Aircraft Type: Boeing KC-97G, S/N 53-0198, “Stratofreighter”
Mission: Aerial refueling tanker-transport
Number built: 880
Powerplant: Four Pratt & Whitney R-4360-59B Wasp Major air-cooled radial engines, 3,500 horsepower
Weight: Empty 82,490 pounds, Maximum takeoff weight 175,000 pounds
Dimensions: Wingspan 141’3″, Length 110’4″, Height 38’3″
Performance: Maximum speed 375 MPH, Cruising speed 297 MPH, Service Ceiling 30,000 feet, Range 1,350 miles
Significance of Type: The KC-97 closely resembles the B-29 bomber, the aircraft on which it was based. The KC-97 has the same wing, tail and engines as the B-29, but has a whale-like “double-bubble” fuselage.
Outfitted with a flying boom and loaded with fuel, the four engine, propeller driven aircraft could fly fast enough to match the minimum speed of a B-47 bomber. As the pioneer aircraft for aerial refueling, the 2nd Air Refueling Squadron at Hunter AFB, GA set a record by transferring 563,270 gallons of fuel to B-47′s in sixteen days in 1955.
About our KC-97G: This KC-97G was manufactured by Boeing in Seattle, Washington and delivered to the USAF on April 3, 1955. It was dropped from the inventory and delivered to the Strategic Air & Space Museum in September, 1964.