Edwards Air Force Base, CA Cargo Plane Crash, May 1970

Guppy 101 Transport.jpg


Four persons were killed when a large cargo plane undergoing certification tests crashed and burned on takeoff at Edwards Air Force Base.
The aircraft, a "Guppy 101" owned by Aero Spacelines of Santa Barbara, crashed onto the main runway and burst into flames.
Among those killed were the vice president and the chief test pilot of the firm. The plane was undergoing Federal Aviation Administration tests.
Officials at Edwards said the cause of the crash, which occurred at about 8:30 a.m. yesterday, was not immediately determined.
The Guppy 101, also known as the "Mini-Guppy," was the smallest of a series of outsized aircraft buildt to carry missile components and other outsized air cargo.
The Air Force identified the victims as VAN H. SHEPARD, 45, of Santa Barbara, a vice president of the Aero Space firm and pilot of the test flight; HAROLD HANSEN, 44, of Goleta, co-pilot and chief test pilot for the firm; the flight engineer, TRAVIS B. HODGES, 44, of Santa Barbara, and WARREN WALKER, of San Diego, a test observer from the Convair plant at San Diego.
Dubbed the "Pregnant Guppy" because of its bulbous fuselage, the plane was developed by Aero Spacelines, while the firm was located in Van Nuys.
Much of the work was done at On Mark Engineering Co., 7929 Hayvenhurst Ave. The plane is a modification of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, a double-decker transport plane.
The first successful flight of the huge plane was made from Van Nuys Airport to Edwards Air Base in 1963.
The Guppy aircraft, modified from other cargoliners, are characterized by their extended midsections. They have been used to carry sections of the Saturn launch vehicle from Southern California to Cape Kennedy.

The Valley News Van Nuys California 1970-05-14