The Boeing Model 377 Stratocruiser was a commercial transport development of the Model 367 (military C-97), and based on the improved-structure YC-97A with Pratt & Whitney R-4360 engines. The first flight of the prototype Model 377-10-19 was made on 8 July 1947, and it was delivered subsequently to Pan American World Airways, which was the biggest user of the Stratocruiser. There were a variety of interior configurations in the Models 377-10-26, -28, -29, -30, -32 accommodating from 55 to 112 passengers or, if equipped as a 'sleeper', with 28 upper- and lower-berth units, plus five seats. The main cabin was in the upper lobe of the 'double-bubble' fuselage, with a luxury lounge or cocktail bar seating 14 on the lower deck, reached via a spiral staircase.
Of the total of 55 that were built, Pan Am was operating 27 at one period. Of these, 10 were given additional fuel capacity to make them suitable for transatlantic operations, and were known as Super Stratocruisers. At a later date the entire fleet was equipped with General Electric CH-10 turbochargers, enabling each engine to develop an additional 37.3kW. British Overseas Airways Corporation also acquired a fleet of 17: only six of these were original purchases from Boeing, the remainder acquired from other airlines. After just over nine years' service with BOAC, 10 were sold to Transocean Airlines in the USA during 1958. Of these, four were converted to 117-passenger high-density seating, the remainder each having an additional 12 seats added to their standard 63- and 84-seat layouts. Before Stratocruisers disappeared from service during 1963, a few had been modified to a cargo configuration, but by far the strangest conversion resulted from those airframes acquired by Aero Spacelines Inc. Under the designation 377-PG, this company built an oversize cargo aircraft which it named 'Pregnant Guppy' and subsequently built other examples, using both Model 367 and 377 airframes, under variations of the Guppy name.
| MODEL||Boeing 377|
| ENGINE||4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial piston engines, 2610kW|
| Take-off weight||66134 kg||145801 lb|
| Empty weight||37875 kg||83501 lb|
| Wingspan||43.05 m||141 ft 3 in|
| Length||33.63 m||110 ft 4 in|
| Height||11.66 m||38 ft 3 in|
| Wing area||164.34 m2||1768.94 sq ft|
| Max. speed||604 km/h||375 mph|
| Cruise speed||547 km/h||340 mph|
| Ceiling||9755 m||32000 ft|
| Range||6759 km||4200 miles|
|Bruce R Nelson, 17.03.2015|
Now 76 but fond memories as an 18 yr old A3C I served over 1500 air hour as a light Arrendant and Loadmaster having completed at Est Palm Bch AFB in last clas for training C-97 air crew duty. I flew the entire South Pacific with the droning of Pratt Whitney 43602 endless droning. At 18 I accepted the noise/vibes as part of the job. Many yrs later I learned at Quinlan VA Hospital, Mt. Home, TN that I ended up suffering dramatic hearing loss. They, thank God, equipped me wit “Phontal bluetooh hearing aids. Quilan audiology believes my many hours of the 4360s caused the loss and if any fellow Airman has hearing losses worsening at my age they really should visit their closest VA audiologist that has first rate clinicians and state of art testing technology. You may have disability benefits. But my C-97 history is not lost (they should have employed ear plugs through the Flight Surgeon. I flew thru the atolls of the now infamous atomic test sites, Johnson, Enie Weenie, Bikini, Rotyonga, Kwajalien (my favorite., Guam, Wake, Midway (love this wacky goony birds!~) Siapam, Manila (where some of our flights took us on “secret” flights to, perhaps, Siagon during the “we weren’t at war era of Laos and Cambodia. I still have bad dreams of the young men I probably escorted into “dark” area. At 18 it was my job and I am still proud and honored I served in the 1501st ATW, 1201 ATS MATS/WESTAF out of Travis. Gob bless all the air crew mwmbwes I was privileged to fly with and serve.
|Walter H. Polk, 24.01.2015|
The Cadillac of the USAF from the 50s to the late 60s.Best aircraft for a flight engineer ever built. He had the catbird's seat !!!!!!!
