase in the total fuel load from 6. The balance of the 19 windows were a single plane plastic unit. for which to take sextant readings.000 miles (4.OOOlb (11 . DOOlb(66.900 gal (5.5DOlb (64.615US gal (6.119 iitres] to 7. Heathrow and the transit stop at Goose Bay. This benefited operations from Idlewild. but not Gander where the runway was too short. control panel autopilot with moat of the key instruments behind the co-pilot'.3411mp gal/28. ABOVE: The pilot's instrument panel on the l\lodel377 wa s simple and uncluttered.63 kg) to 14S. The galley was fitted with electric oven. The cabin crew had a fully-equipped flying kitch n at their disposal to cater for their passengers. The navigator had a flat-surfaced astral window in the roof. Bo. refrigerators. The galley's total area was some 350cu ft (9.135kg). In June 1950 the U' Federal Aviation Administration approved a revised operating manual for the Stratocruiser that permitted an increase in gros weight from J4. The window glass offered an unprecedented field of view with 2.2.5001b (64. more than adequate cupboard space and vacuum containers for storing hot and cold food and drink.864sq in (266m') of glazed area.5001b (+.763kg) payload the aircraft could cover 4. The forward windows were made from electrically-heated Nesa glass.i"l1 switch foc that system cal' be seen on 101' of either control GALLEY The tratocruiser's large lower galley was something of a marvel for its day.H5Imp gall 51 FUSELAGE. which was toughened to resist birdstrikes.403krn). Later the weight was increased again to 147. 26.8m'). The main fuselage was a semr-rnorioc oq ue . The (sophisticated located on the Right engineer's Ira ocrul cr did h av e a rudimentary for its time) and the engage/disengage wheel.6 79kg).availablefloor space.825 litres) With a 10. WINGS AND TAIL The Stratocruiser 'double-bubble' used traditional all-metal construction.8001b (66.828km) with a payload of 23.340kg). WEIGHTS AND LOADING When the Sttatocruiser was certified in epternber 1948 its allup weight had finally reached 142.638kg). instead of an astrodome.600 miles (7. or 3.

·f}? fuselngc section 10 under constructjon. Hinges were fitted to the (otherwise) fixed leading-edge sections so that they could be lowered for maintenance access on the ground. with an inverted 6gure-of-eight cross-section specially designed for pressurisation. from such a view i1 iiS vu-ruall 'i impossible the lighis hung inside the airframe.\ .AU""I': The level of ~4uipIl1C"1 11T''it.. in a Stralncrtli"lcr unprecedented. the nircrnfr factory 10 i:F!i rhough From nctunlly comes a m... The rear flaps were all electrically-operated metal Fowler types and the wing had a buill in thermal de-icing system.7 and the 377 shared to var-y hi~h stnndaeds the same fllnda". wa~ .. the wing was covered in an all-metal stressed skin The skin itself was butted and rivetted into place. rli.n nis-lincr.''''~ structure."en~er' to ~ very high degree.~ \Virli'lm /)('1)".nutl ensu rc j he integrity w as <.. ! he and allowed the: cabin crew to cater for their p"_.!f I he pressuriscd [m II..TLlCI UI~I tell whether Model 367 ar . The Stratocruiser's tail was 52 . I-I.fuselage posit jon. Thin. The aircraft's wing was a cantilever design....dllcr.l377.i'lilU-f-. \\ ould be 'e rnv) of any mode r. Here a BOAC steward is preparing '\ nrk~p:.lil: This is actually a Kf'.I civil ~Ifu(h:. dock tsn I'.. galley [another breakfast. with all the rivet joints externally flushed. The wing design used the well-proven Boeing 1 17 aerofoil section (similar to the B-29) with an aspect ratio of 11_5H.: {'{a..ion whjch • Both buildt Sf. Olle clue Lluu iL is a military a sign thai Int" nlrcrnh was working areu ncl the the 3(.. Built around a two spar main section."ailable in the downstui . set in a low mid.

Ve'Pl-w. 'The that in turn ~a'". S~rn[ocruiElo!l:r production \ving~.. and around ofthe aircraft N ore th C' wo r krn en folded 0 n 'he massive. evolved j~.i. gull-winged Modcl3b?-6U Modell/.I~FI.~ Ba.L.Nfl----------------------------- 11:1".C.::i1 PROTOTV'P.7 Str~toCf"u. final "turbojet transport' become obsolete tanker had show jmrl how quickly th •• nub.o.irtrafl line me: have a1J been put into place and the lead 0 nih e HOOTa.C~H~N~IC... Th i< se r ies of Doc i rig show how the design.s\.O. err: In this view of Doe in g'.no sc d 51ratocruiser J )')""'11 MODEL 367·60 MODE. proposal. the Note also lb every high set ~.S. fin in [he foreground.aer.7-M.ow..-power\!d 'Dash 80' prototype.1 707 and the C-IJ5. bi rth to 'he ~fod..PE.on (he Mod el 3... which rurbcprep-powered g"V~ WiL)' tn a .AT~I._'.n~ jet-powered incorporated some elements or 13-17design.A. and b)' into the d es ign drawings basic Modcl367 ""1.____________________________ ~T~E.C. essen ti a IIJl comple tc.E Turbole1 Tan II( Ibr-T".. The sleek lines of U.L 367·64 Turbo'loO' T:ellnker~T"iln'5:port DCt:Ugn ~ t'g.-l 1952 Dssliiiln / ~r \ <) / 53 . tails and engines .f steps needed j ust to reach bose' of the tail section.i. Jjoc".an-$p.

1m) Length.5Lb/sq.66m) Height. It was hinged to fold sideways.600 miles (7. if any.360km) 54 . The gear retracted in 11 seconds and extended in three seconds. the Stratocruiser lost some 12ft (3.OOOft(7.417kW) per engine Landing peed: 93mph (150km/h) Rate of climb. SPECIFICATIONS: Boeing Model 377 Stratocruiser DI IENSIONS Wingspan: 141ft 3in (43 m) Wjng.6Sm) Height over fin: 38ft 3in (11. at 25. with double wheels on all three units.85m). 760m) Ceiling. overall: 110ft 4in (33.798kg) to 83.caused by its elongated nose gear leg.135kg) then 147.OOOlb(66.25m obstacle: 3.540m) Take-off distance. allowing the aircraft to be wheeled indoors .OOOft(7.800lb (66. ne distinctive feature of the Stratocruiser was its noseup sit.500lb (64. Once the fin was folded. The brakes were hydraulically actuated.62m) Wheelbase: 36ft 1)i.-offweight.42m) while the smaller nose wheels measured 3ft (91cm) across. The Stratocruiser used a retractable tricycle layout. UNDERCARRIAGE The 'tratocruiser's landing gear was designed to carry heavy military cargo loads and stood as a formidable piece of 1940's engineering.92m') Wing loading: 8Q.647m) Range.625m) Maximum cruising speed: 340mph (544km/h). with a manual handcrank available to the crew in the event of an emergency. but they also had a hand-operated em rgency back-up in the event of a total loss of hydraulic system pressure. 700 Ib (55.500lb (37.2 52kg) Cargo volume: forward hold 520Cll ft (14. of the hangars of the day were big enough to accommodate an entire Stra ocr uiser otherwise.11m) Fuselage width: 11 ft (3.as few.in (11 m) Minimum turning radius: 29ft (9. when on the ground .35m) uselage depth: 15ft 2)fin (4. at sea-level: 1.638kg). with folded fin: 26ft 7in (8.8kg/m1) PERFORMANCE Maximum speed: 375mph (603km/h). on three engines: 21. The undercarriage was electrically powered. Trim tabs were fitted to the elevators and rudders.625m) at l.6in (8.679kg) Landing weigh t: 121.1 aaft/min (335m/min) Rate of climb. The moving control surfaces all had metal frame .9201b (35. with maximum fuel: 4. approximately WEI rrr AND LOADING Empty eight: 78. Th original fin design was enlarged on the production aircraft to ensure better engine-out handling and to further aid the pilots. to clear a 50ft/IS. aft hold 280cu ft (7. 142. but with a fabric covering (with the appropriate massbalances and aerodynamic shaping). In terms of basic structure. ft (392. later 145.000& (9.403Mft (1. the Model 377's tail was a cantilever monoplane unit with two-spar stressed construction used for all its fixed surfaces. The main (rear) wheels had a diameter of 4ft 8in (1.----------------n BOEING STRATOCRUISER n------------------ quite a novel feature. span.6m) in overall height.OOOft(8.769sg ft (1 .SSm) Wheel track: 28ft S.64. gross area: 1. +3ft(13. by about 20. at 25.91Okg) • Normal take. Like the wing it too had a built-in thermal deicing yst m.2m') Tailplane.65m) Ground clearance: 1ft lOUin (O.900hp (1. the Srratocruiser came with a hydraulically-boosted power rudder. on three engines: 500ft/mi_n (152m/ min) Service ceiling: 32.72mJ).

E. UPPIO" L.0QR ~------------------------------- IIO~4~----------------------------~ ...OBE CA60tN LEVE. 141'-2.76" A i:.'--------------------1 TECHNICAL SPECIFICATION_--------------- D6912 21 . .~ NOTE OLME~lSI0NSAQ. NOT ~UARANTe EO \ 55 ..l- F1...".

Fonsaero was at the controls for the first Bight and also undertook most of the subsequent Bight test programme. that is just what happened.but not an overwhelming one. " Pan American line "'re 11' chief with the flightdeck as he prepares to dispatch the Strarocruiser Clipper Jor a night-lime departure from Idlewild. Boeing test pilot John B. Boeing described powder room ir the _'iky: Two individual basins and powde r dispensers. ith scpaeare d ressi ng room was just one t-.(.... it would be almost another two years before the BELl'\\.IIAt. In fact. settees were Flying Cloud (NI028V) }"h" StrQlld (..tH: confer With the '"ar' of '4. The Stratocruiser's competitors may not have been as sophisticated or as luxurious.-==~==-------===--------__:_---n BOEING STRATOCRUISER 1'1-------------- 4\NSERV\CE 'When the first Stratocruiser made its maiden Aight on 8 July 1947. the tratocruiser would begin speak for itself and.00U horses behind him. Boeing was sure that once in service. There were no obvious problems in the early days of testing. Boemg's orderbook stood at 55.. The Stratocruiser was loved by its crew and passengers and is R. arrived with the launch 'g'an'tlrau~ll p-nvided.iuJiu1I PietuTe Lib". This delay was undoubtedly a factor in the rapid halt to the flow of ord rs. but hey were available for delivery and airlines began to vote with their feet."lIecrio. 56 .fodel377 was ready for service.. or Stratocruiser "r We novel Bl1~ing ('''''lUre" that h as 11 services. A series of snags and minor problems combined to delay the typ certification well beyond its expected dale.: A private ladies' -rnirrored \. to a degree. For a company used to dealing with far larger numbers than 55 this was a worry . but the Stratocruiser soon proved to be a more complicated beast than anyon e had expected.

IN SERVICE 57 .

the River Thames first by Pan to iUu crate lhc flew airliner's great size and carryina was posed before th e aircraft 8·50. On 5 March 1949. despite all the affection that grew around it.for example. daughter of President Truman .ary Americ . the York services was made with the launch of London-New immense. several high-profile crashes began to tarnish the aircraft's reputation and the Stratocruiser would never quite shake the clouds that closed in on it.the aircraft that were earmarked to become the technological superstars of Juan Trippe's post-war fleet .in fondly remembered by most who flew on it.uT<bb. Pan American took delivery of its Erst Stratocruiser (NI025V). Pan American suffered a particularly bad run of luck and lost three aircraft in three years. in a ceremony at Washington D . Later technical Exes were implemented that improved the Stratocruiser's reLiability considerably. and by 1959 Pan Am rican . reliable and economical. which was flown from Boeing Field to Columbia Airport. nee again. a senior official from Pan American handed over the airline's final payment for the first tratocruiser.. Quite often the airports it served simply did trot have runways that were long enough to cope with heavy tratocruisers operating at maximurrrweight. lowever. MI William A. the aircraft were not ready to enter service until 1949_ On 31 January 1'149. These problems were overcome by operating the aircraft at less then optimum cruising speeds and weights. This photograph p ass engers stand in [rani a! Pan American's capacity. Engine reliability was a serious problem . With the new jetliners on the horizon any piston-engined airliner's days were numbered. between Janu ary 1951 and June 1952 Pan American aircraft alone suffered 60 engine failures. Sitting in grand comfort in the aircraft's lower Lounge.. Though the Pan American order was placed in November 1945. A major step forward came when the original Hamilton Standard prop design was changed. With just 56 aircraft ever built it is bard to say that the 'tratocruiser was a success. This aircraft was quickly engaged on a number of route proving trials. THE STRATOCRUISER EMERGES Pan American followed a very deliberate policy of supplementing its existing DC-4 and Constellation orders with 20 . tratocruisers . On 15 April services 58 .Pan American's first Stratocruiser was officially christened as Clipper America..the jets were comi ng.the lead tratocruiser operator . also lheB"29sand PiG. but another was the fact that the aircraft did not live up to the bold promises made for it. in Portland.could say that its aircraft were completely safe. but by then it was too late. mostly in-Bight. lined up in the background. De Valle.: A line up of prospective Clipp~T Americd. The impact that.1IidAviario" and the hear! of London on an early visit 10 the capital. over note was formally handed RIGHT: Clipper Srratocruiser Flying Eagle cruises serenely over Tower Bridge.Aso\'1'. by Margaret Truman. John Fonsaero was at the controls.n followed closely by AOA - PM "'" Walkr KI. to Boeing's Vice-President Engineering. and with immense fanfare. Whatever the facts behind the events. Pan American flew its first Stratocruiser service on the an Francisco-Honolulu route. for the all-important hand-over ceremony. The crashes were one part of the story. to pave the way for the type's full entry to service in the following months. It was not able to make routine non-stop transatlantic crossings and had to concede to all the same fuel stops that its designers said it would avoid. This was not always the aircraft's fault. despite all the evidence to the contrary the Stratocruiser eventually gained a reputation for dangerous unreliability. on 1 April 1949. But by then it was too late ..

launching a three-times a week service by Pan American on the route. in 'tavangar. but the SILA Stratocruiser order remained on the books and the airline continued to prepare for its introduction into service. already signed up for DC-6s. and finally full scheduled transatlantic operations to London were launched on 2 June 1949 . Norway and Denmark.with aircraft configured for the all-first-class President service. however. in 1946. In May 1947 plans were announced that 'ola airport. and its day-to-day operations were taken over by its rival ABA.rN SERVICE from New York-Bermuda were inaugurated. ABA had. Sweden's ILA had ambitious plans to launch tratocruiser operations to ew York.' 59 One early and unsettling episode for Boeing was the loss of the ILA order. would be the home of the new Stratocruisers. Aircraft left the US at 4pm (local) and arrived in London at 1 Dam the following morning. However. The airline had no hesitation in describing the Stratocruiser as 'the fastest. ILA joined the group that would establish Scandinavian Airline iystern ('A) as the flag carrier for Sweden. most luxurious airliner ever built. Staff . This first flight departed from TdlewiJd and carried on via Gander to London. Just eight days after the first scheduled transatlantic service PAA_1aunched a once-a-week all-sleeper service.

