The sign which accompanied the plane circa 2008. It reads
Early "flying gas station" refueled other aircraft in the sky
To create the huge C-97 cargo
plane, Boeing stuck a larger cylinder atop its WWII B-29 bomber fuselage,
creating the "double-bubble" look. After 1950, all models produced were
KC-97s, equipped with the new "flying boom" for aerial refueling. In that
role, the KC-97 greatly extended the range of bombers and fighters, and gave
the USAF a truly global reach.
The prop-driven KC-97 had increasing difficulty flying fast enough to refuel the new jet
bombers (like our B-47). To keep
above the jet's stall speed, the two connected planes had to "toboggan" (fly in
a shallow dive). This particular KC-97L was the first of many to have jet
engines added to boost its speed and make tobogganing unnecessary.
KC-97 Points of Interest
Also used for medical evacuation, search and rescue, airborne command post,
and the Berlin Airlift.
Could fly to temporary or makeshift bases to refuel airplanes, trucks, and
tanks on the ground.
KC-97s still had room for cargo or 63 troops. C-97s: 96 troops or 68,500
This Particular KC-97
Has its refueling "boom" plugged into our F-84F, simulating an aerial
connection. This is the only display of its type in the country.
Four 3,5000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360,
Two J47 jets of 5,970 lbs. thrust each
||153,000 lbs. loaded
This aircraft is on loan from the National
Museum of the United States Air Force
KC-97L Stratotanker #52-2697
This sign refers to the plane as a Stratotanker, although I've
only ever seen that moniker used with the KC-135 tanker.
Also, the sign states that the C-97 was based on the B-29, although I've
generally read that it was derived from the B-50. Of course, the B-50 is
basically a next-model version of the B-29 (the B-50 would probably have been
the B-29D, if it weren't for post-war politics; it was easier to justify a
"brand new bomber" instead of "just another WWII bomber"), but the C-97 used
the same Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major as the B-50.