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Boeing C-97

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C-97 Stratofreighter
Boeing C97.jpg
Type Strategic freighter
Manufacturer Boeing
Maiden flight 1945
Introduced 1947
Retired 1978
Status Retired
Primary user United States Air Force
Produced 60
Developed from B-50 Superfortress
Variants KC-97 Stratotanker
Boeing 377 Stratocruiser
Aero Spacelines Super Guppy

The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter was a militarized Model 377 optimized for long range heavy cargo transport. The C-97 was based on the B-29 bomber.


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 11. 1945 the first prototype flew from Seattle to Washington, DC in 6 hours 4 minutes, an average speed of 383 mph (616 km/h) with 20,000 pounds 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 casulaties during the Korean War. The USAF Strategic Air Command operated C-97 Stratofreighters from 1949 through 1978. Early in its service life, it served as an airborn alternative SAC command post. Only 60 C-97 transport were built, from which it can be inferred that the design was not highly successful. But the KC-97 Stratotanker, designed for inflight refueling, proved quite popular. The civilian derivative of the C-97 was the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, a highly influential early transoceanic air liner.

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.



Military Operators


USAF Units[1]

The following USAF wing organizations flew the various KC-97 models at some time during their existence:

Air National Guard

Civil Operators


C-97G at the Milestones of Flight Museum, Fox Field, Lancaster, California
  • C-97G serial 52-2718 "Angel of Deliverance" is under restoration to flight status by Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. [1]

Specifications (C-97)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4:
  • Length: 110 ft 4 in (33.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 141 ft 3 in (43.1 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 3 in (11.7 m)
  • Wing area: 1,734 ft² (161.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 82,500 lb (37,410 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 120,000 lb (54,420 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 175,000 lb (79,370 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major radial engines, 3,500 hp (2,610 kW) each


See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

Related lists


  1. Rarenstein, Charles. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings: Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. ISBN 0-912799-12-9

External links

Template:Boeing support aircraft Template:Boeing model numbers

Template:USAF transports

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Boeing C-97".