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Boeing KC-97 Stratofreighter

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The Aircraft

In 1942, Boeing began a design study to produce a transport version of the B-29 Superfortress.  The USAAF expressed interest and Boeing began work on the Model 367, designated the XC-97 by the USAAF.  The XC-97 first flew on 15 November 1944.  The transport version could carry 134 troops or a 53,000 lb payload.

In-flight refueling trials were conducted using a modified C-97 with production of KC-97E purpose-built refueling aircraft beginning in 1951.

The KC-97L had a General Electric J47-GE-23 turbojet added beneath each wing to increase takeoff weight and improve rendezvous  capability with jet aircraft.  Time to climb was also improved significantly. 

Production of the KC-97 ended in 1956 with close to 900 being built.  Several KC-97s were used to convert to different variants of the Pregnant Guppy.

Specifications (KC-97G)





Type: Transport/Tanker
Engines: four 3,500 hp (2610 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-4360-59B radials
Model 367: Boeing model number
C-97: U.S. Air Force transport
KC-97: U.S. Air Force tanker

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Kenneth W Shanaberger 2000 - 2010