Description of MINI GUPPY
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The Mini Guppy is a model of cargo aircraft that was built shortly after the Super Guppies in the 1970s. It is designed for the transport of oversized cargo and can carry up to 65 tons on take-off.
When Unexcelled Corporation bought Aero Spacelines in 1967, it needed a fleet of six cargo planes capable of carrying large loads. Two aircrafts were built.
- The first was the B-377MG Mini Guppy, also known as the Spirit of Santa Barbara.
It was built from an old airliner, the Stratrocruiser. The fuselage was lengthened by a few metres but the cockpit and the tail were retained. The wingspan was also larger, reaching 47 metres. Loading was done from the rear using a complex device. The first flight took place in 1967 and Paris was one of the first destinations, due to the Paris Air Show. The aircraft was capable of transporting Concorde parts and a few years later it contributed to the acquisition of Super Guppies by Airbus.
However, the Mini Guppy was not profitable enough and was sold to American Jet Industries in 1974. It then passed through different hands, was used to transport helicopters by Erickson Sky Crane before being sold to the Tillamook Naval Air Station Museum, where it has been since 1995.
Finally, it appeared in a few films such as Universal Soldier.
- The second model was the B-377MGT Mini Guppy Turbine.
The loading was no longer done at the rear but at the front, like the models that followed (Super Guppy Turbine). It took off in 1970 but was destroyed in an accident the same year, which affected the commercialization of the Mini Guppy.