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A while back I blogged about a visit to Bruntingthorpe; a visit that brought me face to face with the Super Guppy. This bizarre bird has to be seen to be believed. And if you want to become a believer, you have to move fast.
With the upcoming closure of Bruntingthorpe, the classic aircraft on display there face a highly uncertain future.
The Guppies were built by Aero spacelines, originally by adapting Boeing Stratocruisers, to handle extraordinary loads. The vast cargo bay could accommodate the complete third stage of a Saturn V rocket. Airbus purchased two to transport aircraft components, allowing Boeing to proudly boast that "every Airbus is delivered by a Boeing".
Sadly, it's increasingly likely that this incredible machine will be scrapped. Having been involved in the support and rescue of classic aircraft - and especially the rare oddballs like this - my sincere condolences go to the dedicated team who've worked tirelessly and at great personal expense to restore her.
Edit: since writing this, Super Guppy F-BTGV has indeed been broken up for scrap. There's some small consolation in the fact that the nose section is to be saved and restored for display at South Wales Aviation Museum, but it feels uncomfortably like the preserved head of an extinct species.
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