The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter was a long range heavy military cargo aircraft based on the B-29 Superfortress bomber. Design work began in 1942, with the prototype's first flight in 1944, and the production aircraft entering service in 1947. Between 1947 and 1958, 888 C-97s in several variants were built - 816 of them KC-97 tankers. C-97s served in the Berlin Airlift, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Some aircraft served as flying command posts for the Strategic Air Command, while others were modified for use in Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadrons (ARRS).
Development[edit | edit source]
The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter was developed towards the end of World War II by fitting an enlarged upper fuselage onto a lower fuselage and wings which were essentially the same as the B-50 Superfortress with the tail, wing, and engine layout being nearly identical. It was built before the death of Boeing president, Philip G. Johnson.
The prototype XC-97 was powered by the 2,200 hp (1,640 kW) Wright R-3350 engine, and was fitted with a built-in ramp and a hoist to help in the loading and unloading of supplies and personnel through the large clamshell-type doors in the belly. On January 9, 1945 the first prototype, piloted by Major Curtin L. Reinhardt, flew from Seattle to Washington, DC in 6 hours 4 minutes, an average speed of 383 mph (616 km/h) with 20,000 pounds (lb) of cargo, which was for its time rather impressive for such a large aircraft. Production models featured the 3500 hp (2,610 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp Major engine, the same engine as the B-50.
The C-97 had a useful payload of 35,000 lb (16 t) and could carry two normal trucks or light tanks. The C-97 was also the first mass produced air transport to feature cabin pressurization, which made long range missions somewhat more comfortable for the crew and passengers.
C-97s evacuated casualties during the Korean War. C-97s also participated in the airlift of relief materials to Uli airstrip (Biafra) during the Nigerian Civil War. Flying under the cover of darkness and at tree-level to evade radar, at least two C-97s were lost. The USAF Strategic Air Command operated C-97 Stratofreighters from 1949 through 1978. Early in its service life, it served as an airborne alternative SAC command post. While only 60 C-97 transports were built, 812 were built as the KC-97 Stratotanker variant for inflight refueling. The civilian derivative of the C-97 was the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, a very luxurious transoceanic air liner which featured a lower deck lounge and could be fitted with sleeper cabins.
One YC-97A was used in the Berlin Airlift during April 1949 operating for the 1st Strategic Support Squadron. It suffered a landing gear accident and by the time it was repaired, the Soviet Blockade was lifted.
Two C-97s are still airworthy at the present day, one operated as a privately-owned warbird, the other operated as a fire bomber in the United States.
Variants[edit | edit source]
- prototype, 3 built.
- cargo transport, 6 built.
- troop carrier, 3 built.
- fitted with 80 airliner-style seats, one in 1954 redesignated VC-97D, retired to MASDC 15 December, 1969.
- transport, 50 built.
- Three C-97As were converted into aerial refueling tankers with rear loading door removed and a flight refueling boom added. After the design was proven, they were converted back into the standard C-97A.
- medical evacuation transports, 14 C-97As converted during the Korean War (also designated MC-97).
- staff transport conversions, 1 YC-97A, 2 C-97As converted, plus the YC-97B. Later designated C-97D.
- KC-97Es converted to transports.
- aerial refueling tankers with rear loading doors permanently closed, 60 built.
- KC-97Fs converted to transports.
- 3800hp R-4360-59B engines and minor changes, 159 built.
- 135 KC-97Gs converted to transports.
- ELINT conversion of three KC-97Gs. 53-106 was operated by the CIA for covert ELINT operations in the West Berlin Air Corridor.
- dual-role aerial refueling tankers/cargo transportation aircraft. KC-97G models carried underwing fuel tanks. 592 built.
- Five KC-97Gs were used as ground instruction airframes.
- One aircraft was modified to test the underwing General Electric J47-GE-23 jet engines, and was later designated KC-97L.
- KC-97Gs converted for search and rescue operations, 22 converted.
- One KC-97F was experimentally converted into a hose-and-drogue refueling aircraft.
- KC-97G conversion with four 4250 kW Pratt & Whitney YT34-P-5 turboprops, dropped in favour of the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker
- KC-97Gs converted to troop transports.
- 81 KC-97Gs modified with two J47 turbojet engines on underwing pylons.
