The Pregnant, Mini, and Super Guppies


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For many years the airplanes with the largest volume in the world were the Pregnant and Super Guppies. Designed by Jack Conroy in the sixties. They were outsized modifications of Boeing Stratocruisers for carrying rocket stages in support of the effort to put a man on the moon. They also proved useful for the transportation of various oversized cargos, particularly wide-body airliner subcomponents. They were operated by Aero Spacelines and based at the Santa Barbara Airport. Later, Airbus Industrie bought one and built three Super Guppy 201s to transport airframe components to their final assembly facility at Tolouse, France.


Pregnant Guppy, Mini-Guppy, and Super Guppy, Santa Barbara, March 1972 The Pregnant Guppy N1024V, Mini-Guppy N1037V, and Super Guppy N1038V at the Santa Barbara Airport in March of 1972. This photograph was taken by my sister, Debbie Lockett, when she was a student at U.C.S.B.

Pregnant Guppy N1024V, and Mini-Guppy N1037V, Santa Barbara, April 12, 1972 The Pregnant Guppy N1024V and Mini-Guppy N1037V at the Santa Barbara Airport on April 12, 1972.

Pregnant Guppy N1024V and Mini-Guppy N1037V, Santa Barbara, March 1972 The Pregnant Guppy and Mini-Guppy at the Santa Barbara Airport on April 12, 1972.

Pregnant Guppy, Santa Barbara, June 1972 The Pregnant Guppy next to the Aero Spacelines hangar at the Santa Barbara Airport in June of 1972. Photographer: Debbie Lockett.

Mini-Guppy, Santa Barbara, January 1973 The Mini-Guppy next to the Aero Spacelines hangar at the Santa Barbara Airport in January of 1973.

Mini-Guppy and Super Guppy 201, Santa Barbara, March 1973 The Mini-Guppy and the second Super Guppy 201, registered N212AS and wearing the colors of Aero Spacelines at the Santa Barbara Airport in March of 1973. This and the next photo are more of Debbie's pictures. Photographer: Debbie Lockett.

Super Guppy 201, Santa Barbara, March 1973 Super Guppy N212AS at the Santa Barbara Airport in March of 1973. Photographer: Debbie Lockett.

Super Guppy and the Pregnant Guppy, Santa Barbara, February 1974 The original Super Guppy and the Pregnant Guppy at the Santa Barbara Airport in February of 1974. The tail of the Mini-Guppy is just visible between the Pregnant Guppy and the hangar.

Pregnant Guppy N1024V, Santa Barbara, June 16, 1974 The Pregnant Guppy at the Santa Barbara Airport on June 16, 1974.

Super Guppy, Santa Barbara, August 14, 1977 The first Super Guppy. at the Santa Barbara Airport on August 14, 1977. This was the day after the first launch of the Space Shuttle Enterprise from the 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. Photographer: Brian Lockett.

Super Guppy, Santa Barbara, August 14, 1977 The Super Guppy dwarfs a pair of Convair airliners on the Aero Spacelines flightline on August 14, 1977.

Super Guppy N1038V, Edwards Air Force Base, November 12, 1978 The Super Guppy N1038V at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on November 12, 1978.

Super Guppy, Edwards AFB, November 12, 1978 The Super Guppy at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on November 12, 1978.

Super Guppy, Edwards AFB, November 12, 1978 Profile of the Super Guppy at the Edwards Air Force Base open house on November 12, 1978.

Wing root section and fuselage frames for a Super Guppy 201, Santa Barbara, October 12, 1980 Wing root section and fuselage frames for a Super Guppy 201 in the Aero Spacelines hangar at the Santa Barbara Airport on October 12, 1980. The cockpit of a Boeing C-97 is just visible in the background.

Super Guppy 201 F-BPPA, Santa Barbara, August 1981 The second Super Guppy 201, now registered F-BPPA and wearing the colors of Aeromaritime sits on the Aero Spacelines ramp in August 1981. It will take Super Guppy components back to Toulouse, France.