The delivered 1. When AOA became a 'tratocruiser customer in 1946.and the Stratocruiser was not among them. I~\'A t. airlines which had turned their fleets over to the war effort. the last of20 \0 be 1949_ Later renamed this aircraft was involved ground-looped Clippe-r PolynesilJ~ on 5 june 1950. Pan American had long held a virtual monopoly on long-range routes from the United States. w. Juan Trippe was faced with the indignity r a rival that was competing with Pan American's 'own' aircraft.most of tbem looking to the transatlantic market with envious eyes. cutting qe Stratocruiser operating base to just five airlines. and his greatest rival was clearly Howard Hughes and 60 TW .0 trutocr uiser Clipp~r NJorniPlg Sldr (NI042V) Pan AI1leri~an! in ovcrnber at during in an incident an Francisco.were sent on trauung courses in the USA and Boeing even di patched a B-29 to Stockholm's Bromma Airport to ensure that it was capable of handling the mighty Model 377s. after a gear collapse land. By September 1947. American Overseas Airlines was born on 10 November 1945 but.. In the years before 1946. Suddenly.'Ai) brought with it new management and new priorities .54s 00 sched uled han satlan tic rout s since late 1945.. Trippe actually suggested a merger between PAA and TWA ill 1947. 'majors'. new national airlines also began to spring up . The arrival of . where i. By 1946 juan Trippe knew that his near-monopoly was under threat. AOA thus became the second actual customer for the Stratocruiser.. but he was rebuffed by Hughes. there were virtually no foreign airlines in a position to compete either. a situation that was almost guaranteed by the strict restrictions placed on its domestic competitors. and this very public challenge was a major factor behind PAA's acquisition of the Stratocruiser in the first place... Things changed sharply after World War II. 1 ughes promised to compete with PAA at every tum. The DC-tl would instead be its long-range airliner of choice. American Export Airlines pioneered the North Atlantic route and it was an AEA C-54 that made the very first post-war scheduled commercial flight by a landplane ew York-Hum on _-t October 1945.the third of the post-war transatlantic :-::. but a few months later American Overseas Airlines (AOA) weighed in with an order for eight aircraft.. In zurope.9. As a result. by the parallel expansion of American Overseas Airlines . as far as PAA was concerned.." \Vilil. Above. Emboldened by the success of his Constellation fleet. and so Pan American became de facto America's overseas flag carrier. as American Export Airline. SAS put the Stratocrui ers LIp fo di posal and they were acquired by BOAC in April 19-J. ng. Pan American had ordered its 20 tratocr uiser on 28 November 1945. the US government began to award route licences to the other U. The situation then worsened.KI<'m THE POST-WAR WORLD For PAA the post-war years proved to be something of~ shock. . it had been operating war -su rp Ius C. on 1 Apri11946. Boeing was not left with any unwanted aircraft but it did loose a customer.

rising to four by the end of eptember. of two passing hoste ss es if they would like to its brand-ric.\s) plans for transatlantic domination. As early as mid-1948 AOA's owners were already in take-over talks with Pan American and in December 1948 the news emerged that PAA was planning a complete buy-out.-\irlines was a major competitor for Pan American in the early post-war years and clearly intended to challenge PAA's (and TW/. AOA was not far behind. to come up and see his Pan American's UfJT<lfl' approach was decidedly less frivolous. enquire. While American Overseas does . Three nights a week were conducted between New York and London.clure The Stratocr uiser had a worrying effect on AOA's bank balance however and" having made a profit in 194R. I t5oo. AO/'\s first transatlantic proving Hight from New York touched down in London on 24 July 1949.IN SERVICE the airline's aircraft had made an impressive total of Li.OOO Atlantic crossings.llootlOnl AVlatWIl ['. The competition that had raged between PAA and AOA since 1 46 suddenly became hollow. In November 1949 the London service was extended to frankfurt and by 5 January 1950 AOA had all eight of its tratocruisers in service. as each aircraft had cost lat.OO.n Strout! O. with just two aircraft in its fleet. AOA had a wider network of routes to European destinations but these remained the preserve of the DC-4 and Constellation. AOA introduced the Lockheed Constellation into service in June 1946 ( ix months after PAA). (as reflected in AONs healthy traffic figures) the operating costs of the Stratocruiser were proving to be too much to bear. and when Pan American' tratocruisers began to spread their wings into Europe. AOA was a much mallet company than either of its two U rivals .and it did not have the financial muscle to survive the cut-throat competition. the airline plunged into the r d in 1949 . American Overseas . tratocruiser being more than just a co-incidence.Pan America and TWA . 61 ABOVE: A Stratocruiscr tratocruiser captain tchings.the arrival of the. Although pas engers loved the aircraft. On 17 August AOA inaugurated its full scheduled service.

AllOVE:RMA Cd/enO"'" (G·AKGH) was tile fir. which had to wait in line behind Pan American and AOA. In April 1949 BOAC managed to buy these aircraft. BRITAIN S GN FOR TRATOCRUISERS Britain's BOAC joined the exclusive Stratocruiser club on 18 October 1946 when it signed for six aircraft to become the core of its new transatlantic fleet. On 23 April. By January 1950 two flights per week were being undertaken and once eight aircraft were available a daily service to New York wa launched on 28 February 1950. t'. BOAC began services to the USA in September 1946. to deserve credit for being a Stratocruiser pioneer. Shortly afterwards BOAC adopted a new blue and white scheme for its aircraft.!t was handed OVeT in November 1')49. hams . after its roll-out on 1 July.ich would operate alongside the five times weekly Constellation service. On 24 March BOAC took delivery of its tenth Stratocruiser. This purchase represented a considerable investment of scarce dollars. but BOAC could see that if it did not act.and it soon became clear that six would not be enough. On 6 ecember 1949 G-ALSA I ft London 00 the inaugural J w York Right. ill anada with a twice- 62 . The first of BOAC's 'own' Stratocruisers. using all-important UK currency. really a take-over.30am the next day. G-A A Catha)' (ex. With its Stratocruiser order BOAC showed that it had absolutely no confidence that such a British aircraft would be available any time soon. to become the f1ag. via Prestwick. The arrival of these three aircraft finally allowed BOAC to begin its tratocruiser services to the United 'tates.'ILA Stratocruisers that were already on the Boeing production line.sL Model 37·1()·J2 Stratocruiser be delivered to BOAC. though BOAC was keen to promote Prestwick as Britain's own Atlantic gateway. and the fanner 'wedish aircraft became the first to enter British service. G-AKG (Castor. As traffic grew the airline had no large aircraft capable of taking advantage of this mounting demand . G -AKGH Caledonia.a clear indication of jus how much th prevailing headwinds affected the early transatlantic airliners. using L-049 Constellations. The second BOA aircraft G-A SB Champiol1 (ex OY-DFY) was handed over on 24 etober and arrived in London on 28 October.d \Villi. were underway with Pan American. D"y/. knew all about the engine troubles which had badly hampered PAA and AOA's early operations and hoped that its own leisurely introduction into service would help avoid the same experience. BOAC took delivery of its Erst Stratocruiser. B A:. routing via both Prestwick and Shannon.bip of the fleet. The plan was to operate a once-a-week service. The Constellations had been seen as top-gap aircraft which would be replaced by 'proper' British-built airliners as soon as they became available. The return flight left New York at 11 pm E. Cathay flew directly to Heathrow from New York on 15 October. Transatlantic services were. However the delays that slowed down the tratocruiser's entry into service badly affected BOAC. The outbound flight from the UK departed on a Tuesday evening at 8pm with a scheduled flight time of 20 hours. was delivered on 18 November 1949.".. E-BDP) on 12 October 1949. even before AOA inaugurated its first tratocruiser services negotiations for a merger.'T on Saturday morrungs to arrive in London at 07. wh. BOAC's Stratocruisers were slated for delivery in 1948 and it is interesting to note that 16 additional complete Wasp Major engines and a further 40 stripped-down engines were ordered with the six aircraft. Some relief came when BOAC negotiated the sale of the four ex. The eastbound flight took around 15V. B A launched flights to Montreal. but the controversy that surrounded these aircraft was nothing to that which erupted when news of the Stratocr uiser acquisition emerged. transatlantic air travel would become solely aU' preserve.

The first proving fligh t from . before embarking on the transatlantic crossing. It had been hoped that the arrival of the Stratocruiser would allow PAA to avoid the limitations imposed upon its rivals by the earlymodel -()49 and L-479 Constellations . gave PAA access to most of the important capital cities of Europe and put it on an even footing with TWA. became a routine part of operations. whether the .IN SERVICE weekly sleeper service. This was nearly twice the number carried by the airline's Constellations in September 1949. Pan American discovered that with a load of 35 passengers (or less) the aircraft could Ay direct from [ ew York to London. via Honolulu. epternber 1950. ours. The acquisition of American Overseas Airlines. On 5 J ovember 1949 PAA launched its New York-ShannonBrussels-Frankfurt service . The commonality between both airline's Stratocruisers made the 'merger' (it was little more than a takeover) that much more straightforward. John later. Pan American next turned from the Atlantic to its Pacific routes. and another 17 months of negotiations led only to a rejection of the plan by the United tates Civil Aviation Board._tratocruiser could attempt a 'non-stop' Atlantic crossing became entirely weather and load dependent Fuel stops at Gander.PAA stepped up its own London service to a daily frequency.678 passengers on the London-New York route. and which forced the Stratocruiser to trade passengers for fuel. BO C's Stratocruisers carried 3. By the end of 1950 BOAC bad 12 Aights a week crossing the Atlantic . The Hying time was approximately 25 hours and BELOW: As Clipp"-' R ei"deor and (b. Its first flights to the South Pole came in 1957. To begin with. resigned a month beforehand. On 25 September 1950 PM purchased AOA for $17.the day be fore an A mer ican Overseas Airlines Stratocruiser arrived in London for the first t~me .-iclly) landed at NIcMurdo Freeze' ''.which had already suspected that something was up when AOA's Chairman.000. with twiceweekly flights. on 1 ovember. A rnerira Pan American's Navy's reglliar Operation N-I030V . Then President Truman himself. and especially Shannon. The announcement shook the whole airline world . Newfoundland.namely. The Right time from the U to the UK was about 15%. in 'eptember 1950.Deep Sound in support 10 of the U deployments Antarctica.with a total flight time of 17 hours and 20 minutes. The merger p[Qcess continued to be a difficult one. on 23 September 1949.an" rancisco to Tokyo was flown.eight to ew York and four to Montreal. stepped in to overrule the CAB's decision and approve the controversial merger. in May ItJSO. including a fuel stop at Gander. an enforced fuel stop at Gander. h On 16 August 19. In one month alone.0 Clippe.500. and its route structure. PAA had launched services to Bermuda on 15 April and. PAN AiVlERI AN FORGES AHEAD The news that Pan American was had reached a tentative agreement to merge with American Overseas was revealed on 12 December 19 8. not previou ly noted for any favouritism towards Juan Trippe's airline. Pan American forged ahead with its Stratocruiserdriven expansion on the New York-London route. A full scheduled service on this route was launched on 17 October.fC) . This peculiar equation was due to the prevailing headwinds that affected every westbound Atlantic crossing. In the event. A maximum of 51 passengers could be carried if the aircraft fuel stopped at Gander but only 56 could be brought back. 'l'illiml1 {)oyk 63 . the service was stepped up to one per day.

Pan American returned to its traditional South American 'heartland' with the Stratocruiser in 1950. all or which had very different experiences with their aircraft. Once in British service.rIT:' nited's N3122S. BOAC also expanded its services to the Americas when it began a new twice-weekly service from New York to Nassau. This launched a through service from New York to Buenos Aires. and in common with its other South American routes the Stratocruisers on this service usually taged through Port-of-Spain.Ha. By M arch 1952 'tratocruisers had replaced Constellations on all BOAC's services to the Caribbean. On the auspicious date of 4 July that year. 1 that were later sold on or the nited ir Line.weekly route to Australja was a marathon journey with aircraft staging via Honolulu. 'tratocruiser and from toe outset intended to use its aircraft exclusively on services from 'an Francisco to Hawaii. Cleo/. Mainliner Hawaii. Bwrng 50 minutes. The first was an all-tao-brief . nited's first tratocruiser.waii. Portland and eattle. tratocruiser lippe-r Friendship (1 027V). 64 . and Rio de Janeiro. in Brazil PAA later opened up a route to Montevideo in Uruguay. from San Francisco to . Canton Island and Fiji before arriving in Sydney San Francisco remained PM's premier gateway to the Pacific routes.177-10·345 on 6 August 1946. N3L2S Mainline~.alTa. Another relatively brief Stratocruiser user was nited Air Lines.stratocruiser operation by American Overseas Airways.R1l. The twice. but later services were introduced from Los Angeles.'0.. Pan American began to place its Stratocruisers on the an Francisc Honolulu-Sydney route. By January 1951 Stratocruisers were operating three Hights each week. By the end of the 1940s Pan American had been joined by three other Stratocruiser perators in the nited States. in rinidad. UAL was the last American airline to order the. no less a luminary than Eva Peron christened the. Beginning in May 19. had the shortest operational major rateeruiser owners. was rhe first Stratocruiscr AL tratocruisers the aircraft was renamed delivered Rl\1A 10 the airline and it became on" of the six to BOAC in 1954. in Argentina. and became career of any G·ANTX. which ordered seven Model . The first scheduled service by a United Stratocruiser came on 13 January 1950. in the Bahamas. which they shared with DC·4s until 7 March] 951. was delivered on 28 September 1949 and by the end of the year five aircraft had been handed over. and in pri1 BOAC began using BWIA Vickers Vikings to offer a Kingston-Nassau-Montego Bay feeder service to jamaica.

all of whom had to accommodate the 71mn (64. with. The Right took an average of 9)1 hours and operated seven day a week. United launched the Stratocruiser into service on the Minneapolishicago route on 1 August 1949. Apart from this sad event. and they were replaced by L-J 049G uper Constellations in 1955. which was sealed on 25 September 1950. All six surviving Stratocruisers were progressively withdrawn from use and the last UAL service was flown by N31227. which was handled by DC·6s and DC-7s. and airports in general. To better reflect its widening route network. Portland. and by 21 December 1949 all ten aircraft were in service. operating a Seattle-AnchorageTokyo-Okinawa-Man ila service that had previously been flown by DC--ts_ Stratocruisers did not stay on the Far Eastern routes for long. apart from Pan American.4mt) giants. Along with its eight Stratocruisers.. New York. Into the 1950s. United had the unhappy distinction of losing the first Stratocruiser when N31210 crashed on 12 September 1951. tratocruisers staged through Chicag Detroit-Milwaukee-Minneapolis'pokane where they connected with the rest of the airline's route network. aircraft in a 75-seat configuration. Milwaukee. from Los Angeles to Newark (pending overhaul r. Klell1 for virtually the whole f the type's service career. one that Pan American did not have. Later that year UAL added a Los Angeles-Honolulu route. Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Pan American took on AOA's network of routes into Europe. At the time the aircraft was engaged in a training flight and the only occupants were the three crew. Spokane and 'J ashington D . though they were soon repainted in the 65 . and United obviously found it difficult to make an economical case for the aircraft on anything but long-range high-fare routes. which included nights to London. in December 1953. Detroit.. Minneapolis. The. The Stratocruisers returned to the US domestic market where they maintained regular services to cities such as Chicago.IN SERVICE Honolulu. UAL's Stratocruiser operations were without seriou incident. while the galley is brought is loaded. Then in September 1954 U nited decided to withdraw its entire Beet and sell it to BOAC. '"'' lV(lt. Northwest operated transcontinental services from 'eartl to ashington DC and ew York. Pan American did not reregister AOA's aircraft. Seattle. Northwest ordered 10 aircraft in March 1946 and the company stands out as the only airline to use the Stratocruiser over a wide range of domestic routesLF-H: Ground reprovisioned with it itt crew refuel a Pan American nrid baggage Stratocruiser. On 28 April 1952 Northwest extended its tratocruiser services to Japan and the Philippines. r BOAC). who were all killed. The third major US Stratocruiser operator. Pan American renamed itself as Pan American World Airways on 3 January 1950. On 1 September he first transcontinental route was opened from Seattle to few York and Northwest soon became renowned for the level of passenger comfort it offered on domestic routes. On 6 ovember 1949 services were launched to Honolulu from Seattle. The great size of'rhe Stratocruiscr for turn-around whole host of new problems crews. Th Stratocruiser never intruded on UAL's wider domestic network. services were launched from Los Angeles and an Francisco to Seattle. thanks to its Stratocruisers. the aircraft continued to b used on flights to Hawaii and. was Northwest Airlines. on 2 January 1955. UAL operated its tratocruisers in direct comp titi n with Pan American on this route and so rivalry between the two was fierce. The name change went almost hand-in-hand with the takeover of AOA.

