Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
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Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

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.

Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

 MODELBoeing 377
 ENGINE4 x Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial piston engines, 2610kW
    Take-off weight66134 kg145801 lb
    Empty weight37875 kg83501 lb
    Wingspan43.05 m141 ft 3 in
    Length33.63 m110 ft 4 in
    Height11.66 m38 ft 3 in
    Wing area164.34 m21768.94 sq ft
    Max. speed604 km/h375 mph
    Cruise speed547 km/h340 mph
    Ceiling9755 m32000 ft
    Range6759 km4200 miles

Comments1-20 21-40 41-60
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!

Jack Selby, 26.02.2012

As a retired TWA Capt.retired Airforce Col.Corp chief pilot,general aviation pilot. working on 40000hrs I must say that some of the most enjoyable flying was in the stratacruser/KC97/C97ACFGH and even a couple of flights in Jack Conroy's first Guppy. We who flew the 97's called them The old girls..To many stories to tell....

A. Martin, 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?

Jane Kemp, 18.09.2011

On 19th October 1948 I flew with my parents from San Fransisco to Auckland on a Pan Am aircraft. I remember stopping in Fiji to refuel and arrived at Whenuapai airport, Auckland. Do you have any details of this flight i.e. number of passengers and fuel stops. I am now 70 and in the process of writing my memories for my grandchildren.
Jane Kemp

Tony Patteson, 12.06.2011

As a schoolboy I flew by BOAC in the Srtat from Heathrow to Accra, I think an 18 hour flight, via Rome and Kano. Plenty of time to get up to the flight deck. This plane was replaced by the Britannia, knocking 6 hours off the journey, but it was never the same as the Strat.

Bruce Arnold, 04.06.2011

Actually the C-97 is built on the B-50 airframe. The B-50 is like the Silverplate B-29 of the 509Th atomic bomb wing, with enhancements, so they are very similar except the B-50 and C-97 have a higher vertical stabilizer.

Joel Bader, 04.06.2011

I would have liked to flown in one of those aircraft as well, but I also believe Vern Baisden's comment. Robert Serling once commented that Boeing's reputation before its line of jetliners was practically nil; as an example, he cited the Stratocruiser as a "plumber's nightmare". On the other hand, the Guppy conversions played a valuable role in transporting rocket boosters and (correct me if I'm wrong) the Lunar Module which would take the Apollo astronauts to the moon. And the parts for the first of the Airbus airliners were ferried to their final assembly points in Guppy transports. I imagine many a Boeing staffer cracked a joke over this situation of events!

Joe Sutton, 29.05.2011

About 10 days after the Korean conflict began, I was flown from Vance AFB, OK to Travis AFB, Ca by B-25. Then loaded onto a Pan AM Stratocruiser headed for Tokyo. We RON'd at Hickem in Hawaii, refueled at Wake and then into Heneda. I was airlifed into Taegue Korea within a few days. One of the greatest flying experiences I ever had in 22 years of Air Force service.

Del Borgens, 06.04.2011

On December 31,1952, my wife and I flew from Spokane, WA to Washington D.C. on a Boeing Stratocruser operated by Northwest Airlines. This was one day after we were married. The flight attendant detected that we were newlyweds and mored our seat from the main cabin to the lower lounge. As this was an overnight flight, she roped off the lounge and put a sign on it "closed". What a flight. We had our own private room. We will never forget it.

G C Hill, 22.03.2011

Stationed at Travis A.F.B. assigned to 1501 F.L.M.S. did postflight/turnaround(no.3 engine)on C-97s from Oct '57 to some time in '60 then worked on C-124s till seperation in '61 (dirty job)

Vern Baisden, 17.03.2011

I worked on the Boeing 377 while working for PAA at Idlewild
(now JFK). Was there during 1956-57. We called the P&W 4360
engine, "corncob", because of the 4 rows of 7 cylinders.
Engines had dual ignition, so, there were 56 sparkplugs. It was usually an 8 hr. shift, just to change thr sparkplugs.
One of our mechanics, while filling the water system, burst a line because of excessive pressure. Water began pouring out of the belly drain holes. When we entered the lower lounge the rug was floating on 4 inches of water.

