" ah- RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR - ah RRRRRRRRRRR [four engines takes a lot of breath] RRRRRRRRR..."

"you guys give Green Stamps?"

Airliner "It's got a downstairs- but no wings!"

 Airliner: Boeing- 377 Strato-Cruiser

And now a really ugly Cold War airplane. If "necessity is the mother of invention" than this is one of her more unattractive offspring!

Range, the distance your bombers and fighters could travel to a target and return, was everything. [This is also one of the reasons intercontinental ballistic missiles proved much more practical in throwing H-bombs at your enemies. No deposit, no return]
What we see in the gorgeous Academy Model painting at the top is the KC-135 Strato-Tanker. 

In the first years after World War II, Boeing's "Cadillac of bombers", the B-29 Superfortress saw prodigious service. She was the only bomber capable of lugging the very heavy, and few, atomic bombs that S.A.C. had. During the Korean War she saw a repeat of her service as a conventional bomber. Boeing took the basic wings, engines and tail of the B-29 and injected a bunch of steroids into the fuselage. This inflated Superfortress morphed into the C-97 military transport and the Boeing 377 Strato-Cruiser civilian airliner.
The C-97 morphed into the KC-135 tanker [after a night of hard drinking]. The Strato-Tanker had the modern "flying boom" innovation in the rear which an operator could guide into the opened receptacle of the waiting... hey, this is a family blog!
OK kids, look at the picture and you'll get the idea.

The KC-135 Strato-Tanker was a WWII airplane living in the Jet-Age. She roared along at full throttle while her trailing [er... suitors] fluttered about at near stall speeds. Often the KC-135 pilot would go into a shallow dive to gain more speed. Over 80 aircraft were even fitted with two outboard jet engines as seen in the painting.
The Stratotanker served all the way into the 1970's gradually being replaced by her faster all jet, and less dumpy, sister the Boeing 707 conversion with the same name. The last piston driven Strato-Tankers were phased out of Air National Guard service after they started wearing pasties and too much make-up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

KC-97 StratoFREIGHTER; KC-135 Stratotanker. Wikipedia is wrong in this instance. See http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=374. The Air Force doesn't identically nickname two different types of aircraft in service at the same time.