Aero Spacelines Super Guppy SGT 201
This aircraft owes its existence to the various projets of NASA in the 1960s, in particular the Apollo project to send man to the Moon. Transportation of stages of the world's largest rocket between California, where they manufactured and Cape Kennedy in Florida, from where they were launched was by barge and by ship. This was unsatisfactory for NASA (due to the problem of corrosion in the marine environment).
Lee Mansdorf, a Californian entrepreneur and Abraham Kaplan, an engineer came up with an unusual solution for this transportation problem.
In 1961, they were joined by Jack Conroy, a WWII veteran and a charismatic figure, and together the three men created Aero Spacelines.
Within a short period of time, they drew up an offer for a giant cargo aircraft that they presented to the head of NASA programmes, Werner von Braun in person. The latter expressed his interest, but did not offer an official agreement as many people simply did not believe that such an aircraft could fly. But the Pregnant Guppy performed her maiden flight in September 1962. The type was then developed as several different versions of different sizes, the largest of which was the Super Guppy SGT.
aeroscopia's Super Guppy:
The aircraft was painted in 2013 by STTS. The fuselage was first stripped of paint, then two new coats were applied: an anti-corrosion primer and a coat of grey, on which an additional layer of protective varnish was added.
It is worthy to note that the Super Guppy was never repainted during her operational life (with the exception of the Airbus Skylink coloured stripes). The fuselage had a natural aluminium finish and was polished once per year to keep its silver appearance.
SGT N°1 is preserved at the Bruntingthorpe museum in England, and N°3 on the Finkenwerder site (Hamburg), in Germany. N°4 was the subject of a special agreement: Airbus donated it to the European Space Agency, which swapped it with NASA in exchange for flight hours on the Space Shuttle (1997). NASA still uses this Guppy (2014) to transport oversized cargo. It is registered: N 941 NA.
Collection Ailes Anciennes Toulouse