Now Arriving: The Guppy
Well, well, well..!
It’s been a few weeks since we last brought you a blog, but for a good few reasons. Firstly we needed to cool off a bit, releasing two blogs every week for nearly two months was drying the tank out slightly. That and mainly there hasn’t been much else happening.
However, everyone loaded up their social media and look in their post boxes this week to see that a very anticipated release was finally out.
The Aero Spacelines Guppy was an aircraft specifically designed to carry larger than normal loads. For a long while they were used to transport parts for rockets on behalf of NASA, however this aircraft was also adopted by Airbus as a means to transport wings and engines (amongst other things) from outsourced factories to their central production line in Toulouse. You could even go as far to say that the Guppy was the forefather of the Beluga.
Onto the example we see in Aviationtag form, F-BTGV. This aircraft was the first of the type to be built, with serial number 0001. It was one of four used by Airbus, two of which were built by UTA Industries in France after Airbus bought the right to produce the aircraft.
The aircraft was retired in 1996, where it was then restored as a museum exhibit at Bruntingthorpe. Since then it has undergone several stages of refurbishment and renovation. The aircraft was open to the public for many years, and standing in the huge space in the fuselage was a very eye opening experience.
It was with great sadness to see the owning group moving the Guppy on to new owners, and even sadder to see such a historic aircraft be cut up, however not all is lost. As well as owning tiny pieces of this bizarre aircraft, fortunately the cockpit from F-BTGV has been saved, it’s new home being the South Wales Aviation Museum.
The tags themselves have huge variation between them. Some are bare metal printed, some are painted and engraved. The paint varies in condition and colour as well, owing to the livery being reapplied with different shades of paint to that of the original. 15000 editions have been cut, one of the largest we’ve seen for a long time, but easily understandable considering the size of the Guppy.
It’s nice to see a much more unique aircraft in the Aviationtag range, particularly one responsible for the growth of what is now one of the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers.