The Pregnant Guppy was sold to American Jet Industries and registered N126AJ for scrap and it was finally scrapped at Van Nuys in 1979. I own some of the old Wardlow STC’s for the conversions to the Stinson SR-10F. He had a storied aircraft career from his time as a Thunderbolt pilot in WW2 through many commercial and military aviation projects all the way into the 1990s, including his time at Strato.  When Van Nuys traffic control realized that Conroy intended to take off, they notified police and fire departments to be on alert. 3.1 years ago. I’d like to talk to you sometime if you did any work on the Stinson project for Wardlow. The Super Guppy's most precious cargo was the lunar-excursion module Eagle and the command ship Columbia flown by Apollo … A large, wide-bodied cargo aircraft, the Super Guppy refers to either of two variants: the first Super Guppy (SG), or the second "Super Guppy Turbine" (SGT).The aircraft was a successor to the Pregnant Guppy which got its name from its resemblance to (surprise, surprise) a pregnant guppy. Retrieved … Retrieved October 5, 2006. The wing, engines, tail, nose, and cockpit were unchanged, but a new upper fuselage of 6 m diameter was added, giving the aircraft a "triple-bubble" appearance in front view. At first the Super Guppy supported NASA’s Gemini Program’s Titan II transportation requirements.Â The plane would position to Baltimore, Maryland, and pick up Titan II rocket stages and fly them to Cape Canaveral.Â Based on the success of the aircraft and his new contracts with NASA to also support the Apollo Program, John Conroy built a larger version of the aircraft with an even larger cargo hold.Â This would be based on a YC-97J, which he called the Super Guppy.Â In the end, he built 25 of the Super Guppy modifications to address the large demand from NASA for heavy lift of high cubic volume equipment and rocket components.Â Each aircraft was customized to the requirements of NASA’s upcoming space flight needs.Â The B377 could transport Apollo S/C and components, while the YC97J was specially built to carry S-IVB stages, instrument units, LEM adapters and F-1 engines.Â After negotiations, Conroy and NASA settled on a price of $16 a mile for flights of the larger Super Guppy. Conroy returned to California and mortgaged his house, used his personal savings and borrowed everything he could to build the plane on his own.Â Â He even sold his car to fund the project.Â It still wasn’t enough and he was able to find venture capital funding from William Ballon.Â Lacking funds to “do it right”, he coined an operating phrase that would carry him through the project, “Built to suit, draw to match, and paint to cover.”Â In essence, Aero Spacelines cut years off of the development time by just doing it, cobbling the parts together with 2×4 braces, hope and baling wire.Â What worked they drew into engineering plans after the fact.Â While risky, Conroy just had to hope that his prototype would fly. Those were the days when you could ride your bike into the airport and ride around looking at some really cool planes. It's a Plane: One man's obsession, it helped get us to the moon Tripp, Robert S. Spring 2002, American Heritage of Invention and Technology "Boeing 377 Pregnant Guppy" by Kenneth W. Shanaberger. A friend and I became regulars at the airport. The Pregnant Guppy (registered N1024V) was built from an ex-Pan Am airframe with a five-m section from an ex-British Overseas Airways Corporation aircraft (G-AKGJ) added immediately behind the wing. Thanks for your great site! B377PG Pregnant Guppy. After filing with the FAA for approval to fly the non-certified plane to Alabama (it was approved, but only for a route that was entirely over countryside from end to end), he borrowed the fuel and made the flight.Â Once in Alabama, the Pregnant Guppy was greeted with awe.Â It flew — somehow — and if Conroy could be believed, it was the answer to their dreams.Â Wernher von Braun, himself a rated pilot, asked to personally check it out as copilot for a test flight.Â Conroy agreed and made the best in flight sales pitch of his life, even shutting down two of the engines quietly while von Braun was flying.Â At that point, when von Braun realized that there was no question about the viability of the project.Â After landing Conroy had two challenges — one, getting a letter of intent; and the other begging NASA for enough fuel to take his plane back to California.
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