|julie mcconihe, 22.10.2014|
In 1951, I, age 5, flew DC-SFO; then SFO-HAWAII. In Hawaii we got off the plane for about 2 hrs. while they changed the seats into sleeper bunks with privacy curtains - upper and lower berths. I will never forget leaving hawaii at midnight with a full moon as we took off for sydney, au. In the morning, we landed on a sandy palm tree beach to refuel and everyone got off and walked around in bathrobes. Where did we stop? Anyone remember the sleepers?
|Ralph Spilsbury, 28.07.2014|
In 1958 I left the tented Terminal at London Airport to fly to Kano Nigeria,on a BOAC 377 Stratocruiser,We landed at Algiers to refuel,for our own safety we were "arrested" and locked in the Terminal,due to a uprising.The Pilot bravely took off,despite nearby gunfire.I think I recall we reached Kano 3 days late
Essentially an airliner version of the B-50 bomber, the "Stratocruiser" enabled Boeing to remain competitive against Douglas' DC-6 and Lockheed's "Constellation" in the post-WW-II long-haul airliner market.
|Berge J, 29.04.2014|
I worked as an A&E mechanic on NWA's B377s at JFK. It was a great airplane and gave me a lot of overtime getting the repairs done. Presently am working on restoring a C-97G/L at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY.
|Howard Wahl, 09.01.2014|
A. Martin commented, 31.12.2011, "My father-in-law, BB Lien (Buckshot) rode as check pilot on one of these for Pan Am. 1st flight to Japan. Remember seeing news pic of the event. Anyone out there remember Buckshot?"
Very well. Buckshot and my dad, Milo Wahl, were great friends from their college days in Moorhead, MN. Buckshot convinced my dad to move to Seattle in 6/41 and work for PAWA, later PANAM, as a mechanic. Buckshot was a "bush pilot" in Alaska at the time, but moved to Seattle during the war. I have lots of memories of Buckshot to share. Hope this finds you.
|jay stapleton, 01.11.2013|
OOOPS!!! Acft. retained the 4 4360 big eng...jet pods was added...giving the KC97 six engs....now it was able to refuel the B-47,,B-52, and several fighters. with ease...
|jay stapleton, 01.11.2013|
several of the KC-97 are on display Wright Pat.Ohio,,,and at Az.bone yard....the USAF after 1962 install jet pods (jet eng.) on the acft. made a fine acft....I was based at Whiteman AFB, (MO) 1958 thru 1962...I have over 5 years on the acft. remember it very well....Anyone remember the 340th OMS..group/././.was in 8th AF HDG. at Barksdale...
|Matthew Sharp, 04.08.2013|
In 1957 or thereabouts, when I was about four and a half years old, my mother, my baby sister and I flew with BOAC from London Heathrow to Accra to join my father. The journey was made in several legs and I remember landing at Rome; it was hot and dark, the plane was apparently refueling, and for some reason we all had to disembark. The walk to the terminal, I remember as a tired and very thirsty toddler, seemed to go on forever, and I complained vociferously to mum. Later in the journey we encountered severe turbulence and a storm with big air pockets. The plane was tossed from side to side and up and down. I thoroughly enjoyed bouncing around in my seat and threw myself from side to side to increase the fun. Mother, on the other hand, was absolutely terrified, presumably along with most of the other adults on board. My sister was thrown out of her cot and had to be retrieved from the other side of the cabin, and thereafter the stewards had difficulty serving food because most of the crockery had been smashed. Children have a different perspective on events. Sadly I don't remember being allowed to go down the spiral staircase or explore the other areas of plane.
As a youngster 7, I flew from hawaii...twice in this aircraft. Left Honolulu headed for LA, got almost halfway, only to have to feather an engine. Erring on the side of caution we returned to honolulu for repairs while we remained on board. After an hour or more Of the mechanics working on the engine we took off again bound for LA. Again, near the halfway point the same engine failed for the same reason.but it was decided to divert to SF. flew the heck out of the remaining three and finally made it. Years later an aircraft of this type was lost on the same run
|L Yannotti, 17.04.2013|
My Air force Career started with the C-97 at Travis 57-58 then with Transocean Airlines on Wake Island 59-60 where I met my Wife and on to the Utah ANG in SLC 1961- 1973 when they went to the Bone Yard. Great Aircraft with 28 VDC Landing gear and little Hyd. Systems over 18 years Service
|loomas marshall, 21.01.2013|
does anyone remember what happened to the 377 which served lt.gen Old at march afb?? tail #8411?? it was so shinny it looked like sterling silver..
|barbara gregorio, 22.09.2012|
Many fine memories of "flying the cabin" as a flt. attd.
