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Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

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Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
American Overseas "Flagship Denmark" Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
Type Propeller airliners
Manufacturer Boeing
Maiden flight 1947-07-08
Primary users Pan Am
Number built 56
Developed from C-97 Stratofreighter
Variants Pregnant Guppy
Super Guppy
Mini Guppy

The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was the civilian version of the C-97 Stratofreighter, which in turn was ulitmately derived from the B-29 Superfortress. It first flew on July 8, 1947.

Despite serious design flaws and a marginal service record,[1] the Stratocruiser was one of the great post-war propeller airliners. Extremely complex and expensive, only 56 were built. It continued in mainline service until 1960, when it had been made obsolete by the coming of the Boeing 707 and other first generation jetliners. The 377 was the flagship of the Pan Am and BOAC fleets from delivery in 1949 until the arrival of the 707 and de Havilland Comet respectively. Its spiral staircase, which led to a lower-deck lounge, inspired the one on the 747. It was one of the few airliners with a double-decker seating arrangement (another was the French Breguet Deux-Ponts) until the 747, however some airlines had lower-level lounges on their L-1011 Tristar aircraft.



Safety record

  • This aircraft type suffered 13 hull-loss accidents between 1951 and 1970 with a total of 140 fatalities. The worst single accident occurred on April 29, 1952; separation of the number two engine and propeller from Pan Am Flight 202 caused it to crash in the jungle near Carolina, Brazil, killing all forty-one passengers and nine crew.
  • The Romance of the Skies, Pan Am flight 7, left San Francisco on November 8, 1957, headed for Hawaii with 38 passengers and 6 crew. The 377 suffered a mechanical failure that may have been sabotage, and crashed around 5:25pm in the Pacific. There were no survivors. There is speculation that two passengers had a motive to bring the plane down. Eugene Crosthwaite, a 46 year old purser, had shown blasting powder to a relative days prior to the flight, and had cut a stepdaughter from his will only 1 hour before the flight. William Payne, an ex-Navy demolitions expert, had taken out large insurance policies on himself just before the flight, and had a $10,000 debt he was desperate to pay off. The insurance investigator later suspected him of never being on the plane. His wife received at least $125,000 in payouts.

Aero Spacelines/Guppys

In the 1960s, Aero Spacelines modified several Stratocruisers to make oversized transports dubbed "Guppys". The first of these was the Pregnant Guppy, followed by the Super Guppy, and finally the Mini Guppy.

Specifications (377)

File:Nw b377 cutaway view.jpg
The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, 1949 promotion by Northwest Airlines

Data from Airliners of the World[2]

General characteristics

  • Capacity: Up to 100 passengers on main deck plus 14 in lower deck lounge; typical seating for 63 or 84 passengers or 28 berthed and five seated passengers.
  • Length: 110 ft 4 in (33.63 m)
  • Wingspan: 141 ft 3 in (43.05 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 3 in (11.66 m)
  • Wing area: 1769 ft² (164.3 m²)
  • Empty weight: 83,500 lb (37,876 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 148,000 lb (67,133 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-4360-B6 Wasp Major 28-cylinder radial engines four-bladed propellers, 3,500 hp (2,610 kW) each


  • Max cruise: 340 mph (547 km/h)


    1. Ernest K. Gann's Flying Circus: Lady with a past
    2. Wilson, Stewart (1999). Airliners of the World. Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications. ISBN 1-875671-44-7.

    See also

    Related development

    Comparable aircraft

    Designation sequence

    345 (B-29) - 367 - 377 - 400 - 464 - 701
    345 (B-39)
    345 (B-44)
    345 (B-50)

    Template:Boeing airliners

    Template:Boeing model numbers

    de:Boeing B-377 es:Boeing 377 fr:Boeing 377 Stratocruiser it:Boeing 377 Stratocruiser he:בואינג 377 סטרטוקרוזר ja:ボーイング377 no:Boeing 377 Stratocruiser pt:Boeing 377 ru:Boeing 377 Stratocruiser vi:Boeing 377 Stratocruiser

    This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
    It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing 377 Stratocruiser".