by Mark & Judy
We were just starting out for our walk when we heard the engines….
I don’t know about you, but when Mark hears “the engines”, we stop whatever we’re doing and search the sky.
This one was flying fairly low over our house…. It was dancing in and out of broken low clouds.
I couldn’t really make it out… And I’m not sure that Mark did at first either, but then he got it, and he got all excited.
I could see it then, but I kept saying, “Are you sure? Are there any left flying? You’d better check it out before I post anything.”
We talked about it on our whole walk. When we got home we did a little research, and Mark was right.
We looked it up on FlightAware and sure enough, it took off from Moffett Field about 10 minutes before we walked out the door, and it flew right over our house on it’s way from NASA back to Texas where it lives.
And it could be the only one still flying.
So what plane is that? Do you know?
It’s a Super Guppy. NASA’s Super Guppy to be exact.
The first Super Guppy was based on the fuselage of a Boeing Stratocruiser… only they fattened it out for increased cargo room. This strange looking plane is one in a line of guppies. I remember Mark talking about the Pregnant Guppy. Apparently only one of those was ever built. It was used for transporting rocket stages of the Gemini program in the 1960s. Later Supper Guppies were built that were larger than the original.
There are Super Guppies on display in various areas around the world, but as I said, as far as we know, this is the only one left flying.
To quote NASA:
“The new Super Guppy is the latest version in a long line of Guppy cargo aircraft used by NASA. Guppy aircraft were used in several past space programs, including Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab, to transport spacecraft components. The first Guppy aircraft was developed in 1962, designed specifically for NASA operations by Aero Spacelines of California.
The Super Guppy, designated 377SG-201, has a cargo compartment that is 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 111 feet long. It can carry a maximum payload of more than 26 tons. The aircraft has unique hinged nose that can open more than 200 degrees, allowing large pieces of cargo to be loaded and unloaded from the front.”
Pretty impressive statistics. Glad we didn’t procrastinate on our walk! We might never have seen her fly.
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Judy and Mark
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