she flew by Stratccruiser again. this nited 'Mainliner" chase plane. LUXURY IN THE AIR In 1951 BOAC launched its 'Monarch' service between London-New York. Pan American opted to provide its passengers with the most luxurious service possible and the three-times-a-week 'tratocnriser Bight became a 'sleeperette' service with just 47 seats. Though it may seem a little churlish. Hong Kong. such as the prime minister. The first-class (of course) round-the-word service treated passengers to the finest cuisine from the countries through which they passed. The first of these was a ew YorkParis service. Pioneered by the tratocruiser. Stratocruiscr has dropped enjoyed undercarriage during" for the accompanying tTaininlllligh' nited's Stratoliners all excellent crashed safcry record. wilh just one IOSS-lh" at San Francisco Mainliner in September Oahu (N31130). Attention was lavished on the travellers by the cabin staff. Setting out from Burbank Airport. but the arrival of the Stratocruiser raised them to a whole new level. to the West Indies as part of her tour of the Commonwealth.: Clearl)' itA all a (est llighr. Bmmj( the premium that airlines could place on its quality of service and comfort more than made up the difference. Pan American operated these Aights in both eastbound and westbound directions. In November 1953. In October 1952 the 'Monarch' service was extended to Montreal.latest version of the Pan American scheme. The 'World Express' became an airline industry superlative and represented the ultimate In chique. Bangkok. The tratocruiser was a more expensive aircraft to operate than any of its rivals. At a time when the world was a far. The r unci-the-world flights soon became the star item in Pan American's timetable. far bigger place than it is today flying around the world in a Pan American Stratocruiser had a level of mystique and excitement that is hard to imagine now. On 2 January 1951 the service was extended to Rome. which 1951. Los Angeles on a Friday morning. The inaugural flight took off on 1 March 1950 and the service soon proved so popular that the three weekly 'Monarch' flights soon became a daiJyoccurrence. and the flights also offered a hitherto unavailable way to reach some of the most far flung spots on the globe. Stops followed at Wake Island. which rivalled the levels of comfort to be found anywhere. better known by its call-sign Clipper One. Rangoon.flights began and ended on opposite sides of the United tates. Pan American flight PA001. This was due to a longstanding and out-dated CAB regulation that actually prevented Pan American from carrying fare-paying passengers across the USA . Tokyo.with champagne and liqueurs served at dinner. The tratocruiser would then make its way to London before crossing the Atlantic to land at New York. rincess Elizabeth flew to Canada for her 1951 royal visit on a BOAC Stratocruiser. The ultimate Str atocruiser journey was the renowned round-the-word service inaugurated by Pan American in October 1951. this time as HRli. would spread its wings out over the Pacific and fly the first nine-hour leg to Honolulu. BOAC's G-At GK Canopus was used for 66 .a regulation that remained in force until the late 1960s. B AC on the other hand earned a prestige reputation for carrying members of the Royal Family and high-ranking ViPs. Passengers could book a sleeper berth and were treated to a seven-course meal en route . both of which were operating Constellations. The arrival of this additional influx of Stratocrui ers allowed the airline to open up a number of new routes. Queen Elizabeth II. Karachi. luxury and all-round high-living. PAA had launched the first of these epic airborne odysseys on 17 June 1947. but BELO\\. using L-049 Constellation. Beirut and Istanbul before the aircraft reached its first European waypoint at Frankfurt. it is interesting to note that the round-the-word service did not actually circle the entire globe . the round-the-world itinerary remained a celebrated part of Pan American's operations right into the 747 era. which was inaugurated on 17 ecember 1950. Pan American faced stiff competition on this route from TWA and Air France.

ul blue striping aircrafi were built with square-shaped main but bad rounded "v []dO\V~1 their lower' decks. The tail section.. fitted out with a revised VVIP interior. aft of the dorsal fin also broke away . ~i on aero. was operating a Heathrow-Prestwick-New York service that had delayed when the original aircraft (G-ALSC) suffered a technical problem on take-off.in marked contrast to the 40-seat 'Monarch' class aircraft Despite its exemplary record of service and customer care. then another six were taken up from United Air Lines which was retiring the type after only a short service career. was handed over on 22 September 1954." tbe tail ron is repeated above the Strmocr-uisee's and rudders. After two weeks of intensive searching the wreckage was found about 400 miles (635km) north-east of the town of Barreiras. N31229 (G-ANUB). The lost engine was never recovered and without it the Investigators 67 could not determine what caused its initial failure. and this aircraft was reserved by BOAC for its most important passengers_Canopus Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and his Foreign Secretary.joh» S!rvud Co!!eclio. but by-and-large the Stratocruiser was proving more reliable than its competitors. AnOVE: Llnited's Mndel377·1UyJ4 cabin windows.fN SERVICE both these flights.either through collision with the wing debris or the level of stress on the airframe. Passengers were transferred to G-ALSA and they departed from Heathrow at 01.420mJ the aircraft had sufftied an uncontained failure of its number two engine and prop. which occurred early on Christmas Day in 1954./Atowr. The ex-United aircraft were joined by three reconfigured BOAC aircraft . Following overhaul and upgrade to BOAC standard in the USA. becoming the last roya I passen ger on a BOAC Stratocruiser. The aircraft concerned. This was made all the more poignant by the timing of the disaster.~ LU"m)' A DARK CLOUD DESCENDS From 1 April 1949 to 28 April 1952 Pan American continued its polished Stratocruiser services without serious mishap.BOAC was immense and the airline became the sale choice for the wealthiestpassengers. to Bermuda in December 1953.500ft (4.20 on 25 December 1954 The flight was uneventful but . Anthony Eden. One Stratocruiser was bought from Pan American in August. The first of these. All 41 passengers and nine crew died in the incident. without any of the dressing rooms or wardrobe facilities of other aircraft.wn f'ier". There had been some worrying moments when aircraft bad been forced to turn back on several occasions. The United Aircraft came with an 81-seat cabin configuration. travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Port-of-Spain fell out of the sky over the Brazilian rain forest and disappeared. The first black day for the Stratocruiser came on 29 April 1952. tailplanes white a. mostly due to engine problems (see Chapter 6). In 1954 mishaps of a different kind took a hand in BOAC's plans. Finally. That year the airline's Comet I Beet was grounded and BOAC was faced with a sizeable capacity shortage. Canopus next carried Princess Margaret to the Caribbean in 1955. BOAC suffered the unhappy distinction of loosing the second Stratocruiser to crash on a scheduled Hight. Note how the red. The prestige that these Bights earned for. The investigators judged that while cruising at approximately H. and BOAC retained this to operate 'Coronet' tourist-class services to the USA. G-ALSA Cathay. With the prop and engine vibrating out of control the port wing failed outboard of the engine nacelle. it was redelivered to London on 9 April 1955.. when NI039V Clipper Good Hope. the Duke of Kent travelled on Co-noptis to Accra in 1957.

The aircraft went into the water some 33 miles off the coast of North Bend. The and. Str-atocru . l'4'(milawent H!·r pacelines. he prop continued lo windmill and the combination of loss of power and added drag forced the aircraft to loose altitude. the.7m) short of the runway. but rio-one on board service career and the Nloj.26 HST bound for San FranCISCO. engers and seven crew. It was carrying a light load of just 15 passengers and eight crew. Ogg. it crushed through like most of the Northwest in the hands o[ Aero pe rimeter fence.rd. the accident investigator found that the Bight engineer ha. so the engine was stopped by cutting off its fuel supply. The 68 estimated flight time was eight hours and 54. The aircraft was on the first transpacific leg Hying Portland-Honolulu. The weather ships were an essential element of long-range aircraft operations.iser was on a round-the-world trip that had begun in Philadelphia on 13 October. LOSSE MOUNT It was over the Pacific that Pan American suffered its greatest series of mishaps. Four passengers and one crew member were drowned having evacuated the aircraft safely. and on this occasion one would 'ave lives. However.ve Desert. the number on engine (port outboard) went into overspeed. aircraft took off from Honolulu at 20. Commanded by Captain Richard 1. 1n the days before satelli tes they were the only source of vital weather information . Oregon.if not of all time. Another ditching marked the one and only los of a orthwest Airline's tr atocruiser in 1956. Lmmediately upon reaching this altitude.minutes. the runway on 29 July 1949. On board were 24 pas.') P011tci1al'train). The controller followed normal procedure. on 16 October 1956. Despite having II highly experienced crew on boa. involved fonner-AOA Stratocruiser N90943 Clipper Sovereign of the Skies and became one of the most celebrated feats of airmanship of its day . Prior to that one aircraft narrowly escaped disaster when it lost a propeller in flight in December 1953 and made an emergency landing on Johnson Island. However. Luckily for the all concerned the ti Coast Guard had a number of weather ships strung out across the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. On 26 March 1955 Stratocruiser Nl0 2V Clipper United States suffered a propeller failure on its number three engine. Only the flightdeck crew (seven) and one passenger managed to escape. BO'"1£ on to have an u ncventful it ended its daysin tratocruisers bad weather at Prestwick called for a radar-controlled descent to landing. The crew decided to turn around and attempt a ditching closer to the US.BOEING STRATOCRUISER RIGHT: N74601 Northwest over-ran Stratocruiser was injured. to warn the ship that a ditching was imminent. Captain Ogg and his crew contacted the nearby weather station 'November' (the US. Tbis aircraft at Chicago-Midway it suffer ed [ailure in its propeller the airport's reversing stop in time. hich was w approved. To try and slow the rate of the descent full power was applied .. the aircraft did not stop its descent and hit th ground about 127ft (38. and that none of the other crew members had performed the necessary cross-checR's. At 01. two crew and two passengers were killed in the ditching.. seven minutes later.and they also gave crews someone to talk to on the long oceanic crossings. and the engine failure occurred at a point that made i impossible to reach a diversionary airport. Two days later it arrived in Hawaii and on 16 November it departed on the final leg of its journey. On 2 April 1956 74608 Stratocruiser Tohyo crashed after take-off from Seattle into Puget Sound. unable to mechanism when it Airport Airlines. The second of Pan American's Pacific ditchings. The captain had attributed the buffeting and Joss of control on takeoff to a problem with the aircraft' Aa'ps and the real cause of the crash was never spotted. loosing three aircraft in three consecutive years between 1955 and 1957. Pull ing back the throttles had no effect and the propeller could not be feathered.. which then suffered a complete power failure itself.02hr the crew requested a VFR climb to FL~ll). talking the aircraft down to an altitude of around 700ft (213m) at which the Stratocruisers crew should have been able to see the ground and the runway ahead. Slm!ocruisec Manila was the first Model 377-10-30 to be delivered 10 was badly damaged in August 1955. The aircraft split in two and caught fire. The Stratocru.d left the engine cowl flaps in the open position during take-off. It ran onto the runway and then bounced back into the air before coming down a second time.

The aircraft was bound for Tokyo with eight crew and 36 passengers on board. the aircraft made its last routine position report and a search was only launched when the airliner was declared overdue in Hawaii. . At 01.04G IT.314m) at an airspeed of 13Skt (155mph/249km/h).he crew managed to maintain altitu e at 5.40 when Captain Ogg contacted the cutter to tell them he was preparing for the ditching and descending to 900ft (274m). The aircraft carrier USS Philippine Sea found the 69 . The ditching carne at 06. but this time the prop was successfully feathered and the aircraft managed to stay airborne on the power of its two remaining engines. The fuselage broke off aft of the main cabin door and the tail section fell to the left. trapping a Life raft tha had been launched from the main cabin door. The crew decided to orbit the cutter J ovember and wait for daylight to carry out the ditching. But by then the remaining fuel was insufficient to reach San Francisco or to return to Honolulu. For five days a large sea and air force combed the approximate area where the.Smph/166.37 the ship began to fire flares so that the 8tratocruiser could spot its exact location. a little more than four hours after its departure.IN SERVICE to the. At 02 . at which point the number four engine (outboard starboard) began to loose power. Captain Oggs textbook ditching was an unprecedented piece of flying and gained its own form of quiet immortality. gear up and at a speed of 90kt (1. At 01. tratocruis r's three remaining Wasp Maj rs.03.OOOft (l. On 9 November 1957 N90944 Clipper Romance of the Skies disappeared almost without trace while on its way from San Francisco to Honolulu. At the same time electric water lights were laid down by the Coast Guard crew to mark a track for the aircraft. By putting his aircraft (safely) into tile water he gave birth to a piec of pilot slang that survives to this day the world 'Oggin' used to describe any large body of water.rtrail1 until 05.Skm/h). -1-5the number four engine backfired and failed. tratocruiser was adjudged to have crashed. For the next three hours the Stratocruiser circled the U5!' POlltc/\!l. J 5 with full flaps. However the aircraft remained largely afloat and within three minutes all the occupants had been rescued. This was not to be last misadventure by a Pan American tratocruiser in the Pacific.

. The unexplained disappearance of Clipper Romance of the Skies was the ninth tratocruiser loss.. BOAC began to take delivery of the long range 'Seven Seas' version of the DC ~7 in 1956. dominates almost a trademark.ll suffered several high-profile tratocruiser losses. these events did not lead to the end of the aircraft's service career. on 14 November 1957. about 105 miles (169km) west of its last reporting position. ew York and Trinidadagain from London and Manchester. The fact that the crashes were difficult to explain never undermined passenger confidence to the extent that the Stratocruiser became a liability to the airline and its overall service record remained good. this view This nircralt Ypsilanti was involved including Strll. and many more serious incidents. This crash was particularly worrying because Pan American had just finished replacing all its original hollow-section Hamilton Standard propellers with new solid props. In July 1951 BOAC introduced its 'Coronet' tourist-cla service. and flights to Boston. This was a total of 27 flights each week.j'<!I" Chicago..ABOVE: The ever present Washington state landmark Boeing of orthwesr's of MI. some 940 miles (1.FT: Northwesr's Yor!. Another replacement for the hard working Boeings was coming however. Bermuda. Ii". Chicago. Ranier. An actual crash point was estimated for the aircraft. In May 1956 (five months before Captain Ogg's Pacific ditching) a Pan American aircraft became the first Stratocrui er to pass the five million-mile mark during a Pacific crossing somewhere between Wake Island and Guam.. in several a small incidents. By 1956 BOAC scaled back some of its Caribbean operations. Boston. using 81 -seat Stratocr uisers.. via Prestwick.'.512km) east of Honolulu. It had been implicated in several of the tratocruiser crashes. at and a collision with buildings BO<'IIl~ while taxying at Cleveland. its in addition to via \Valter Kid" first bodies and pieces of wreckage. 'Bahamian' and 'Bermudian' services that were flown direct from New York during each week also. in the shape of the Douglas DC-7C. international in using its aircraft services. Montreal. operators domestic prestige Strurocruiser for another New load of orthwest was unique: trutocrujser 30"0. This included a daily 'Monarch' service to New York.. handing over the routes to BWIA's new Viscount turboprops. flying to Barbados. By 1957 the Stratocruiser had begun to give way to the C~7C and B AC began to redeploy its fleet on services to West Africa.. Though Pan America. This does not include the 'Jamaican'. to open up new routes to California.:5 among the Amer-ican route network. In April 1957 a 'tratocruiser flew the Erst London-Rome-Kano-Lagos- 70 . LI. and a particularly bitter blow to Pan American. waits patiently passengers. The peak of BOAC operations probably came in 1955 when all the airline's transatlantic services were being flown by Stratocruisers.. It was the common consensus that the original prop design was prone to failure. Montreal and several destinations in the-Caribbean from London and Manchester (via Prestwick). Gander.

