Ultra-Large Aircraft, 1940–1970

The Development of Guppy and Expanded Fuselage Transports

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About the Book

In 1962, a unique transport aircraft was built from the parts of 27 Boeing B-377 airliners to provide NASA a means of transporting rocket boosters. With an interior the size of a gymnasium, “The Pregnant Guppy” was the first of six enormous cargo planes built by Aero Spacelines and two built by Union de Transport Aeriens. More than half a century later, the last Super Guppy is still in active service with NASA and the design concept has been applied to next-generation transports.
This comprehensive history of expanded fuselage aircraft begins in the 1940s with the military’s need for a long-range transport. The author examines the development of competing designs by Boeing, Convair and Douglas, and the many challenges and catastrophic failures. Behind-the-scenes maneuvers of financiers, corporate raiders, mobsters and other nefarious characters provide an inside look at aviation development from the drawing board to the scrap yard.

About the Author(s)

William Patrick Dean served in the U.S. Air Force and spent three decades with United Airlines. He has published numerous articles and photographed more than 10,000 aircraft. He lives in Henderson, Nevada.

Bibliographic Details

William Patrick Dean
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 312
Bibliographic Info: 199 photos, appendices, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6503-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3015-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part I: Early Years: Consolidated-Vultee
1. Convair B-36 Peacemaker 7
2. XC-99 Behemoth 21
3. YB-60 and Advanced XC-99 27
4. Fairchild Stratos M-534 34
Part II: Douglas Globemaster Series
5. C-74 Globemaster I 39
6. C-124 Globemaster II 65
7. Turboprop Transports 86
Part III: Douglas Aircraft and Aviation Traders Limited
8. DC-4 (C-54)/ATL-98 Carvair 95
Part IV: Boeing Strato Series and Aero Spacelines
9. B-29 and B-50 Superfortress 125
10. C-97 and B-377 Stratocruiser Series 131
11. Aero Spacelines 150
12. B-377PG Pregnant Guppy 159
13. B-377SG Super Guppy 188
14. B-377MG Mini Guppy 216
15. MGT-101 Mini Guppy Turbine 232
16. SGT-201 Super Guppy Turbine 238
Epilogue 273
Appendices
A. Aircraft Size Comparison 275
B. Aircraft Volume and Payload Comparison 275
C. Convair B-36 and ­Sub-Model Aircraft Statistics 276
D. Douglas C-124 Globemaster II Production Blocks 276
E. Boeing B-29, B-50, C-97, B-377 and ASI Guppy Production 277
F. Aero Spacelines B-377s and C-97 Conversion Airframes 277
G. Guppy Aircraft Built by Aero Spacelines and UTA (Airbus) 280
H. B-377 and SGT Guppy Operational Flights Partial List 280
Glossary
A. Abbreviations 287
B. IATA and FAA Airport Codes 289
Chapter Notes 290
Bibliography 294
Index 299

Book Reviews & Awards

“This is a history of ‘big fat’ transport aircraft…. an important contribution to the history of aviation and a fine treatment of these enormous, ungainly looking airplanes. A worthwhile read for all interested in transport aircraft and the history of aviation. …recommended”—Choice; “An easy read that is packed with information. The author has taken what could easily be a very dry subject and delved into and presented the details in a way that kept this reader engaged throughout the work. Each design is presented as a chapter and can easily be read as an independent article without losing context of the overall story. Definitely a book for your reference library.”—American Aviation Historical Society Flightline.