I was in the "Presidents Special" with Pan Am. We had 44 seats & 17 sleeping berths. Food was prepared by Maxims of Paris. Those "were the days". barb.g.
|Ed Hausafus, 15.08.2012|
I once "flew" it sitting in dad's lap who was PAA Capt for 30 some years. It was during a ferry flight from SFO to LAX. I loved that moment which I still remember at 71.
|Jerry Plumbley, 23.07.2012|
In late 1953 and into 1954 I flew in the KC97 as a Radio operator and we were refueling the B-47 Jet bomber.I was based at Barksdale AFB.
|Roger Breakspear, 14.06.2012|
One of my most memorable flights was as an unaccompanied minor on a BOAC B377 from Montego Bay, Jamaica to London, England in 1958 to attend school in the UK at age 14. The 377 was previously operated by Ghana Airways and their name was still visible under the overpainted fuselage. The runway in Kingston, Jamaica was too short for the 377 so we ferried to MBJ by DC3. The initial leg (MBJ to Nassau) was delayed 24 hours for 377 maintenance in MBJ so back home to try again the following day. We taxied out for takeoff from Kngston in the DC3 only to return to the terminal for a tailwheel control problem. We eventually left later that day on a BWIA Viscount for MBJ. I was stunned by the elegance of my first glimpse of the 377. We routed Montego Bay - Nassau - New York - Bermuda - Shannon - London, 27 hours including stops. The exhaust flame from those engines at night on the Atlantic crossing will forever be remembered. I learned from the cabin crew that this flight was the last for that 377 as it was being scrapped for metal fatigue! I was so starstruck with aviation from that experience that I later learned to fly as an instrument rated private pilot, owned my own Piper Cherokee and often took our family leisure flying from our home base in Jamaica and to various destinations in the Caribbean. My son got the flying bug too and is now captain on a B777 with Emirates Airlines in Dubai, all indirectly from my 377 flight! I think I still have my Speedbird Junior pilot's wings and Logbook from that B377 flight somewhere!
|Dan Keeslar, 02.06.2012|
I recall about 1970 I was able to climb inside one of these aircraft, in line to be dismantled at the airport at Mojave, California. I was amazed at its two decks, seats above and bunks and cargo bay below, and a little bar area under the tail, with windows wrapping around it. As they say: What a way to travel! Looking forward through the cockpit was like the Millennium Falcon of Star Wars, windows every direction. So sad that the Stratocruiser and others were just waiting in the desert to be cut up.
|Don Branom, 20.05.2012|
Did any of these survive to make it into a museum? Don't suppose there is even one in operation?
|John Carey, 21.03.2012|
My mother and I flew from LaGuardia, NY to Orly field in Paris France on the Stratocruiser, I was 12 years old in 1954. We had berths on that plane. I actually got to ride in the jump seat behind the captain up in the cockpit for about an hour before we began the descent into Paris. Many years later from Aug of 1968 until August of 1986 I worked for Western Airlines in San Diego California and saw the "Guppy" versions of this plane come to SAN and pick up saturn rocket sections and DC-10 fueslage sections that were built by General Dynamics to be flown to their final assembly plants. There was also a Turboprop conversion on some of them. It was amazing to watch the cockpit section of the Guppy swing open to the right and see them load that plane up. On takeoff it actually lifted off in a slightly nose low attitude before it would pitch nose up for climb. That flight in that plane was what inspired me to become a pilot and eventually have a 50 year aviation career. I am still flying as a contract corporate pilot and flight instructor. I still remember sitting in that seat behind the captain very clearly. What A view!
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