a sad anniversary followi ng the crash of G . The arrival of the 707 was smooth. G-ANTZ. The first to enter service was CUC.-\ Pl. In the space of a month the Stratocruiser had been effectively replaced in the market that was its raison d'etre. efficient . traiecruiscrs a/It. but as more tratocruisers became available they took over the tourist-class flights also. '~(}VE:The understated nevertheless incorporated markings til applied loBDA 's early emblem. maintaining a daily service via Frankfurt or Rome. BOAC's Stratocruisers were always immaculately maintained and were renowned as the best looked-after aircraft in service. the BOAC pilot Captain Val 71 Croft was contacted by a Pan American Stratocruiser that was operating on the same frequency. while flying Accra.IN SERVlCE Accra. These were in the 40-seat all-first-class configuration. The fate of the Stratocruiser was sealed by its high co ts and the arrival of new aircraft. /\ number of BOAC Stratocruisers wore its 'flying elephant' logo over the years that followed. A single S ratocruiser. s with BOAC. when its number four propeller broke way and an engine fire started. In Nigeria. It was being flown by a Captain Gulbransen who had suffered the same problem on a Stratocruiser some years earlier.ondon with Captain Croft at the controls again. .d. was provided to wear Ghana Airways markings and this aircraft launched the airline's new service from Accra to Heathrow on 16 July 1958. G-AKGM Castor nearly came to grief over the Atlantic. On 25 December 1957. Even though BOAC escaped the catalogue of disasters that had plagued Pan American its aircraft did have some lucky escapes and towards the end of their operational careers the aircraft had several brushes with the headlines that. the long-range Douglas DC-7e began to displace the Stratocruiser on Pan American's signature North Atlantic routes during 1956. After sending out his mayday call. Two BOAC aircraft (G-. fortunately. GHANA FOLLOWS ~TJGERIA Following Ghana's independence a new national airline was established with BOAC's help. with a 40 percent shareholding held by BOAC. His advice to Captain Croft undoubtedly contributed to a safe landing in Nova 'cotia.and rapid. He made a second safe emergency landingat Accra.ALSA three years pr ev iously. Pan American introduced the Boeing 707 on the New York-Paris service on 26 October [958. and some of the airline's Stratocruiser fleet was reassigned to the Alaska Division. on 1 October. They went into service on the Kana-Accra-Lagos route in May 1957. On 18 March 1959 Stratocruiser G-ANTY Coriolanus suffered exactly the same trouble.. though they were always flown by BOAC crews. BOAC's own Stratocruisers continued to operate their own Rights to Ghana and Nigeria. ultimately the new jet aircraft.AKGT and G-A ruB) were repainted with West African Airways titles over their basic BOAC scheme. on 30 September 1958. On 4 July 1959 Ghana Airways was founded. did not end in tragedy. via Gander. The aircraft were now becoming almost a burden to maintain and the cost involved was high.)' would become airfine's 'specdbird' the only BOAC Srratocruiscr to be lost. also with the number four prop. yet even they were not immune to the Stratocruiser's inheren propensity to cause trouble. The age of the Stratocruiser was drawing to a close. On 19 November the first 707 departed New York bound for London Heathrow (though It had to diverted to Shannon due to fog). John Stroud (:olloelTOn '·. West African Airways was reconstituted as WAAC (Nigeria) Ltd. The aircraft was ~n route London-Bermuda.

On 31 May 1959 BOAC flew its last ever scheduled Stratocruiser service on the Accra-Kano-Barcelona-Heathrow route. though Stratocruisers continued to fly Wash ingto [1. from Venezuela. These aircraft fulfilled a number of military special missions roles. Only one company stepped up as a credible operator. Like so man y oth e r Stra tocruisers pacel ines. New . and the Strata cruisers continued to fly several links in the round-the-world chain .mostly to the airports that couldn't handle the long runways demanded by the new jets. iL e nded up wirb Calt!doPlid served for nine years before being disposed of In Air Lines in !9S 8. Washi ngton. on 15 September 1960. Alaska was one of the last bastions for PAA Stratocruisers. was w ri rten off afte r n collision p ri I 1%9.and third-tier airlines that were looking to pick IIp aircraft on the cheap. all 19 June 1. They were very complicated and expensive to maintain and operate. but the final scheduled service between the two was flown. where the Israel Defence Forcel Air Force. and LJA. from Ecuador. AU of Pan American's surviving Stratocruisers were traded in. and were the last true Stratocruisers to remain operational. New York-Minneapolis.. By September 1960 PAA Stratocruisers could be found on this route and just one other . v'a \V. . lliam D<>yie 0" the ground '" iih aneth er S'r~ toe r II. BOEING STRATOC. Its new owners would be Transocean Air Lines and others soon followed. The very last Northwest service was flown from New York to Minneapolis. The Babb Company of New York was given exclusive rights to offer these aircraft for onward sale to [lew owners. b u I. after which they were replaced by the newly-delivered Comet IV Several aircraft continued service on the African routes. Hawn by N90947. Their Iuxurrou s cachet was of Iittl e interest to the type of second. but a lucky few were resurrected to begin a whole new life in faraway places. the established US supplemental carrier Transocean Air Lines. which had long been the airline's technical base for the Stratocruiser.. but its operations with the StratocrUlser were predictably brief The last refuge of the Stratocruiser became Israel.-====================~____. By the end of 1960 there was a large number of surplus Stratocruisers looking for new owners.Electra turboprops and then Douglas DC-8 jets. Pan American kept its aircraft on the East Coast to Honolulu routes. BOAC aircraft remained on the 'Monarch' routes to New York until 13 November 1958. from Honolulu to San Francisco. At least four aircraft remained OIl this route. The DC-7 had none of the refinements of the Stratocruiser but it was faster and cheaper to • operate. Other attempts were made to start Stratocruiser services by RANSA. which were based at Seattle and Fairbanks. the end was finally in sight for the Stratocruiser. but the last service for Ghan a was flown on 31 August 1959. THE STRATOCRUISER'S STAR DESCENDS 1t was the DC -7C that began to replace the Stratocru iser In Northwest Airline's service too. iscr in" flying in from Honolulu via Paga Pago and Fiji.Pitts bu [ghCleveland-Detroit. The first Stratocruiser to leave the BOAC fleet.Cle vel and -Detro it.. but even they were replaced by Britannias in 1959. By 1959 DC-7s had taken over most of the domestic route network. When Northwest introduced its Lockheed. with a much larger number of more attractive Douglas types also on the market. in 1960. The very last Pan American Stratocruiser flight was a special charter. Many were scrapped.RUISER ii' -~============~ BOAC agreed with Boeing to trade in its remaining fleet of 14 Stratocruisers for 13 new Boeing 707 jetliners. G-ANUM. However. orkY Milwaukee and Chicago-Mi nneapolis services. 72 ABOVE: Seen be re loading Freight at London's Stratocruiser Transocean Aero Heathrow AiTP01"\. the Stratocruisers were not an attractive proposition.960.. The original Stratocruisers did linger for a while in the jet age. set off for California on 5 July 1958. in exchange for its 707s and most were ferried to :VIiami. New Zealand. Of these RANSA was the more successful. BOAC'. On l7 December 1959 Pan American took the surprising step of re-introducing the aircraft on its services to Auckland. These two ai rcraft were not sold on and were scrapped instead.the twice weekly Honolulu-Singapore service. G-ANUB and G-ANUC were retained on behalf of Ghana Airways. took up a number of Stratocruisers (and C-97s) that had been specially modified by J Ai (Israeli AircJaft Industries).

Services then continued on to either Las Vegas or Oakland. G·ANUC was allocated to Ghana U1a Il'il/iam (}OJ. an official U . complimenting their already operating inter-island services throughout Micronesia worked by a fleet of four Catalinas (already fed by flights from the U ). Transocean now had a fleet of 10 Stratocruisers.. G-ANUB [lelV 011.''''")'5. TAL operated two weekly Bights across the US (ill keeping with the restrictions on Supplemental Carriers). Guam Island and Okinawa. 26 standard fully-reclining seats and 12 seats in the lower deck. Los Angeles.( Africa.classification given to (smaller) airlines that were allowed to conduct unlimited charter services and a limited number of scheduled services between any two specific points in the US (and later from the US to destinations abroad). In July 1958 G-ANUM was ferried from Heathrow to Oakland irport. ransocean Air Lines (TAL) stepped up to replace them. The cabins were refitted with 60 tourist-class seats. In a singleclass configuration the seating capacity could be boosted to 112. The airline earned a rather buccaneering reputation after the war and became involved in a number of operations far removed from the sedate world of the tratocruiser. but the airline was re-established in a new form in 1946.d transpacific services. was owned by Transocean's parent company the Transocean Corporation. In January 1959 Transocean expanded its fleet with the addition of two more ex-BOAC aircraft and another four by the end of larcb. The company chosen to handle the disposal of the BOAC aircraft.}c< Co. The Stratocruisers initially Hew a twice-weekly schedule from Oakland and San Francisco to Honolulu. 73 By mid. evertheless when word got out that BOAC was looking to withdraw its fleet of tratocruisers Transocean found it had an inside rack.. Transocean's intentions were to launch transcontinental an. the Stratocruisers Sew via Chicago to Burbank. i\icw. though only eight were ever placed into service. to become the first of Transocean's new fleet. Connecticut.) 1957 and i\Ugu. Transocean' roots lay in the pre-war years.HT: Tn the twilight allocated of their careers. . BOAC <Orne of its rerna in i ng Straroc ru ise rs to he! p new start-up airlines in We:. Wake Island. AS!) Rt<. 1959. TAL was a Supplemental Air Carrier. in California. From either ew York or Hartford.1. Transocean also offered tourist flight to Honolulu and this became a prime route for the aircraft. TRANSOCEAN'S SMALL RENAl SANCE After the original customers had left the tratocruiser scene.I. alongside the airline's three Constellations. for the arrival of the first aircraft.". behalf of Nigerian Airways ("Ves1 African between May 1\.epternber Transocean had four aircraft on the U' register and was converting them to a new high-density layout.IN SERVICE ABOV!:. the New York-based Babb Company. TAL decided to take on the BOAC aircraft and prepared its engineering base at Oakland.

G. Little maintenance work was done on the Stratocruisers before their departure and. RAI 'A's second aircraft. The following rnoruh it was withdrawn 1. The airline failed before the services were launched. None of the TAL tratocruisers ever flew commercially again and its entire fleet of 14 aircraft was sold off for just $105. vi~ Avialiun PicluTO Library 1961. THE LAST TRUE 'STRATS' Looking to augment its limited transport fleet of the early 1960s.which were all. the former N9094 ) hit such strong headwinds and ran so low on fuel that a ditching in the Bay of Biscay seemed unavoidable. as Transocean was overwhelmed by a series of troubles. had the honour of being the very first Stratocruiser .was too expensive to even consider.". but these ambitions were continually blocked. A fourth freighter conversion was underway when the company filed for bankruptcy on 6 September 1966.but these Rights were all largely one-offs and the programme was halted in October. RANSA's Stratocruisers were fitted with forward cargo doors and the aircraft operated services around the Caribbean and to Miami. the company was facing mounting legal difficulties with its operations in Micronesia which had been ongoin g since 1951. and came close to disaster. Though these flights were being performed under US government contract. v-ia New York. th Israeli Defence Force Ail' Force (IOP I AF) decided that th tratocruiser would be a cheap and easily available solution.1.UAL aircraft. former.the prototype I X90700 that had been sold on to Pan American as Nl 022V in 1950. The first of these.AKGI were among the new airliners of fiying in December that Caribou had the honour from last Srratocr uiser service.000.Transocean also attempted to launch transatlantic services. the UK. Of the ten aircraft that RAN A bought only three ever entered service. he air force was able to overlook the Stratocruiser's high op rating costs because the aircraft that it really wantedthe C-DO Hercules . arriving in Ireland. Between April and August 1959. The sale of five ex-Pan American aircraft was brokered by Israeli Aircraft Industries (JAI) and they were ferried from Oakland to 'Ii 1 AVlv between february and April 1962. In 1960. Germany and Norway . The arrival of the Stratocruisers then imposed a major financial strain on the small airline which was not able to expand its business into more profitable areas. Transocean was forced to terminate all operations and declare bankruptcy on 11 July 1960. YV-C-ERH. but that was not quite the end of the story. to the Caribbean 1958. RANSA holds the distinction of being the last civil operator of the tratocruiser. started flying for the company in October ABOVE: Turboprop-powered usurped BOAC's the tr-atocruiser's Bristol Britannias throne. YV-C-ERI. The new heavylift aircraft that emerged 74 . using four ll2-seat aircraft on tourist charters to European destinations. they experienced several very eventful transoceanic delivery flights. One Stratocruiser (4X-FOI. TAL wanted to became the second licensed U transpacific carrier. and it is unclear if the Stratocruiser ever flew for LIA. The aircraft managed to stagger into Bordeaux on two engines with just enough fuel left to taxy off the runway. They never entered service. Also in 1960. France. Ecuadoc's Linea Intemacional Aerea A (LIA) acquired one ex-Pan American aircraft with the intention of flying Quito-Miami. the airline was facing increasing legal difficulties because of its Supplemental (ie non-scheduled) status. During the summer of 1959 Transocean's Stratocruisers appeared all over Europe. Venezuela's Rutas Aereas acionales A (RA SA) acquired ten aircraft with the intention of converting them to freighters to supplement the airline's existing fleet of C-46s. There would also have been inevitable political complications with the acquisition of such a 'tactical' military aircraft from the US at that time. rAl undertook a series of freighter conversions on these aircraft that became the most radical changes ever made to the basic Stratocruiser. as a result. in turn. TAL acquired a third batch of four ex-BOAC Stratoccuisers . In South America two small airlines tried to start up Stratocruiser operations.

Israel then acquired several KC-97s from the USAF ill 1967. allowing them to get into and out of the tightest of spots. but were most often seen in France . The Model 377 was also outlasted by the military Model 367. the Boeing 707. loading ramp. The other two aircraft were also fitted with side cargo doors. The last IDF / AF Stratocruiser . Israel look in a total of five Stratocruise freighter s. swing-tail '[]inLon Nordeen .the last active example in the world . Three of the Stratocruisers were modified to deIacto Stratofreighter standard. These aircraft were converted for a variety of special missions tasks. including electronic warfare and other shadowy functions. A very rare view of three of the ~'\nak' freighter the Israel Defence modified them to act as military conversions operated by Force! Air Force.was retired in December 1975.but they are all gone now. IAI did a remarkable engineering job in keeping the aircraft in the air for as long as they did.. while the swing-tails followed in 1965. Though the effort involved was considerable. the Stratocruiser fleet dwindled.IN SERVICE were dubbed 'Anak' (the Hebrew word for 'giant'). that could be opened out to 920 off the centreline allowing bulky items of freight to be loaded directly into the main cabin. with the addition of C-97-style rear clamshell doors. 'These three aircraft modification. One was shot down by an Egyptian SAM in 1971. All of the ID F / AF 'Anak' Stratofreighters could be fitted with a RATO system and braking parachutes. It is ironic that having gone to so much trouble to convert its Stratocruisers into virtual Stratofreigh ters. But.Israel's most important military supplier at that time. It is ironic too that the aircraft that finally replaced the Stratocruiser in uniform was the same one that had seen it off in the airlines. They were each given a swing-tail. 75 . just three aircraft remained in service. used as freighters in Alaska and around Central America and the Caribbean . As the IDF / AF began to introduce its (second-hand) 707s in the early 19705. amazingly. IAI succeeded in militarising the Stratocruisers to a high degree and turned them almost into the poor man's Hercules. The aircraft were occasional visitors to airports around Europe. one of these ageing giants is still actively earning a living with NASA in the USA. The last examples of former military aircraft remained Hying until the early 1990s. but the Stratocrulsers continued to carry out their important but unsung transport AUOIIE. internal crane and forward side cargo doors.. thai did not receive the complex role. The basic freighters entered service in 1964. but they underwent a more profound transformation. but by 197 S time was finally being called on the Stratocruiser once and for all. and are the one. The KC-97L remained in USAF Air National Guard service until 1977 and a sizeable number of these aircraft passed into civilian hands. the story does [lot end there: the Strator ruiser was reborn at the hands of Aero Spacelines through the remarkable series of Guppy conversions (see Chapter 7). By then. and the sound of their mighty R -4360s is no more. Furthermore.

