Among the largest aircraft on display at EAA AirVenture 2023 is the NASA Super Guppy. The last of its kind to remain in service for NASA, its recent missions have involved hauling heat shields for the Artemis project.RELATED STORY:NASA's specialized cargo plane 'Super Guppy' on display at AirVenture @globalair.com NASA Super Guppy ???? #airventure #osh23 #oshkosh23 #airventure2023 #superguppy #nasasuperguppy ? Map 7 - Ponder andamp; Slip.stream
On Monday, its crew rotated the forward fuselage section, opening it up to give a look inside the belly of the beast. Assembled in 1982 by Airbus and acquired by the U.S. in 1997, with a cockpit and design based on 1940s technology, the monster aircraft relies on cables and pulleys for its flight controls rather than hydraulics and electronics.
It's bloodline is that of aviation royalty when it comes to the biggest birds in the sky. The B-29 Superfortress begat the Boeing Stratocruiser that ultimately begat the Pregnant Guppy followed by the Super Guppy.The plane is based in El Paso, Texas and its crew is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Powered by the same engines (P3 T-56) and propellers as the C-130 and with a dry weight of 103,000 pounds, pilot Brett Pugsley, one of five who fly the massive plane, said takes a bit more space to get it airborne than to land it, as it has rather strong stopping power.
He noted that there can be a bit of a lag in the input controls to maneuver the mega-cargo plane.
"Probably the most interesting airplane I've ever flown," he said. "She flies how she looks."