Super Guppy 201, Santa Barbara, 1981 Super Guppy 201 F-BPPA

Super Guppy, Pt. Mugu NWC, October 16, 1982 The Super Guppy was acquired by NASA and given the NASA blue stripe. It put on an appearance at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 16, 1982.

Super Guppy, Pt. Mugu NWC, October 16, 1982 The large external hinges of the swinging nose of the Super Guppy are evident in this view, taken at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 16, 1982.

Super Guppy, Pt. Mugu NWC, October 16, 1982 Super Guppy at the Pt. Mugu Naval Weapons Center airshow on October 16, 1982.

Super Guppy N940NA, Edwards Air Force Base, October 23, 1982 Super Guppy N940NA at Edwards Air Force Base on October 23, 1982

Super Guppy, Pima Air and Space Museum, November 26, 1997 After a few years on celebrity row in AMARC, the Super Guppy is now in the possession of the Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson, Arizona. This photo was taken on November 26, 1997.

Super Guppy N941NA at Travis AFB NASA's Super Guppy, N941NA at Travis AFB.

Super Guppy N941NA NASA's Super Guppy, N941NA flew from its home base at Ellington Field, Texas to Edwards Air Force Base on April 14, 2005.

Super Guppy N941NA

Super Guppy N941NA

Pima Air and Space Museum, Arizona, March 12, 2009

The Super Guppy was modified from a turbo-prop equipped YC-97J to carry large Saturn rocket stages for the Apollo Program.

Panorama size: 896 megapixels (29197 x 30719 pixels)
Input images: 160 (10 columns by 16 rows)
Field of view: 120.6 degrees wide by 126.9 degrees high (top=69.1, bottom=-57.9)

Super Guppy, Pima Air and Space Museum, Arizona, March 12, 2009

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011

Super Guppy N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA departed from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base with a load of two Northrop T-38 Talons bound for Holloman Air Force Base.

Super Guppy N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA

Art Prints This photo is available as prints as large as eleven inches by sixteen inches.

Super Guppy N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA

Super Guppy N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA

Super Guppy N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, March 8, 2011 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 15, 2012

NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 15, 2012 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA is based at Ellington Field, Texas.

NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 15, 2012 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA.

NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 15, 2012 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA.

NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, April 15, 2012 NASA Aero Spacelines 377SGT Super Guppy Turbine N941NA.

Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA on approach to land at Mesa Gateway Airport on October 21, 2016. It was delivering the heat shield for an Orion spacecraft.

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

NASA Super Guppy N941NA, Mesa Gateway Airport, October 21, 2016 NASA Super Guppy N941NA

Canadair Cl-44-O, Los Angeles, December 28, 1971 The Cl-44-O N447T was a similar modification of the Canadair Cl-44 turboprop airliner. This photo was taken at Los Angeles International Airport on December 28, 1971 when the Cl-44-O was wearing the colors of Transmeridian Air Cargo.

Conroy Turboprop DC-3 Conversions Conroy Aircraft of Santa Barbara, the developer of the Aero Spacelines Guppy oversized cargo planes, also produced a series of turboprop DC-3 conversions.


Guppy Incidents:

Super Guppy hull failure The Super Guppy made an emergency landing at Edwards Air Force Base in late September 1965 after the foretop of the fuselage failed causing a 20-foot section of skin to peel off and the front section to cave in. Photo courtesy AFFTC/HO.

Mini-Guppy 101 Crash, May 12, 1970 The Mini Guppy, N111AS crashed on its twelfth flight next to the main runway at Edwards Air Force Base on May 12, 1970. Shortly after take-off, it suffered a rudder control failure. Photo 1711-70 AFFTC 13 MAY 1970 courtesy AFFTC/HO.

Mini-Guppy 101 Crash, May 12, 1970 The four man crew was killed as the Mini-Guppy cartwheeled off the runway. Photo 1712-70 AFFTC 13 MAY 1970 courtesy AFFTC/HO.

The complete story of the crash can be found on Daren Savage's All About Guppies website.


The history and specifications of the Guppies are well covered on Daren Savage's " All About Guppys" page. Daren Savage's All About Guppys page


Send a message to Brian.

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