BOEING STRATOCRUISER 76 .

OPERATORS 5 OPERATORS 77 .

The second FAA Stratocruiser to be delivered was N1026V.stop!. Kld" sligh. 1 1024 V. via Auiat1·I'. The last colour scheme worn by Pan American's Stratocruisers the j t-era livery introduced the elderly Baow. On 28 November 1945 Pan American signed a deal for 20 Stratocruisers.1Av. Library shows off the revised scheme T'his new liver-y incorporated with most Pan 10 Clipper W". applied (0 PAA Steatocruiscrs. on 31 January 1949. with the fifth aircraft.hin):!on Airways. with cheat-lines to serve as the baseline conversion."linn Pichm. while the former AO/\ aircraft were in a similar 81-seat all. At the time this was cited as the largest ever placed order for commercial aircraft.BOEING STRATOCRUISER PAN AMERICAN WORLD AIRWAYS (PAA) ABOVE: Pan Arnerjcan's On first Strarocruisers and other airframe (or the were delivered ero in an overall natural aircraft later wen' Guppy PAA was the launch customer for the itratocruiser and was the first airline to put the new Boeing into service (closely followed by its first Lockheed 049 Constellations). By the end of their operational careers Pan American hac! configured its Stratocruisers in an 86-seat layout. Nl023V.l1 Pic:tuTt. on 2 March 1949. differences this basic design.l. II looked very out or place WI1S on .tourist configuration. Nl 027V. AmericanWorld aircraft which began to appear after the airline changed its name to Pan many a while fuselage top with "j" Wall21 large biuc titles on the fin. This pur ucular pacelines Pregnanl in 1962. propliners on the first Boeing 707s. handed over on 19 March 1949. 1030V (delivered 1029V (delivered A. It was followed by the third example. markings. which arrived on 17 February 1949. mainly on the an Francisco-Honolulu run. With all the work that had been completed on the military Model 367 Pan Am and Boeing hoped that the airline would be able to place its Model 377s into commercial service by the end of 1946. However. becoming the airline's tenth example. on 14 March 1949. JI025V which became Clipper America.. Pan American's sixth tratocruiser was metal finish. displayed __ mer-lean colour schemes.' Lib ra r)1 30 March 1949) and its seventh was 22 April 1949). PAA _NI036V---- 78 - -- ~--------~----- . . the Model 377 certification process became far more drawn out than either party expected and so the mst PAA Stratocruisers did not enter service until 1949. Pan American took delivery of its first aircraft.DOVE RICJ:fT. The first production Stratocruiser. " Pierce). This aircraft was immediately set to work on several route-proving trials. Pan American's fourth aircraft was 1028 V". valued at $25 million. was retained by Boeing for it own inhouse trials and was not handed over to PaD American until 12 June 1949.

formerly AOA to lAI. fonnerly formerly AOA. to IAr. to Aero. Super Guppy to RAN A 377-10-26 77-10-26 377-10-26 15935 15936 15937 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 . lDF I AF 15931 15932 15933 1-934 later Clipper Donald McKay. broken up delivered October 1950. IDF IAF 1957 15962 15963 15964 later Clipper Queen of the Pacific. r 126AJ later Clipper Rainbow.ndarin. Clipper America. IDF I AF later CUpper Ma. to RANSA to BOAC (G-A to UM) paceline. to lAI. pacelines. to Aero later Clipper Malay. Clipper Celestial. to RANSA (YV-C-ERH) crashed 26 March 1955 later Clipper Midnight Sun. broken up later Clipper Polynesia. O. to IAt IDF I AF 79 . to RANSA formerly AOA. to RANSA formerly AOA. crashed 9 November formerly AOA. to Aero Spacelines landing accident 9 July '59 15959 15960 15961 formerly AOA. crashed 10 April 1959 to RA to RA to Aero A (YV-C-ERK) SA pacelines. IDF I AF RANSA (YV-C-ERJ) to RAN SA later Clippcrr Reindeer. previously 377-10-19 prototype (1 X90700) to RA A (W-e-ERI) A dbr ill NI039V NI040V Nl041V N1042V Nl043V f90941 N90942 N90943 N90944 N90945 N90946 N90947 N90948 15941 15942 15922 15957 15958 later Clipper Australia. to Aero Spacelines.OPERATORS PAN AMERlCAN CON. to lAI. Super Guppy crashed 29 April 1952 to LIA (HC-AFS) later Clippcrr orthem Light. formerly AOA. N1023V NI024\1 NI025 NI026V 1027 1028\1 NI029V N1030V N1031V 1032V NI033V NI034V N1D35\1 1036V N1037\1 Nl038V (PAA) FLEET OTES NAME Clippcrr Golden Gate Clipper Bald Eagle Clippcrr America Clipper Tradewind Clipper Friendship Clipper Flying Cloud Clipper Golden Eagle Clipper Southern Cross CLipper Mayflower Clipper United States Clipper Seven Seas Clippcrr Westward Ho Clipper Flying Eag/I! Clipper Washington Clipper Fleetwing Clippe'l' ConstitutiOll Clipper Good Hope Clipper Invincible Clipper }tanlue Clipper Morning Star Clipper 1 ightingale Clipper America Clipper Glo-ry of the Skies Clipper Sovereign of the Skies Clipper Romance of the Skies Clippcrr Monarch of the Skies Clipper Queen of the Skies Clipper Good Hope Clippcrr Eclipse 15923 15924 15925 15926 15927 15928 15929 15930 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-25 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 crashed 2 June 1958 Later Clipper Cathay.377-10-26 377-10-26 '77-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 3(7-10-29 77-10-29 15938 15939 15940 later Clipper [-{otspur. MODEL WORLD AIRWAYS REG.

In February 1946 SILA signed an agreement to purchase four aircraft. Immediately after the war A A me . but its operations were taken over by Sweden's AB Aerotransport._tratocruisers which were intended to take on Pan American bead-to-head. (Overseas Division) to b came American Overseas Airlines. SAS finally decided to dispose of the four SILA aircraft and. it sold them to BOAC.29 Stratocruisers were notable for their circular upper deck windows. AOA was a well-established cballenger to Pan American and Transcontinental & Western Airlines (TWA) on the transatlantic routes. 1 90941. The first aircraft.E-BDP OY-DF L'\J-LAF NOTES later G-AU A. MOD'L . taking i up to a total of 29. SILAFLEET CON. ln fact.BOELNG STRATOCRUIS£R SILA ( VENSK INTERCON INENTALLUFTTRAFIK AB) The Scandinavian Airline SILA was one of the forerunners of today's SAS and it followed PAA's lead to become the second customer for the Stratocruiser. The SILA aircraft entered production and were to be outfitted with a sumptuous interior using all-Swedish fabric and materials. American Overseas carried out its plans for a network of Stratocruiser services from the to Europe and followed Pan American onto the New York to London route in just six weeks.377·10-28 377·10-28 377·10·28 377-\0-28 REG. American Export Lines.me("ic.ikorsky VS-44 flying boats. '!LA hoped to use these aircraft to open up direct services between tockholm and New York. 15944 O. But as the aircraft moved along the Renton line 'ILA underwent a change of ownership.OA's Stratocruisers were soon absorbed into the Pan American fleet. l30AC later G-ALSD. valued at $6 million. rectangular lower deck windows and their urtiss Electric propellers.A. This was underlined by its . AOA was actually founded as American Export Airlines by a shipping company. but under contract to the S avy's Air Transport Services. &l~H1g J AOA became the third Stratocruiser customer when it placed an order for ten aircraft on 1 April ] 946. The-airline (AEA) had begun transatlantic ervices with Vought. capacity and allowed the British airline to start up its Stratocruiser services much earlier than would otherwise have been the case. the lengthy delays in the 'tTatocruiser certification programme led to a major change of plan. airline and irs aircraft were consumed The AOAModel 377 -10. in April 19H. beginning in 1947. in 1942.. BOAC Later G-ALSB. Bournemouth's Hum Airport on 24 October 1945. . However. though A never cancelled its tratocruiser order. In July 1946 the airline became one of the founders of the Scandinavian Airline System.JJ1 in 1950. For BOAC this was a much-welcomed boost in.:s owners were in heavy discussion with Juan Trippe and protracted negotiations eventually did lead to a Pan American take-over of AOA on 25 September 1950. . arriving in.ged with American Airlines lnc. BOAC 15945 15945 later G-AL"iC. 1594. it was AOA that made the first commercial Right from the US to Britain after World War II. BOAC 5E-DDR AMERICA OVERSEAS AIRLINES (AOA) AE!O\IE: I he American Overseas' Strntocruisers had n short but eventful career before b)' Pan . was rolled out on 23 February 1949.I\. By 1948 AOp. 80 . made its first Right on 15 March and was delivered to the airline on 13 June. ABA was already committed to the Douglas DC-6.

THE FIRST LOSS The first loss of aStra tocru iser on a passenger. None of the passengers were hurt but the aircraft was badly damaged. Apart from this inci de nt North west's ~tratocr u i sers su ffered only minor incidents. G-AKGL suffered a nosewheel collapse after a heavy landing at Prestwick. Northwest Airlines had a good safety record and only ever suffered one fatal accident. 89 . On 15 June 1. approach AllhM to Prestwick board.704 hours of Aight lime since it entered ui. some time after a IOU tine position report h ad been made. The aircra ft was returned. Tbe nose section suffered severe damage. all at New York. but none of the nine crew and 43 passengers on board were injured. when its entire undercarriage caught fire after two aborted take-off attempts. on 12 December 1957.J 4'. killing had 1. Two years later it was involved in a major drama when jammed nose-gear forced a gear-up landing on a foam covered runway on 6 March 1954. On Cb ristrnas a CCA Oil BOAC only lost one Stratocr-uise Calhay crashed the 24 passengers and lour crew Day in 1954 Airport. BOAC suffered its first accident on 24 April 1951. but the crew managed to make a safe emergency landing. and these crashes did much to unnerve the Stra tocru iser community. nearly ten years after the StratocIuiser had entered service. The earlier loss of a propeller and an engine from 1\'74608 on 25 January 1950 could have ended in disaster. This involved N7-l-608 StratocTuiser To!<yo which crashed into Puget Sound after take-off from Seattle on 1 April 1956. r over rhe years. The last serious incident to involve an airline operated Stratocr uiser came on 10 April 1959. On 10 May 1952 the Stratocruiser hit another aircraft while taxying at Idlewild. poiru ihe Siratocruiser service in December amassed 9.)1.ABOVE: Th-ough G-ALSA it experienced during its fuir-shnre or other mishaps and close calls. Y Vying with Northwest's N74608 for the title of 'unluckiest Stratocruiser' was Pan American's NI03SV The Clipper Plying Eagle was Involved in three separate serious incidents. One of the propellers had fajled to select reverse pitch on landing and the aircraft' could not be braked on time. All of the passengers and crew on board managed to escape from the aircraft but some drowned before the rescue teams could reach them. The 1957 crash was never fully explained as the aircraft disappeared with no distress calls ever recei ved. On 6 December 1952 Pan American Clipper Queen of the Pacific (N90947) came close to disaster over the Pacific during a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo. 957 Northwest's N 74607 suffered a fire in its engine nacelle and wheel well on landing at Idlewild. A short while later another Northwest aircraft.111957.949. N74603..carrying service came on 29 April 1952 when Pan American's N1039V Clipper Good Hope crashed in Brazil. but never with any loss of life. On that date Pan American's Clipper Midnight SUll (N t 033 V) undershot while landing at Juneau. The loss of this aircraft underlined how immature long- range travel was. 1956 and 1957. All three incidents involved a combination of propeller and engine failures. to service after acorn plete rebu Lid from the nose section to the trailing edge of the wing. 126km) out from Honolulu the StratocrULser lost its number four propeller and engine in quick succession. Alaska. The accident was caused by the separation of an engine and propeller while the aircraft was cruising and this became just the first such incident to claim a Stratocruiser and the Livesof all on board. The aircraft crashed and was destroyed by fire but all the passengers and crew escaped safely. during 195 J. was damaged in a hydraulics fire at Detroi t on 28 J1. On 5 August 1955 N7460 I overran the runaway at Chicago-Midway Airport and crashed through the airport's boundary fence. m Scotland. The crew managed to retain control of the damaged all-craft and made an emergency landing at Johnson Atoll. Three ditchings in the Pacific by Pan American World Airways aircraft followed. About 700 miles (1. The aircraft had gear trouble yet again.

35 miles off the coast of Oregon Flight Routing: Portland-Honolulu The number three (inboard starboard) engine and propeller tore loose from the wing.02hr the crew requested a VPR climb to FL110..26HST for the last leg of the flight to San Francisco. became airborne again then crashed. and sank after 20 minutes in the water. The aircraft ditched. Trinidad.4 miles (8. Location: USA. track to 30oN. the aircraft crashed into the Bay during a simulated ILS approach to San Francisco ai. San Francisco Bay While operating crew training flight United Trainer 7030. Washington Date of incident 2. As the aircraft was loosing altitude a ditching seemed inevitable The US Coast Guard weather ship November was The aircraft departed Rio de Janeiro at 02. BOEING STRATOGRUISER . Date of incident: 26 March 1955 Airline: Pan American World Airways Aircraft registration: N 1032 V Fatalities: two crew and two passengers (of eight and 15 on board) 90 -~----~- . the captain reduced power to stop the buffeting. causing severe control difficu lties. Last radio contact with the flight was at 06. PA006. 400 miles (635 km) north-east of Barreiras Flight Routing: PA202. the Raps were retracted. Date of incident: 25 December 1954 Airline: BOAC Aircraft registration: G· AU. The aircraft took off from Honolulu at 20.rport. Honolulu-San Francisco Clipper Sovereign of the Skies was on a round-the-world flight from Philadelphia to San francisco with stops in Europe.16 when the crew reported at FL145 abeam Barreiras. severe bu£fet~ug was experienced and the: aircraft started to roll to the left. As the aircraft reached 2. The number two engine (inboard port) and propeller became unbalanced. The Stratocruiser crashed in dense jungle. Suddeuty.four passengers (of six and 32 on board) Location: 5. The accident was also contributed to by the failure of the first officer to carry out an order to put on the landing lights. Date of incident: 2 April 1956 Airline: Northwest Airlines Aircraft registration: N74608 Fatalities: one crew . with the captain and first officer remaining on board to ensure that all the passengers had escaped safely. Asia and the Pacific. but flared too late.9I\pril19 52 Airline: Pan American Airways Aircraft registration: N 1039 V Fatalities: all on board (nine crew. Assuming the aircraft was in asymmetric flap condition. Pull power was reapplied and plans were made to divert to McChord APB. At 01. 140"W at FL130 and then at PL210 to San Francisco.43hr for a direct (off airways) night to Port-of-Spain. The plane continued to lose altitude .19h) the number one (port outboard) engine oversped. thus preventing the captain from seeing the low cloud over the approach lights in time This same aircraft had on. the undercarriage had been lowered and the flaps were set down at 10". so the engine was frozen by cutting off its oil supply.A Fatalities: four crew. Low &!oud reduced the captain's visibility. The propeller could not be feathered. at Tacoma. The cause was never fullyestablished. It seems that with a high cockpit work load the crew simply allowed the aircraft to get away from them. The cause was attributed to an inadvertent stall at a low altitude. Date of incident: 16 October 19 S6 Airline: Pan American World Airways AS-craft registration: N90943 Fatalities: zero (of seven crew and 31 passengers on board) Location: Pacific Ocean Flight Routing. It entered a steep descent.. As a result the aircraft sank and hit the ground short of the runway. Immediately after reaching this altitude (at 01. The Stratocruiser sank 15 minutes later. The aircraft had probably been flymg with its number four engine feathered (simulating an emergency). Everyone was issued with lifejackets. Da te of inciden t: 12 September 1951 Aircraft registration: N31230 Airline: United Air Lines Fatalities: three crew (of three on board) Location: USA. The Right was cleared via Green Airway 9. It was soon determined that the aircraft had taken off with its engine cowl Haps fully open and that none of the Right crew had noticed this serious failing in time.ly just been returned to service after suffering an undercarriage collapse while landing at Keflavik on 28 February 1954.06 hr. 24 passengers (of 11 and 25 on board) Location: Prestwick. Rio de Janeiro-New York Flight Routing: Seattle-Tacoma-Portland Northwest Flight 002 (Seattle-Portland-Chicago-New York) took off from 5eattle at 08. Scotland Flight Routing: London-Prestwick The Stratocruiser was high on its radar-controlled GCA approach to Presrwick. then uncontrollable. The crew executed a text-book ditching. Following a heavy landing. but this had no effect. forcing a ditching in Puget Sound. which was approved. at 145kt (166 mph/267km/h) airspeed. The cause of the accident was attributed to the loss of the engine and propeller and the resulting instability. and shook themselves loose from the aircraft.. but in the 35 minutes that it took for rescue boats to reach the accident scene one member of the crew and four passengers drowned.Tacoma lAP. the plane ran onto the runway. OOOft (609m). 41 passengers) Location: Brazil. The aircraft was lifted from the sea bed and recovered for the crash in vesti gation. The crash was attributed to errors of judgement on the part of the captain who started his final approach at too steep an angle and then flared out too late and too severely.7km) south-west of Seattle.

