Photo courtesy of the Long Beach Airport. Super Guppy Turbine, pictured in Huntsville, AL at Marshall Space Flight Center.
UPDATE | The "Super Guppy Turbine" departed at 7:50AM on Wednesday, December 10.
Tuesday, December 9 | The "Super Guppy Turbine" will now be departing the LGB at 10:00AM on Wednesday, December 10. Long Beach residents who catch the strange bird in flight are asked to hashtag any pictures or videos with #SuperGuppyLGB across all social media platforms.
Monday, December 8 | Long Beach Airport (LGB) will open its runways for the landing of an unusual sight today, a bulbous aircraft known as the “Super Guppy Turbine” or, more technically, the B-377-SGT. The Super Guppy will land around 12:00PM today, stay at LGB for one day and will depart at approximately 9:00AM on Tuesday. The plane is NASA-operated and used to transport large cargo, such as components for the International Space Station. Noise levels should not significantly increase during the landing and take-off.
The “Super Guppy Turbine” will be making its way to Long Beach from El Paso, Texas, returning as one of the largest planes to ever use LGB’s runways. The last time a Super Guppy landed in Long Beach was to deliver parts for the Apollo moon missions, according to the LGB.
This enormous aircraft, with its Beluga-like head and massive cargo area has a diameter of 25 feet, an overall cargo volume of 49,750 cubic feet and a total height of 48 feet and six inches, ten feet taller than the Boeing 377 on which the Super Guppy is based. What’s even more unusual about this aircraft is the nose opens on hinges that swing open as wide as 110 degrees to allow for cargo such as smaller aircraft or parts for the International Space Station to be loaded.
The Discovery Channel will be at LGB to shoot footage of the Super Guppy for an upcoming television special, while those who are lucky enough to see the arrival are encouraged to use the hashtag #SuperGuppyLGB across all social media platforms.