Carl, 07.03.2011

After attending USAF aircraft mechanics school in Texas 1958-1959 I was stationed in columbus ohio at Lockbourn AFB with the 301st bombardment group, Stratigic Air Command (SAC) and assigned as ground crew on a KC97 in-flight re-fueler until my discharge in 1962. You have'nt lived until you've changed a generator or starter motor, on the flight line, in the dead of winter, with the wind driven snow blowing so hard the stand you were working on (wheels locked) had to be strapped to that 4360 engine so you would'nt blow away. Well, that was not the hard part! Counting the 11 twists per inch on the safty wire as you tried, with frozen hands, to weave the wire through the tiny holes in the bolt heads with one inch of clearence, in a snow storm, while the crew chief (Mac) sat in the heated cabin, drunk, and watched. Aaaa, the KC97, fond memories. The KC97 had giant fuel tanks(av gas 115-145, and JP4)inside, upstairs and below, forward and aft, Mac loved to go aft and smoke, Don't worry Carl, when thier full thier LESS likely to explode. Yep, fond memories. Load it up with a 100 cartons of Marlbourghs, Paul Malls and Camels in the Azores for 86 cents a carton and sell them in London for $4.10 a carton...yep, fond memories.

Joyce Marshall Caldwell, 19.02.2011

My dad worked for Pan Am for 36 years. I have a wonderful picture of him in front of the Stratocruiser when we were stationed on Wake Island in the early 50s. He met every inbound flight that stopped on Wake to refuel, and the passenger manifest included anyone who flew across the Pacific in those days--names like Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe (newlyweds), Douglas MacArthur, etc. The Stratocruiser was indeed a beautiful airplane, and we have many fond memories of flights between SFO and Wake, especially of sitting in the downstairs lounge (as young kids) and having the purser fix us "drinks" with maraschino cherries on top! I would love to hear the sound of those four engines again!!

peter Horsley, 21.11.2010

In September 1951 i flew from London to New York by Stratocruiser via Gander, by DC6B to San Fransisco, and then Stratocruiser to Sydney, Australia.
I remember flying through snowstorms on the first leg, violent thunderstorms over the Rocky mountains in the DC6B. We had to return to SanFransisco after an oil leak appeared in one engine which spread over the wing and then stopped in Hawaii. We then stopped overnight on Canton island while a new generator was flown in. The trip took about 48hours to complete. A wonderful experience for a 23yr old. My companion on the flight, a New Zealnd pilot complained that the pilot of the Statocruiser must have been a fighter pilot during the war!!

Tom Webber, 08.11.2010

as an operations agent for eal at mdw in the late 50's i worked with the interchange nw mspmdw/ea mdwmia.
one day we started trying to get flt info when arrival was more than an hour late from miami.dispatch/flt info was not as good back then. it was 3hrs late before we got good info about headwinds and storm avoidance. it arrived 4hrs late. regular sked was about an hour slower than connies and dc7's.

Phil C., 07.11.2010

As a schoolboy flying between Bermuda and London I was priveliged to have seven flights in various B.O.A.C. Srats.
Usually because of headwinds we made stops in such places as Gander in Newfoundland, Goose Bay in Labrador, even once in Montreal, and a couple of times in Iceland. Once I even saw Greenland between London & Bermuda. Compared to today's jets they were slow, but oh so comfortable and spacious. It was the way to go.

Bob L, 02.11.2010

I was in the 157th MATS Air National Guard NH. Worked on the C-97 for 2 years before we received C124's. Was in the Engine shop. 1964-1968. Loved this airplane. Been quite a few places in them..

Buz Allen, 10.10.2010

I ate lunch inside a KC-97 yesterday that has been converted into a fine restaurant at the Colorado Springs airport KCOS. The Airplane Restaurant, way cool if love old Boeings!! I flew a KC-135 for four and a half the USAF all over S.E.Asia mainly re-fueling F-4 Phantoms.

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