N90948 Flagship Scotland NORTHWEST AIRLINES Northwest was the fourth Stratocfuiser customer. N90943 NC9094-1. N9094! NC90942. This aircraft was named Stratocruiser Minnea. Airlines' Srratocruisers of small 'Orient' changed titles 10 the main legend. first to Douglas DC-is and then to Lockheed lee ra and Douglas DC-8s. N7+601. orthwest's tenth and fmal Stratocruiser was delivered on 21 December 1949. j Plagship Great Britain Flag5nip Europe Flagship Irolland later Flagship Europe.'! tratocruiser-class comfort on U ' trunk routes. N90947 NC90948. NC90 46. This aircraft was named traiocruiser The Orient Express by the actress Loretta Young. Northwest's tratocruisers became renowned for their level of passenger ervice and iL was the only airline able to offer 81 A ~OVE: Apart from the addition Northwest.polis St Paul . which remains so to this day. OVER EAS Arsw :y MonEL REG. The withdrawal of the Stratocruiser fleet began in 1959 when Northwest began to transition.in honour of Northwest's main hub of operations. Northwest was alone among the original Stratoc[ujser operators in configuring its aircraft in ~ 'higher-density' 7S-seat layout. orthwest suffered just one loss of an aircraft during its Stratocruiser years. as part of the promotional effort surrounding her new film Keys to the City. o Northwest' aircraft were fitted with Hamilton 'tandard propellers and had rectangular cabin windows. The eight surviving Stratocruisers were traded in to Lockheed in exchange .liJip GI'€£11 ritain to PM B later Flagsilip Europe to PM to PM to PM toPAA to PAA to to PAA PM 90945 90946 Flllg~hip Ireland Flagship onl!ay Flagship Swaden Flagship Denmark ! 15963 15964 NC90 47.3 0 aircra ft in March 1946. when seen [rem any angle. on 22 June 1949. ownership. N9094+ [ C90945. 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-29 . Despite this. The first aircraft. The first commercial service was flown from Minneapolis to Chicago on 1 August 1949. when N74608 crashed in Puget Sound in 1956.177-10-29 FL T L ANtE NOTE 15957 15958 15959 15960 15961 15962 NC90941 . Plagship Scandinavill later Flag. but the first to be delivered to the airline was N74602. placing an order for ten kV[ del 377 -1 0 .IN SERVICE AMERIC CO . len lillie JOUbl as 10 ! be aircraft's very little in appearance The red wing Lip" and large titles over the wings. N90942 NC9094J. over the yean.NO. BOCHI. was rolled out on 18 February 1949..

ln 1954 the aircraft Prestwick. 15947 15948 15949 15950 15951 15952 15953 15954 15955 15956 377-10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 377·10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 377-10-30 J NAME 74601 74602 SbratoCTuiser M"anila Noms to Aero Spacelines to Aero pacelines to Aero Spacelines later Detroit. crashed API. to Aero Spacelines later Teu. The -28s had circular windows on the upper and lower decks. many years later BOAC knew that it could not leave the new transatlantic market as the sole preserve of the United States and so j t had no choice but to order the Stratoliner . By 24 March 19 50 all ten of BOAC's i ni tial batch of tratocruisers had been delivered . This purchase became highly controversial in cash-strapped post-war Britain. The aircraft were eventually sold to Lee M"ansdorf and several were used by Aero Spacelines fur the Guppy conversions.shington Strll(ocruiser Honolultl SttatoCTuiser Tokyo Stmtccruiser Alruka Si-racocruiserThe Orient Express ewa'Tk. then late. crashed 2/4/56 later Portland.1 NC74609. to Aero Spacelines to Aero Spacelines later Rudolph dbr 14/8/59. 74605 74606 74607 74609 7461 74608. tratocruiser. NC74610.a1·k. N74(i04 C74605. The SILA -28 aircraft had some differences to B AC's -32s. E-BDP) which was named Cathay.- aircraft were bought in April 1949 and the first was rolled out at Renton on 1 July 1949. The truth of the matter was that there was no horne-grown option for BOAC and none would be available until the advent of the Bristol Britannia. while the BOAC -32s had square windows on the lower deck. landing r-uiscrs deli vered 10 BOAC G-ALSA entered on 6 Decem revenue were the one-time service 01 SILA In September 1946 BOAC announced its intention to acquire the.the last to arrive was .Royal Mail Aircraft. C74602. to Aero Spacelines later Shanghai. The formal order for six Model 377-10-32 aircraft was agreed on 18 October 1946. This was -ALSA (the one-time . The four 82 . MODEL REG. This aircraft was later sold on to RAN A for spares. with many questioning why the national carrier was choosing to spend so muclr-scarce foreign currency on American aircraft and not instead supporting domestic industry. This was prefixed by 'RMA' . NO. Formosa to Acro Spacelines BRITISH OVERSEA AIRWAYS CORPORATION Alia E: The fiesl four Strata transatlantic in a heavy services.. N74608 StratoCTuis(lr Minneapolis-St Paui StralOGTUiserNew York Stra. One of these Stratocruisers (N74607) had been badly damaged by an internal me caused by an exploding oxygen bottle on 14 July 1959. ber 1949. NC74603. These aircraft were now unwanted. aircraft and they provided establish damaged Loncl"on-PreSl:wick- a much-welcomed boost (or BOAC in the race to on the was lIia ew York service at Keflavik. becoming the sixth and last of the original ifode1377 customers. C74607. later broken up for spares C74601. N74603 NC74604. She was handed over in a ceremony at Seattle on 12 October and arrived in London on 15 October. The last orthwest Airlines tratocruiser service was operated on 15 September 1960. but were already being built and would be available sooner than any of BOAC's own Stratoliners. BOAC then did a deal with SAS which still held rights to the four Model 377-10-28 Stratecruisers that had been ordered by 'ILA. The galley was positioned amidships in the -288 while the -32s had an aft galley.BOEING STRATOCRUISER for a new fleet of L-188 Electras. BOAC's Stratocruiaers were given names that had once been carried by the great Short 'C' Class flying boats of Imperial Airways. NORTHWE T ArRu:NEs FLE T CON. NC74606.tocmiser New York Stratocruiser Chicago Stratocmiser Wa.

BOAC operated a 'mixed' configuration of 30 touri t seats in the forward cabin. arranged in three defined cabins that were separated by the galley amidships. All but one had undertaken 1. which left the fleet on 5 August 1958. The cabins were laid out for eight. it was redelivered to London on 9 April 1955. These aircraft were fitted out with 60 firstclass seats. Unlike the other BOAC Stratoliners. BOAC decided to add to its Stratocruiser fleet and acquired a single Model 377-10-26 aircraft (Nt 02 7V) from Pan American on 26 August t 954. 24 and 28 passengers from fore to aft. These aircraft were used on the transatlantic 'Coronet' tourist services.500 flying hours. The first of these. was handed over on 22 eptember 195+. Beginning in July 1958 BOAC began to dispose of its Stratocruisers.Ul. seven aircraft (G-AKGH. G-AKGI. G-AKGL and G-AKGM) in the same configuration. G-ALSA. in 195f BO C's de Havilland Comet I jet fleet was grounded and the airline was faced with a large and very unexpected capacity shortage. The first aircraft to be retired was G-A UM. Another six aircraft were soon acquired from United Air Lines which had begun to dispose of its Stratocruiser fleet. In all-sleeper configuration the aircraft were usually fitted with 24 berths and 28 reclining sleeper seats. Following overhaul and ppgrade to BOAC standard in the SA.000 passengers over 12. introduced in. During ten years of operations BOAC's aircraft had carried 680. On some services to the Caribbean.OW. BOAC's tratccrulsers blue tail with " white spcedbird on-white G ·ALSD [our -28 finish. G-AKGM Castor. G-AKGJ. N31229 (G-ANUB). This aircraft was fitted out in the 40-seat 'Monarch' layout. This aircraft. .OPERATORS ABOVE: seen here operations at at H". the ex-United aircraft were in an 81-seat all-tourist layout and they were soon joined by three of B A 's own aircraft (G-AKGK. This aircraft was subsequently redelivered to Transocean Air Lines. The sixth and final exUAL Model 377-10-34 was delivered to Heathrow on Ei June 83 1955. GALSB. The United aircraft could be easily recognised by their square upper deck windows and the circular windows on the lower deck. uhed in the whitetapped scheme adopted by BOAC to Clio is painted finish. via the Babb Company of New York which had been chosen by Boeing to act as brokers for the second-hand Stratocruiser fleet. aircraft obtained from f"veur the all-metal RIGHT: The final scheme wor-n by featured a dark -. negntiv image of the previous blueCassin p eia.804 Atlantic crossings and 247. was th e Iast of rtatccruisers acquired b) BOAC in late 1949. along with five other ex-BOAC Stratocruisers.000 Atlantic crossings and G-AK lL led the fleet with 1. For the' Monarch' services. along with ten sleeper seats and 13 sleeping berths aft. G- BOAC's base of UC Clio was one of the 1\1odeI377-10-34 Airlines. A dumb-waiter ran from the galley to the downstairs lounge. G-ALSC and G-ALSD) were reconfigured with 40 seats.161 to its credit. early 1950.

N31225. later formerly N:i1226 (UAL). Coriolanus Camellia Camercmial1 31227 fUAL). Service to Honolulu from San Francisco were launched on 13 January 1950 and the Stratocruisers replaced DC-6s on the route. Transocean J[OlQ.OFY (S[LA). was delivered on 28 September 1949. later Nl 03Q. Transocean T85Q. Transocean Transocean formerly L LLAF ( [LA). The first VAL Stratocruiser. AOA and Northwest to become the fifth Stratocruiser customer. Calypso Clio Clyde 31-29 (UAL) formerly N. Transocean Transocean 195'1 E-BDP (::lILA). NO. including the ubiquitous cocktail lounge. later N 1OI1Q. later Nl09Q. United ordered seven Model 377 -10-34 Stratccruisers on 6 August 1946 and these aircraft were earmarked to serve on the first-class routes from California to Hawaii. By the end of 1949 United had five aircraft in its 84 fleet and was preparing to place the type into service. United was the shortest lived of all the major Stratocruiser operators UAL's six remaining Stra ocr uisers were sold to BOAC in 1934.s Cabot Castor Cathay Champion Cen to. Transocean became Nl04Q. VAL's aircraft were configured in a 55-seat sleeper layout and had all the creature comforts that tratocruiser passengers had come to expect. This aircraft began a series of crew training and route proving flights.l7A. .1L31 (UAL) formerly Nl027V (PM) ITED AIR LINES United joined PAA. y.j77-l0-34 377-10-34 377-10-34 377-10-34 377-10-26 Caledonia Caribou Cambria Canopu. later NI07Q. later formerly SE-BDR (SlLA). MODEL FLEET NOTES REo. G-AKGl-I G-AKGl G-AKO} G-AKGK G-AKGL G-AKGM G-ALSA AlVlE 15974 15975 15976 15977 15978 15979 15943 15944 15945 377-10-32 377-10-32 377-10-32 377-10-32 377-10-32 377-10-32 77-10-28 377-10-28 377-10-28 G-ALSB G-ALS • G-AL D G-ANTX 15946 15965 15966 15967 15968 15969 15971 15927 3i7-10-28 377-10·34 377-10-34 . Transocean became N1QOQ.UTtI<> Cassiopeia Cleopatra became N1.BOEING S'fRATOCRUISER BRITISH OVERSEAS AIRWAYS CORPORATION CO~. Transocean became became formerly formerly 102Q. crashed 25 December became N1 OSQ. Transocean Iormerly N31228 (VALl. later formerly formerly I formerly N31125 (UAL). Transocean Transocean I08Q. Transocean 86Q.

