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Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter (53-0200)


Arizona Air Guard Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter 53-0200 on approach to land at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on November 10, 1973. Its construction number is 16982 and was built as a KC-97G. It had been retired to MASDC as CH0188 on April 16, 1965. It was converted to a KC-97L and returned to service on March 5, 1970. The cockpit of this Stratotanker survives on display at the WW-II Flying Museum at Gillespie Field, California.


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ian mcdonell
Brilliant photo and great background information thanks Brian
Alan Brown
Thanks for both the photo and the history of this bird. It is good to know that this one lives on, even if it is just the flight deck.
Yvon Dionne
Great photo...thanks for the history as well.
KZ Bell
First Class press release grade photo, Thanks
As a civilian, never noticed the jet-pod out riggers on a C-97.
Can't even imagine pulling up behind this fuel stop to extend the mission.
SAC and MAC rule!
Ken Hardy
I spent many hours doing NDT inspection on KC-97's while working at Hayes Aircraft and going to school in the early to mid 60's. Hayes put the J47's on the wing which gave the 97 the speed to refuel the f-100's and other jet fighters who struggled to keep above stall speed when refueling behind the 97 with just props. The 97 used the same wing and tail structure as a B-29
gary messinetti
I believe that bad boy has four r-4360's, the largest compound complex piston engines ever made!
Rich Pelkowski
Thanks for the memories. KC-97 were still flying out of ORD (then northeast side of airport, near what was runway 22) in 1971 when I was working the Tower/TRACON.
David Seider
@Ken Hardy: Regarding your statement "The 97 used the same wing and tail structure as a B-29": As far as I can tell, the -97 was a sort-of bastardization of the B-29 and the B-50. You are correct, in that the lower fuselage lobe, the horizontal stabilizer, and the wing were essentially that of the B-29; in fact, the vertical stab and rudder were also from the B-29 for the first several -97 builds. For all subsequent builds, the vert stab was that of the -50. And, of course, the -97 had the P&W R-4360 Wasp Major engines of the -50.
Tom Martin
KC-97s when refueling B-52s had to “toboggan” (planned descent to achieve minimum airspeed required to refuel BUFFs). When the “mated airframes” reached the bottom of their air refueling “altitude block,” they had to separate. Still this primitive procedure provided the bombers with the capability for a “round trip” mission. God bless those willing to fight for their freedom, especially SAC’s combat aircrews.
Leon Kay
Thank you very much for a good photo and the very informative comment.5+
David Seider
I apologize, Ken... I didn't mean my comment to sound like a lecture. Unfortunately, my technical (read: engineering) writing comes off sounding like that sometimes.
Thank you for your info regarding your work at Hayes! I had previously thought that the addition of the J-47s was done "in-house" by either the Air Force or Boeing.
Richard Zahn
While serving in POL at Westover AFB MA, this was always the hardest to refuel because it took all the trucks in the fleet, 115/145 AvGas, JP-4, Oil and ADI. Spent many hours refueling them and always remember the elephant sounds from the brakes.
David Ingram
Caught several two day hops across the Atlantic with Creek Party ANG guys and was friends with aircrew of the spy versions at Wiesbaden. Great view from the Boomers position. Good airplane but not pretty. Landed at Pease after flying all day in fog so thick the bus and customs guy couldn't find us.
Gawd, that's pretty.
Bruce Evans
I grew up around these great airplanes. I was born in 1953 in Stephenville, NL, Canada (my Dad was a Cdn civilian employee on the base). Ernest Harmon AFB was there from the early '40's until 1966, part of the lend-lease pgm between USA and UK. I think I got addicted to airplane noises while still in the womb. Harmon Field was, for most of its existence, a combined MATS SAC base. It closed in '66, replaced by KC-135's out of Bangor, ME.
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