Operators[edit | edit source]
Military Operators[edit | edit source]
USAF Units[edit | edit source]
- 105th Air Transport Group - Stewart AFB, New York (1962-1969)
- 137th Air Transport Squadron
- 106th Air Transport Group - Suffolk County Airport, New York (-)
- 102d Air Transport Squadron
- 109th Air Transport Group - Schenectady Airport, New York (-)
- 139th Air Transport Squadron
- 111th Air Transport Group - NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania (-)
- 103d Air Transport Squadron
- 116th Air Transport Group - Dobbins ARB, Georgia (-)
- 128th Air Transport Squadron (Heavy)
- 118th Air Transport Group - Nashville International Airport, Tennessee (-)
- 105th Air Transport Squadron
- 126th Air Refueling Wing - O'Hare Airport, Illinois
- 133d Air Transport Wing - Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport, Minnesota (-)
- 109th Air Transport Squadron (Heavy)
- 137th Air Transport Group - Will Rogers World Airport, Oklahoma (-)
- 185th Air Transport Squadron
- 138th Air Transport Group - Tulsa International Airport, Oklahoma (-)
- 125th Air Transport Squadron
- 139th Air Transport Group - Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, Missouri (-)
- 146th Air Transport Wing - NAS Point Mugu, California (-)
- 115th Air Transport Squadron
- 151st Air Transport Wing - Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah (-)
- 191st Air Transport Squadron (Heavy)
- 157th Air Transport Group - Grenier Field, New Hampshire (-)
- 133d Air Transport Squadron
- 161st Air Transport Group - Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona (1966-1972)
- 197th Air Transport Squadron
- 162d Air Transport Wing - , Arizona (-)
- 195th Air Transport Squadron
- 164th Air Transport Group - Memphis International Airport, Tennessee (-)
- 155th Air Transport Squadron (Heavy)
- 165th Air Transport Group - Savannah International Airport, Georgia (-)
- 158th Air Transport Squadron (Heavy)
- 166th Air Transport Group - Greater Wilmington Airport, Delaware (-)
- 142d Air Transport Squadron
Civil Operators[edit | edit source]
Survivors[edit | edit source]
- C-97G 52-898 is on display at the Chanute Aerospace Museum (former Chanute AFB) in Rantoul, Illinois.Template:Coord
- C-97G 52-2718 "Angel of Deliverance" is under restoration to flight status by Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation.
- C-97G N227AR (the former USAF serial number 52-2764) is on display at the Don Q Inn, next to the (now closed) Dodgeville Municipal Airport outside Dodgeville, Wisconsin.Template:Coord
- C-97G 53-0272 is on display at the Milestones of Flight Museum, Fox Field, Lancaster, California.Template:Coord
- KC-97G N17KC is on display at the Minnesota Air Guard Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota.Template:Coord
- KC-97 Stratotanker Serial # 53-0335 (Cockpit Only) is on display at the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina
Specifications (C-97)[edit | edit source]
The Fairchild C-123 Provider is a twin-engined military transport aircraft produced by the US American manufacturer Fairchild Aircraft, developed by Chase Aircraft.
Propulsion 2 Radial Engines Engine Model Pratt & Whitney R-2800-99W Double Wasp Engine Power (each) 1715 kW 2300 hp
Speed 367 km/h 198 kts
Service Ceiling 8.839 m 29.000 ft Range 2.367 km 1.278 NM 1.471 mi.
Empty Weight 13.562 kg 30.000 lbs max. Takeoff Weight 27.216 kg 60.000 lbs
Wing Span 33,53 m 110,0 ft Wing Area 113,6 m² 1223 ft² Length 23,09 m 75,8 ft Height 10,39 m 34,1 ft
See also[edit | edit source]
Template:Portal Related development
- Aero Spacelines Mini Guppy
- Aero Spacelines Pregnant Guppy
- Aero Spacelines Super Guppy
- B-50 Superfortress
- Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
- KC-97 Stratotanker
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
References[edit | edit source]
- ASN Aviation Safety Database. Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- Error on call to Template:cite book: Parameter title must be specifiedAir Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947-1977. United States Air Force Historical Research Center, Office of Air Force History (1984). Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- C-97G AF Serial No. 52-898
- C-97G AF Serial No. 52-2626
- C-97G AF Serial No. 52-2718 "Angel of Deliverance"
- C-97G AF Serial No. 52-2764 showing civil registry N227AR
- C-97G AF Serial No. 53-0272
- KC-97G showing civil registry N17KC
[edit | edit source]
- How to Fly the C97. Air Force Magazine. Air Force Association (December 1946). Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- Airliners.net - The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- ANGEL OF DELIVERANCE - BOEING C-97G sn 52-2718. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- Goleta Air & Space Museum - Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter/Stratotanker. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- PhotoValet - Air Force Military Aircraft: Boeing C-97 and KC-97 Stratotanker/Stratofreighter images. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.
- Virtual Aircraft Museum - Boeing 367 / C-97. Retrieved on 27 April 2009.