. Like many nmp"ny.1 ser-ved with BOAC 19. California. with G-ALS delivered on 5 January and -AK I delivered on 85 . via the Babb began to dispose of its later bought scrapped by Aero Spacelincs and was finally in 1969. NC3L29. Transocean made a sizeable mark when it handled the transfer of over 150 war surplus Curtiss C--I-6sfrom the US to China. All of the aircraft were refitted with a revised seating layout that could accommodate between 98 (two-class) and 112 (single-class) passengers.lry U !TED AIR LINES CON.-----. 29 Main linllr [-{aWILii Mainliner Kauai Mainliner Hana Maui MainlineT Waipahu Mainliner /-lila Mainliner O"hu IvlailllineT Kano to BOAC (G-ANTX) to BOAC (G-A lTV) A) to BOAC (G-ANTZ) Later to BOAC (G -AN to BOAC (G-AN crashed 12/9/51 to BOAC (G-ANUC) B) 15970 15971 IC31230. RMA CI. N31230 NC31231. ME OTES 15965 15<)66 15967 15968 15969 377-10-34 377·10-34 377-10-34 377-to-34 377-10-34 377-10-34 377 -\ 0-34 NC31225. by -AI GH. Connecticut. Transocean did not loose a single aircraft during this operation.. On 5 July. The livery adopted 10 it became on a pre ..ra. G-AKGH was transferred to TAL. rved for just over live years before BOAC'. These aircraft used a range of U registrations for their ferry flights and initial operations. The company was founded by OrvisM. N31231 TRANSOCEAN AIR LINES Transocean started life as a non-scheduled and contract carrier.ng immigrants from the UK to Canada in 1947 and cond ucting transport operations during the Korean War. NC3L28.OPERATORS l .. BOAC's former flagship..delivery distinguished tmtocruisers wing.. NO. N31226 C3L27. Nelson.')Imutl Colleclionl 0\"'(1""" Picl" re L. Jahn . i- ABOVE ND RIGI IT: Unued's Mainliner aircraft Hawaii is seen here nired's of . starting at N401Q A second batch of six aircraft was acquired in 1959. Transoc_ean began to take delivery of ex-BOAC Stratocrui ers in 1958 and the first four aircraft were ferried to the company base at Oakland Airport. MODEL FLEET REG. j 31215 N31227 N3L28 N3l z... flyi. a former senior nited Air Lines pilot. The airline then became involved in operations around the: world.~. where Transocean intended to base its new Atlantic Coast engineering division. nlt!_. A new technical centre was established at Bradley Field.9. they were later re-registered in the N4**Qseries. C31216. Despite expectations to the contrary. wear-ing In COmma" whh the aircraft cited s titles on the many ether airlines of the time.. tratocruiser was acquired IQ50 untilMarch C(lflOPUS by 'Transocean when BOAC fleer. "ia Aviolli. in August. over-sized large company registrations: rliat allowed be easily identi fled. respectively.hroT)' !Jnt! Bo"ing from BOAC L£~": G-AKGK Februar) uaiocruisers Canopu. It was followed. in 1946." Pictu .ol'al.d IU / . alungside !be aircraft test Right. Lill~. G-ALSD and G-AKGL were delivered on 7 and 13 epternber. /. It was Air Lines.

to A I formerly -A 'C (B AC) later 406Q formerly G-AUm (BOAC) later N403Q formerly G-AI TX (BOAC) later N412Qdid not enter service. NO. These were all. Only four of these aircraft would ever enter service . ewark .BOEING STRATOCRUISER 6 January. Nt\M' OTES Model-377-26 H -A A Princess EveTetta Ma. The registration HC-A A was applied for the ferry fligbt. 406Q. Ba ed at Quito. RAN OCEAN AmLTh. 377-10-32 108Q NI06Q '109A N137A N100Q 102Q Nl04Q N86Q IIOSQ not enter service. 15940 O. for just $105. this tiny Ecuadorian airline acquired a single ex-Pan American Stratocruiser in 1960 from ee Iansdorf The company had launched domestic services from Quito to Guayaquil in September 1958 and it hoped to use the Stratocruiser to extend that service to Miami. none ever entered service with Transocean. The legal difficulties that surrounded a non-scheduled airline conducting a scheduled network of services eventually overwhelmed Transocean and the company was forced out of business on 11 July 1960. G-ALSB. N409Q and N410Q TAL's final batch of four ex-BOAC aircraft was delivered between April and August 1959. Tranoceari's Stratocruisers were bought up by Airline Equipment Inc.. former United Airlines aircraft.t02Q formerly G-AKGl (BOAC) later N405Qto ASI formerly G-AKGJ (BOAC) later 1407Q to Asr formerly G-AKGK (BOAC) lateJioN409Qto ASI formerly G-AK L (B AC) lat r N404 to A "'[ formerly G~AKGM (BOAC) later N410Q to AS] formerly G-ALSB (BOAC) later N408Qdid LINEA INTERNACIONAL AEREA SA (LIA) Stratocruiser was flown to Quito in December 1960.. and marks HC-AFS were reserved for later use.000 and several were sold on to Lee Mansdorf and Aero Spacelines Inc. I OIES 15927 15944 159-1-5 377-10-2fl 377-10-28 377 -10-28 377-10-28 377-20-29 1027V formerly G -A UM (BOAC) later N40 1 Q 15946 15965 15966 15967 15968 15974 15975 15976 1-977 15978 15979 Nl03Q 101Q 185Q Nl07Q 1 377-10-29 377-10-29 377-10-2Q 377-10-32 377-10-31 377-10-32 377-10-32 377-10-3:!. Caroline and Mariana Islands for which Transocean acquired a fleet of four PBY·5A Catalinas.as N40SQ.ria later H -AF' formerly 1040V (PAA) 86 . MODEL REG. By the end of arch another four had been handed over ( -AKGJ. LIA won CAB approval to begin Rights to the SA and the brightly-painted LINEAS INTERNACIONAL AEREA FL ~ T Co . but the aircraft never entered service. -AKGK.NTZ (BOAC) N411Q did not enter service. to ASI formerly G·ANTY (BOAC) N413Q did not enter service. Although all were registered. in tum. to AST formerly G-AKGH (BOAC) later 1. to ASI formerly G.TES FLEET CON. The Stratocr uiser was seized by the Ecuadorian government and is believed to have been broken up some time after J 965 without ever flying again. G-AKGM). On 1 J uJ y 1951 the company was awarded a contract by the U Department of the Interior to undertake contracted air services across Micronesia (the Marshall. MODEL REG. to ASI formerly G-A1 A (B A ) '414 did not enter ervice.

which the aim of establishing freighter services to the US .1 servicecareer.eolf". YV-C-ERI Carlos • YV-C-ERJ YV-C-ERH YV-C-ERK Andreina Maria . acquired later.Princess Euereua M aria II formerly formerly formerly formerly NI022V NI028V N1 031 V N1034V (PAA).ERH McKoy was former-ly Clipp".mud Coll. Now ~tl"ed out wjth a high-density <Ill" cahin. RANSA placed three aircraft into service and was working on the conversion of a fourth (YV-CERK) when the airline went out of business on 6 September 1966. Captain Chavez. Mo.ower and then Clipper Donald BOAC 1vfodel 377-10-32. when the company Pi.':il"ph"" Piom. about between 1% I and 1966. RANSA's second aircraft. alongside a larger number of C-97s.rjl. NACIONALES SA FLEET NAME OTES MODEL 15922 15928 15931 15934 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 377-10-26 REG. . (Nl031 V IYV-C-ERH) entered service on 5 October 1961 flying from Miami to Caracas. MonEL AME 15925 15930 377-10-26 37i-1O-2il 377-10·29 377-10-29 4X-FOF 'IX-FOrT NOTES 15962 15'163 15964 <!-X-FOD 4X-FOG 377-10·29 4X-FOl Beitll'l" Arbel Yodjllt Zipori MllSS£ldll 4X-ASAlater 4X-Ff>W /015 (with !AI) Nl025V swing tail conversion 4X-AOH later . This aircraft was named for the grand daughter of one of the senior pilots. it was later transferred to Pan American as a Model 377-10-26 (NI022V). The first of its Stratocruiser freighters.£FT: G·AKGK. ihis was the aircraft that once carried royalty for BOAC." ISRAEL DEFENCE FORCE! AIR FORCE Israel acquired five Stratocruisers and converted them to act as specialist military transports.the prototype Model 377-10-19 (NX 90700).\X-FPV/OIO (with rAI) NI030V swing tail conversion 'IX-ADO later 4X-FPZ (with tAl) N90946 dam-shell doors 4X·AOD later4X-FPXl098 (with fAI) N90947 dam-shell doors 4X-AOllater 4X-FPY /097 (wilhIAI) N90948 dam-shell doors 87 . This aircraft was named in honour of the airline's chief pilot Carlos Nurse. ur< Lib "dry It had an .".OPERATORS RUTAS AEREAS NACIONALES SA (RAN SA) The Venezuelan airline RANSA bought a total of ten former PAA Stratocruisers from Lee Mansdorf in 1961.e[. T ransocean 's N 409Q W<ISfor mer Iy tourist- BELOW: YV·C.ey/ Auiu"i.chiefly Miami. No. Jail" ". YV-C-ERI had the distinction of being the very first Stratocruiser .. ISRAEL DEFENCE FORCE! AlR FORCE REG. CON. she served with Pan American. live year. NX90700 (PAA) (FAA) (FAA) AI'OV" [. Israel's Stratocruisers were the last active examples in the world and served from 1962 to 1975. RANSA started to convert the aircraft to an all-cargo configuration by addmg a forward freight door on the starboard side. :NO.l"".. which included" collision with an EI AI Britannia ar Idlewild in 1958. on/ A vi" [illn Pi". Li&m'J' went Out of business . In. In RANSA hand. All four Stratocruisers in the RANSA fleet were impounded at Miami ana were finally broken up there in 1969. RUTAS AEREAS CON. a See" a I Hen 01 u 1u in 1959.

The Stratocruiser's entry into service was relatively trouble free. following a weather diversion to Bournemouth the previous day. N74608 was involved in a second THE FIRST FATALITIES The first loss of life on a Stratocruiser occurred in tragic and unexpected circumstances. forcing the tratocru iser to make a rapid return.010m) to land at Idlewild. Debris from the ngine struck the fuselage and tail fin. and aircraft began to suffer dramatic in-flight prop tosses. this sam aircraft wa damaged again in a similar incident when its crew failed to lower the undercarriage after a training flight on 30 May 1956. In April 1958 N1031V collided with an El Ai Britannia. ill 1952 the first tratocruiser was lost.. but the aircraft was not carrying any passenger when it crashed into San Francisco Bay on 12 September 1951. when Stratocruiser Clipper Morning Star (N10.J. on 5 April 1950. The ernesgency began when a section of the number one propeller broke off and sliced into the main cabin. The crash was finally attributed to pilot error and was another unfortunate. While landing on a icy runway at Chicago the aircraft's props came into contact with the ground and were badly damazed. On 3 January 1951 Pan American's 'tratocruiser Clipper Wash ington (N 1036 V) was seriously damaged when it suffered an inadvertent gear retraction while landing at Heathrow.287km) out over the Atlantic. Nl025V Clipper America made a three-engined diversion to Shannon Airport.BOEING STRATOCRUISER 6 NCIDENTSA DAcCDENTS incident. just a month later. after its port. John Harris. 1 o-on wa hurt but while the aircraft was making an emergency desc nt into Glenview. while the aircraft was flying from Minneapolis to New York. This was a nited Air Lines aircraft. The three crew were all killed. The Stratocruiser ' Achilles heel proved to be its (Hamilton Standard) props and R-4360 Wasp Major engines. 88 . . The aircraft landed safely and a subsequent accident investigation found that the crew had taxyed the engine through a snow drift before take-off However. When the CAB investigated this incident it discovered that the crew had be n warned that the door might be in an unsafe condition. The aircraft ground looped but there were no injuries to anyone on board. United Air Lines also had an early fun of bad luck.. the Douglas DC-6 or even the Avro Tudor. Mainline?" Oahu ( J31230) while on a training flight.OOOft (7.none were injured. and had just nine crew aboard .right gear up' instead of the' right flaps up'. Undercarriage troubles surfaced again. The aircraft had a pressurisation failure and made an emergency descent from 23. 'everal Stratocruisers operators soon experienced problems with the aircraft's propeller design. while taxying at Idlewild. The aircraft was operating on an empty leg. in Brazil). Engine reliability was the number one concern in those days. and it certainly did not suffer the same level of technical troubles that affected the Lockheed Const llation. particularly on the long over-water flights. and many of the large four-engined transports vied for the dubious title of 'the best three-engined aircraft in the world'. There would also be a series of in-flight engine stoppages. The pilot mistakenly selected . n 7 July 1949 just five days after the launch of services to London. On 25 January 1950 Stratccruiser N74608 Stratocruiser Tok:yo lost an entire engine off its wing. and the micro-switch safety system that was in place to prevent such a mishap only worked when the aircraft was on the ground with pressure on the undercarriage. outer propell r sheered oFf some 00 miles (1 . on 28 February.Harris fell to hi death. The R--I-360 was an immensely complicated piece of engineering that demanded constant ms intenance of the highest order. On 10 July an aircraft outbound from Tokyo was badly damaged when an engine suffered a catastrophic failure. This ill-starred aircraft suffered other serious incidents and would later become the only Northwest Stratocruiser to be lost in a crash. later Clipper Donald McKa)1 (N1031 V) had an eventful life. There were no injuries to any of th passengers or crew. Bizarrely.2 ) uffered a gear collapse during landing at San Francisco. on 27 July 1952. On this occasion a lady passenger was sucked out of a faulty door over the Atlantic. It new the first Jew York-ShannonLondon-Frankfurt service on 10 JW1C 1949. was trying to secure it . This aircraft would later become the first of Pan American's tratocruisers to crash. but that the captain elected to continue the flight. Prop failures would be implicated in several of th fatal Stracocruiser crashes that occurred in the years that followed.. the R-4360 and its complicated propellers had already shown a worrying propensity for failure and days after the nited Air Lines incident the US authorities ordered an immediate safety inspection of all Stratocruiser propellers on a 'before next flight' baSIS. l llinois. shortly after tratocruiser Clipper Southern Cross (NI030V) had taken off from Rio. An almost identical incident occurred again. Snags with engine spark plugs and the turbosuperchargers forced two other aircraft to return to base the following month. On 11 February 1950 a door blew out of a Pan American's Clipper M ayf!owel' (N 1031 V) on approach to Idlewild while a steward. but the R-4360 soon started to have a worrying effect on P A's time keeping. On 29 March 1951 tratocruiser Clipper United tates (NI032V) was on approach to Idlewild when parts of its number one propeller blade snapped off and the vibrations half-tore the engine out of its nacelle . Clipper Mayflower. but explicable incident. but on 21 December 19-+9 it suffered a major in-flight emergency. the number one engine then detached from the wing. on an outbound Right from Brazil Gust three months after Pan American's first fatal era h. With an airline like Pan American this is exactly what they received..

INCIDENTS AND ACCIDENTS Alm". All of the passengers and crew 011 board managed to escape from the aircraft but some drowned before the rescue teams could reach them.5 N74601 overran the runaway at Chicago-Midway Airport and crashed through the airport's boundary fence. 1001 one Su-atccruiaer Calhay crashed the 24 passengers On eh ristrn as Day in Ig54 to Prestwick service Airporl.704 hour. control of the damaged aircraft and made an emergency landing at Johnson Atoll. The accident was caused by the separation of an engine and propeller while the aircraft was cruising and this became just the first such incident to claim a Stratocruiser and the lives of all on beard. On 6 December 1952 Pan American Clipper Queen of the Pacific (N 90 947) came. On 5 August 19:. About 700 miles (1. The nose section."" Though G-ALS:" amassed tJilillPL it experienced cluring its fair-share of other mishaps and dose call". of'flight time since it entered BOA suffered its first accident on 24 p it 1951. 1956 and 1957. HEFIRS LOSS The first loss of a Stratocruiser on a passenger-carrying service came on 19 April 1952 when Pan American's N1039V Clippet· Good l lope crashed in Brazil. Northwest Airlines had a good safety record and only ever suffered one fatal accident: This involved N74608 Stratocmiser Tokyo which crashed into Puget ound after take-off from Seattle on 2 April 1956. The aircraft was returned to service after a complete rebuild from the nose section to the trailing edge of the wing. G-AK . L6km) out from Honolulu the stra tocruiser los its number four propeller and engine in quick succession.L suffered a nosewheel collapse after a heavy landing at Prestwick. on 12 December 1957.The aircraft had gear trouble yet again. but none of the nine crew and 43 passengers on board were injured. over the years a GCA approach . close to disaster over the Paci fic during a flight from San Francisco to Tokyo. in Scotland. On 13 June 1957 Northwest's N74607 uffered a fire in its engine nacelle and wheel well on landing at Idl wild. f one of the passengers were hurt but the aircraft was badly damaged. all at New York. The 1957 crash was never fully explained a§ the aircraft disappeared with no distress calls ever received. The crew managed to retain. Alaska" The aircraft crashed and was destroyed by fire but all the pa engers and crew escaped safely. The earlier loss of a propeller and an engine from N74608 on 25 January 1950 could have ended "in disaster. One of the propellers had failed to select reverse pitch on landing and the aircraft could not be braked on time. was damaged in a hydraulics fire at Detroit on 28 July 1957. when its entire undercarriage caught fire after two aborted take-off attempts. The Clipper Flying Eagle was involved in three separate serious incidents. The last serious incident to involve an airline operated itr atocr uiser came on 10 April 1959. On that date Pan American's Clipper Midnight un (N1033V) undershot while landing at Juneau. and these crashes did much to u nn er ve the Stra tocr u iser comrnumty. that poim the Su-atocrulser in December 9. Apart from thi incident Northwest's Stratocruisers suffered only minor incidents. I 74603. Vying with Northwest's N74608 for the title of 'unluckiest Stratocruiser' was Pan American's 103SV. On 10 May 1952 the Stratocruiser hit another aircraft while taxying at Idlewild. but the crew managed to make a safe emergency landing. The loss of this aircraft underlined how immature long89 range travel was. . Two years later it was involved in a major drama when jammed nose-gear forced a gear-up landing on a foam covered runway on 6 March 195-1-. and (om crew on board. Three ditchings in the Pacific by Pan American World Airways aircraft followed. All three incidents involved a combination of propeller and engine failures. but never with any loss of life. during 1955. nearly ten years after the Stratocruiser had entered service.t BOAC 0". A short while later another Northwest aircraft.1). suffered severe damage. some time after a routine position report had been made. killing had 1949.

