Building the SGT
This page is a mix of pictures taken during the various stages of construction of the 377SGT
line of transports. Some photos were shot documenting the construction of the prototype SGT,
while others were taken while Aero Spacelines was preparing the SGT components for shipment to
France for the construction of Nos. 3 and 4.
In this series of drawings, the modifications needed to turn a 377/C-97 into either the MGT or
SGT are easily seen. First the fuselage stations must be split and re-numbered to account for
the lengthening of the fuselage. Notice the numbered fuselage sections in the 377/C-97 drawing.
In the drawing of the SGT, it is noted that the original 377/C-97 nose section is pressurized
while the upper forward section of the fuselage is left un-pressurized.
(62K JPG image)
In this drawing of the wing modifications, notice the center section was to be lengthened from
the original 8 ft. to 23 ft. increasing the wing span from the original 141 ft. to over 156 ft.
The engine and nacelle changes are also noted, but don't appear to be accurate shapes, just
representations of the changes planned.
(40K JPG image)
A 58 inch section was added to the bottom of the vertical stabilizer with a 48 inch tip
extention. The original rudder was retained but a new larger dorsal fin was added to compensate
for the large increase in fuselage size.
The horizontal stabilizer was probably the least modified of any part of the original 377/C-97
parts used. The MGT and SGT used the original stabilizers and elevators, with the same 48 inch
tip extentions added to both for additional pitch stability in flight.
(67K JPG image)
With the success Airbus Industries was having with the Super Guppys in Europe, they
tabled an offer to ASI with several options; to buy the original 377SG Super Guppy outright as
is; re-engined with the same Allison turboprops the two SGTs used; with the cockpit fully
pressurized; with full certification. Or, the possiblity of building either one or two
additional SGT transports depending on NASA's decision to purchase the original Super Guppy.
Officials at Aero Spacelined responded that the proposal to re-engine the Super Guppy with the
Allisons wasn't practical because the Super Guppy weighed 15,000 lbs. more than the SGT and had
more aerodynamic drag and needed the extra 1,500 HP per engine to overcome the additional
weight and drag. Pressurizing the cockpit section wouldn't be too difficult, but full
certification was out of the question. NASA's decision to purchase the original Super Guppy
would soon make all of these questions moot.
In the agreement finally worked out, Aero Spacelines was to act as a sub-contractor in preparing
the 377/C-97 components for the final manufacture and assembly of two additional SGT aircraft in
France. Seen in this drawing the yellow highlight sections are the tasks to be done by ASI, and
the remainder to be done by Airbus Industrie.
(37K JPG image)
In this picture we see the original 377/C-97 cockpit section in the process of being mated to
the enlarged fuselage. Notice the still exposed bulkheads and stringers. The uppermost portion
of the scaffolding is about 4 stories high. This photo was taken inside the ASI hanger at Santa
(58K JPG image)
Here we can see the rear view of the opening nose section of the fuselage. Parts of the
scaffolding will later be rearranged for final fitting of the nose section to the rear portion
of the fuselage. Note the engineering model in the foreground. It appears to be made up of all
of the fuselage bulkheads in scale size and placement. By comparing it to the size of the risers
on the staircase, it's about 5 to 6 feet long, slightly smaller than the R/C model built by Dan
(52K JPG image)
This is the control panel for the hydraulic nose locking pins just inside the forward access
door. The nosewheel drive unit has not been installed yet. The doorway on the left side of the
photo is the cockpit access door with pressure bulkhead. Notice that the ladder up to the
cockpit is still missing.
(45K JPG image)
Seen here is the tail group jigged into place for final joining to the fuselage. The rudder has
been mounted, but the elevators have been left off for this stage of construction. Also notice
that the upper and lower portions of the fuselage are awaiting the final section of aluminum
(50K JPG image)
The fuselage received the greatest lengthening behind the wing. This picture shows part of the
lower fuselage section with the wing fairing being constructed. Notice also the numerous
fuselage bulkheads behind the fairing section of the fuselage, leaning against the wall.
(38K JPG image)
One of the major sub-assemblies ASI agreed to supply for the construction of SGT Nos. 3 and 4
was the cockpit section with the pressure bulkhead installed. Notice the filler bulkheads
applied to the outside of the nose. These were needed to support the aluminium skin at the nose/
fuselage fillet. Also seen in the background under the nose section is the wing/fuselage
sub-assembly. This sub-assembly housed the wing center section and center fuel tank.
(41K JPG image)
The nose section is being lowered onto a "Guppy" pallet for shipment to France. The nose is
basically an empty shell at this point. Note the empty radar housing in the nose. The nosegear
wheel well has been re-worked to accept a modified Boeing 707 nosegear. Bulkheads have also
been added on the upper part of the nose including provisions for the upper cockpit windows.
(53K JPG image)
Workmen are attaching the nose section to the "Guppy" pallet via a hard point built into the
nosegear wheel well. Until the nose was firmly attached, this was a precarious operation to say
the least. Notice the ropes used to steady the nose, tied to the fuselage formers.
(44K JPG image)
The 377/C-97 cockpit section has been readied for shipping, and is being loaded onto SGT No. 1,
to be flown to France. The nose section is being lowered onto the loading platform by a
crane (not seen here). Once the nose is on the platform, it will be pulled in and secured for
(43K JPG image)
The nose is seen here in France after a successful crossing of the Atlantic. Unloading the nose
section in France was essentially a reverse process of the loading operation. There was nothing
small about the Guppys. Everything needed to be "outsized".
(34K JPG image)
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Copyright © 1997-2001 Daren Savage
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