.

7 THE GUppy CONVERSIONS .

NASA was immersed in the space race and was building bigger and better rockets in its efforts to beat the Russians in the manned space programme. finally. to replace its Super Guppies it had to build a whole new class of air transport. the bigger the rockets got the more difficult it was to transport them to where they needed to be.bus the additional aircraft for in the south of France.powered Super Guppy 201 s on regular routes around Europe picking up and delivering sub-assemblies for Airbus airliners. The unflattering Guppy namea guppy is a big. Airbus in 1982/83i. He had an available resource of aircraft. When the aircraft. one of the Airbus aircraft returned to its spiritual homeland and is still flying today. fat fish . and so Conroy and Mansdorf hit upon the idea of the Guppy to get them there. in the hands of NASA in the United States. partners by Airbus Industr ie were an Integ cal 10 anything else. they were absolutely irreplaceable. were flown by the French airline Aetorna.rr: The Airbug Super Guppy 201. Spain and Germany Ai. The last major user of the type was Airbus Industrie. they ["". but it stuck. which had assembled c. RIGI.ritirne on behalf of the consortium.was applied more in jest than BELOW: The four Super Guppies planernaker's buih by the Airbus site at Toulouse. in turn" an operating subsidiary of "UTA. which flew four turboprop. Conroy had the aeronautical engineering background to see that the Stratocruisers might be the perfect basis to produce an outsize freighter. However. Despite their age and their ever increasing cost of operations. and for decades they remained totally unique aircraft. In 1961 Conroy founded Aero Spacelines Inc. Remarkably.onj u.. operated operation. c!eveJoped and rebuilt specially by Aero Spacelines Inc. The Guppies were the only way to move outsized loads quickly. When Airbus was forced. Airbus 94 - ~--- ~ - ----- . Aerorrsaririme was..n Aviation.eo major in the UK.BOEING STRATOCRUISER The incredible Guppies were the creation of Jack Conroy and Lee Mansdorf Mansdorf had bought up many of the unwanted Stratoliners that came on the market from 1960 onwards.. proved to be a great success the Guppy name became a proud one.n ctjon with Tracer two pari of the European sub-assemblies final assembly For many years. but little demand for them.

THE GUPPY CONVERSIONS 95 .

This aircraft was also brokered by Lee t-.79m). deal. The Pregnant Guppy was not a true swing-tail conversion. The B.4Sm) wide stages of the Saturn IV moon rocket.bu 10 il was no t yc l this Nl024V. was the first of the Guppy conversions and it was built to carry the 40ft (12.177PG measured 127ft (38.. This wa The second production Model 377 and was delivered to Pan American as N1024V. had undertaken del ached by On Mark j nginccring logetll er w111]Ae to S pacclin es was a remarknb perf eel.6ft Bin (S. wbo in turn sold it to Nil. It and Iirne-eonsuming one. 10 leach ieve men l. around had been originally To build the Pregnant Guppy a section of fuselage measuring 1. vehicle. This was aircraft 15976.12m) was added to the base aircraft.. which later became N407Q with Transocean. for the rocket sections. B eca use the en 1ire tail section process could be an overly-difficu Pregnant Guppy'. 96 .MODEL B377PG PREGNANT GUPPY nOVE: The Pregnant Guppy I conversion.AKGJ of BOAC.1job was 10 carry 'he Douglas-built Rocketdync of the Saturn I launch designed..1>. A second Maciel 377 was also involved In the construction of the 377PG. allowing a little clearance. the associated Bm!rng F-] engine ASA cargo.. aft of the wing's trailing edge.. the former G.Iag other f 11..19m) long and l Sft (5. S-~ second and which it BELClW: The .lansdorf to ASI.. Aero 'pacelines used the fuselage of tratocruiser c/o 15924 as its main 'airframe of reference' for th Model 377PG. in 1961. Boeing sold the aircraft to Lee Mansdorf... N126AJ The Pregnant Guppy. indeed its entire tail section had to be detached for loading. as part of the PAA 70. as it became known. The upper fuselage was expanded to 19ft (5. 10" d th e nircraft. It was traded back Boeing. via /(.. 5-4 stage.."!h (. Later the B377l> • cacried the large.7m) long with a wingspan of 141ft 3il1 (43m).

The uper 5-1 V B was able 10 carr) the Douglas "'"1:" of the Saturn V moon rocket. the conversion was casted at approximately $1 million. In all..0001b (.the Very Pregnant Guppy or. The ~lIper Guppy retained the Pratt & Whitney T-34P9W engines that had been fitted to the YC-97Js . the former-Nazi rocket scientist \Verner Von Braun. (.178kg). ASI took a former Pan American Stratocrui er (Nl038V. The first Model 377SG [Jew on 31 Augus 1965 and it too played an integral role in"'the US space programme. BELOW: Closely followed by a Learjet been taken during Guppy third (or the' the Super Guppy's PG' as it was initiall) 23 chase plane. at Huntsville. the Super Guppy. The aircraft was flown to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The original R-4360 piston engines were retained. outside normal FAA regulations) on 10 July 1963. the . it had none of the interior systems and cabin fittings that a passenger airliner demanded. this photo may well have firs! Highr. The . The uper Guppy was intended to cruise faster than the Pregnant Guppy (up to 26Smphl +Znkm/h) with a heavier payload (40. allowing it to go ahead as quickly as possible. became on of the first passengers to fly in a Guppy.144kg). better Guppy .OOOlb (l.". The Pregnant Guppy weighed in at a massive 91. N940NS The success of the Model 377PG prompted Aero 'pacel:ines to build a bigger.argo Lift Trailer (CL T) and needed a special support system to remove the tail section.J-1.0001b (U. as it later became kOO\VTI. c/n 15938) and used major sections [rom the two ex-USAF YC-97J engine testbeds to produce the first Super Guppy. The Model J77PG remained in service for 17 years and during that time its ownership passed to American Jet Industries. MODEL B377SG SUPER GUPPY NI038V. The Pregnant Guppy was certified as a public aircraft (that is. "It' K.'eptember 1962 with jack Conroy and Clay Lacy at the controls.making it the first turboprop-powered Guppy. NASA made a direct application to the Air Force to make the two YC-97]s available for the conversion. Between 1962 and 1963 the Pregnant Guppy underwent Right tests at Edwards AFB. It had a maximum cruise speed of 2S0mph (402km/h) with a 29.361kg) more han a Stratoliner.000Ib/18. but only 3.li.l54kg) payl ad. While the 377PG was big. as it wou ld cut the trans porta tion time for a Saturn rocket section from up to 2:i days to about 18 hours. Soon after this the Pregnant Guppy name wa first coined and Aero Spacejjnes got the 'OK' from 1 A ~A to proceed witb the final structural work it required. Alabama .l77PG used its own dedicated loading sy tern.In this much revised form the Pregnant Guppy made its maiden flight on 19 .il"OOl 97 . N940NA. NA A was becoming increasingly eager to get the aircraft in to service..where the director of the Center. in August known) 1%5... The single Pregnant Guppy was dismantled in 1979 and its lower aft fuselage was used in the construction of the fourth Super Guppy 201 for Airbus. in 1g74 (as N 126AJ).

there was nothing small about the MiniGuppy. that did away with the removable tail arrangement of the Model 377PG. The Super Guppy made its maiden Aight from Van Nuys Airport. The Super Guppy continued to carry outsize I.43m) floor width restriction of the Pregnant Guppy and the Super Guppy. California Due to a particular aerodynamic quirk the Super Guppy's rear main gear usually left the ground before the nose wheels. Aero Spacelines approached the conversion in a more 'productioniseel' way.. Crib. through Lee Mansdorf. MODEL B377MG IVIINI-GUPPY N1037V. The baseline 'aircraft of referet:lce' was cln 15937.an 18ft (5. ABOI'E: The }\.li.47m) in length with a wingspan of 156ft Jin (47. NASA was in a hurry to get the Super Guppy into service as soon as possible and by 'March 1966 the aircraft was carrying leads for the space programme. Named The Spirit of Santa Barbara the Mini-Guppy made its first flight 0[1 24 May 1967. leading to a most unusual take-off run. the one. FAr. A section of the upper forward fuselage blew out. but the aircraft was able to land safely and was soon repaired. on 25 September 1965. Despite its name. The fuselage was stretched using two 'plugs' . with the experience of the first two aircraft to draw on. first wide-bodied Cuppy.25m) long. This did away with the 8ft (2. in 1963. Less than a month into the :fight test programme the Super Guppy experienced an in-flight structural failure.62m) and all the tail surfaces were enlarged." to be Fully fAA. Thanks to the new main Fuselage insert the Mini-Guppy had a constantsection cargo hold that was about 73ft (22.64m). The aircraft measured 141ft 3in (43m) in length and had a wingspan of 136ft 3in (47.OOOlb (38. measuring 132ft 1 Din (40.652 kg).556kg). maximum payload of 41.1201 b (18.c"1"ti~ed Ih~ earlier aircraft had operated was required under special government service rules..43m) section aft.64m). The diameter of the main cargo cabin was increased to 25ft (7. ASI built the. Instead. The in order Ior Aero Spacelines 10 undertake commercial work.1011sub-assemblies.ni-GuPPl' became the first of the Guppi.time N 1 OJ7V with Pan American. approval hire Mini-Guppy weighed in at 85.--------------------1~ BOEING STRATOCRUISER nr----------------- The ~uper Guppy COD version was very different to the Pregnant Guppy. It was the shortest of the Guppy conversions. while its maximum diameter was 18ft (5A8m). It was also fully pressurised. For a start it was a front-loader with a swingnose.. N422AU . The Mini-Guppy was a swing-tail conversion. AS r acquired it. ASI designed an entirely new fuselage to join two existing Stratocruiser nose and tail sections. via K."oti. empty.\ The Mini-Guppy was the third Guppy conversion and. which was already wondering how to solve the questions surrounding component transport for the nascent 98 -----------------~----------------------------------- .oads for a variety of customers throughout the 1960s and 1970s. 96m) aCl"OSS. carrying exhibition material to the Paris Air Show. chiefly carrying DC·IO and L. While in France the Mini-Guppy was demonstrated to Aerospatiale. it was bought by t\ ASA in 1979 and reregistered as N940NA.48rnl forward section and an 8ft (2.m. Two days later It made its first revenue-earning flight.. and had a. I t's cargo hold Floor measured 13 ft (3.

THE GUPPY CONVERSIONS

pan-European Airbus project. However, like its sisterships, the Mini-Guppy became a solution in search of a problem and operators found it difficult to keep the aircraft gainfully employed The Mini-Guppy had a succes ion of owners, passing from Aero SpaceLines to American Jet Industries, in 197+, then to Aero Union, in 1980, and then to Erickson Air

Aeovr. Guppy.

Aero

paeelines

once proposed leading

an 'auto air ferry' version of the ~Llniand

wit.h dri e-on ramps

to two decks inside the main fuselage,

passengers

carried in a third lower deck. 'tall.f\emwtJ1 Lirbsnn

BELOW: This is bow the Mini-Guppy Whcn a British Airways Helicopters carne to Aberdeen
t.qr:J:

appeared Chinook
10

during crashed

its days with Aero-Union.
into the N orth Sea in 1984, bad: loBo"ing, in February

the Mini-Guppy

A)' the remains

d,c following year.

K~nnclJI

Gibs(m

Crane, in 1988, It was the Mini-Guppy that was actually the star of the 1992 film niversal oldie», when it hove into view during the film's sweeping opening sequence - and made an impressive side-slip landing, In 1995 the aircraft was finally retired to the Erickson College of Aeronautics, at the Tillamook Naval Air 'tation I Iuseurn.

...

99

MODEL 377MGT MINI-GUPPY TURBINE
(GUPPY 101) sin 0001 U1A
(N4020)

One of the most important factors holding back the early Guppy conversions was the retention of their original R-4360 IJ..fasp Major piston engines. These were increasingly difficult to upport and costly to maintain, so Aero Spacelines began 0 look around for a more modern alternative. The ~vfGT used essen ially the ame airframe as the MiniGuppy. but fitted it with four Allison SOl-D22 turboprop, each rated at -+.680shp (3 ...J.91kW). The :;01 engine was a civil version of the T-56 powerplant used by the Lockheed P-3

Orion, and ASI even adopted the Orion's entire engine nacelle design to speed things up. The Hamilton Standard 5-lH60 propellers and spinners were taken from the C-130. The ]VIGT had an empty weight of 90,OOOIb (40.823kg) and a maximum payload of 62,9251b (28.542kg). The aircraft" was based on C-9? airframes and measured 135ft 6m (41.30m) in length. with a wingspan of 156ft 3ill (47. 64m). The Mini-Guppy Turbine made its maiden flight on 13 Marcb 1970, from A I's facility at Santa Barbara Airport, California. With the MGT. Aero 'pacel.ines at last had a truly commercial aircraft with which to go looking for business. Unfortunately. the sale example crashed during A.ight testing at Edwards AFB on 12 May 1970.

AERO

SPACELINES

MODEL 377SGT SUPER GUPPY TURBINE
(GUPPY 201) sin 0001 211AS, In 0002 N212AS, sin 0003 F-GDSG In 0004 F-GEAD F-BTGV Air-lHts Skylink 1 F-BPPA Airbus Skylink 2 Airbus Skylink 3 Airbus Skylink 4, 941NA

ABOVE: This artist's impression of rhe Super Guppy Tur bine was nm 100 wide of the mark, It is certainly less fanciful than some of ihe Aero Spaeelines proposals, such a. a six-engined Super Guppy and the astonishing Colossal Guppy based on a B·32 rmdagc with a 4Qft (12.2m) diameter Fuselape, -I"TO Sp~c.li".'

With the last and most successful of the Guppy conversions Aero Spacelines returned to the original Super Guppy hullform and added new Allison SOl-D22C turboprops. These were the same engines that had been fitted to the ill-fated MiniGuppy Turbine. Though it Looked similar, the shape of the main fuselage was different to that of the original Super Guppy thank to ASl's more refined production techniques. The SeT

used very few original parts - all taken from C-97s - and had a purpose-built main fuselage. Inside, the SGT had a roller cargo handling system, allowing loads to be moved around the aircraft before being locked into place. The SGT was the largest of the Guppies. with an available cargo volume of 39,000cu ft O.104m'). It had a fuselage diameter of ~Sft (7.62ml, with a 13ft (3.96m) wide Hoor. The cargo hold offered a single constant section of 25ft (7.62m) x 32ft (9.7 Sm). It was a swingnose Guppy, that used a special powered loading dolly once in Airbus service. Tbe Sup r Guppy Turbine weighed 99,500lb 100

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