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 John Schmidt (dc8schmidt@twc.com) | Home > 
Stratocruiser, Queen of the props 11-17
In 1945, the C-97 freighter, derived from the WWII B-29, took flight. The heavy freighter, and later tanker, served the military for decades, with over 800 built.
A civilian adaptation was developed by 1947, and 50 aircraft were authorized for production without benefit of any orders. Given the failure of the Stratoliner, it was a bold move.
However, Pan American promptly ordered 20, introducing the airliner in April, 1949. Although a maintenance headache, the luxurious Stratocruiser was a serious competitive advantage, in effect forcing United and American to match the airliner on competitive routes.
The Stratocruiser became the emblem of Pan Am's world-wide dominance in the 1950s, and, though homely by comparison to the sleek Constellations and DC-6s, it has remained the symbol of that elegant and exciting period of air travel.
Album by John Schmidt. 1 - 68 of 68 Total. 11717 Visits.
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Enlarge photo 1
Boeing Stratocruiser #1 KCF
An excellent post card view of the prototype B-377 Stratocruiser provided by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 2
American Overseas Stratocruiser #1
The splendid American Overseas issue of their new Stratocruiser.  The AOA's were distinguished by their square lower deck windows, with round on the upper deck. Sadly, the Stratocruisers only operated a year before AOA was acquired by Pan Am.

Enlarge photo 3
American Overseas Stratocruiser #2
Aviation World issued this nice in flight card, also showing N90941. This along with the other AOA'S Stratocruisers became a Pan American aircraft.

Enlarge photo 4
American Overseas Stratocruiser #3
Another view of N90941, the Flagship Great Britain, on take off. The aircraft was written off after a belly landing at Tokyo Haneda, operating for Pan American. Card issued by Flug Foto Schait

Enlarge photo 5
American Overseas Stratocruiser #4
A nice Shannon airport issue showing AOA's N90944.

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American Overseas Stratocruiser #6 KCF
World Great Airlines has produced some outstanding cards of historical aircraft. This great image provided by Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 7
American Overseas Stratocruiser #7 KCF
A very nice in flight view of AOA's Flagship Great Britain by a modern German publisher, courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 8
American Overseas Stratocruiser #8 KCF
A final view of N90941 on a Frontier Productions issue.

Enlarge photo 9
British Overseas Stratocruiser #1
BOAC was a significant operator of the Stratocruiser, operating a total of 12, including the 5 originally delivered to United.
The card is a Salmon Issue.

Enlarge photo 10
British Overseas Stratocruiser #2
This is the BOAC issue showing the same view, in it's delivery colors.

Enlarge photo 11
British Overseas Stratocruiser Int #1KCF
An exquisite BOAC issue of the Stratocruiser interior. Another rare item shared by Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 12
British Overseas Stratocruiser #3
This is an excellent BOAC issue, which has no text on the back.

Enlarge photo 13
British Overseas Stratocruiser #8
A Salmon issue, featuring the previous image. Part of a nice series describing BOAC Airliners, and their destinations.

Enlarge photo 14
British Overseas Stratocruiser #4
An outstanding BOAC issue which is found both with a description of the aircraft, and a generic back

Enlarge photo 15
British Overseas Stratocruiser #5
This is a somewhat less common BOAC issue of G AKGH,  the "Caledonia", delivered in November of 1949. In 1958 it became a Transocean airliner.

Enlarge photo 16
British Overseas Stratocruiser #6
The last BOAC issue of their Stratocruiser, part of a set of 6 different BOAC airliners.

Enlarge photo 17
British Overseas Stratocruiser #11
This is the vintage Enell card, using the same image as the B&W BOAC issue.

Enlarge photo 18
British Overseas Stratocruiser #10
A V Fry also used this image for their excellent Continental sized card.

Enlarge photo 19
British Overseas Stratocruiser #12 KCF
A recent World Great Airlines issue.

Enlarge photo 20
British Overseas Stratocruiser #7
This is another Salmon issue, showing the BOAC Stratocruiser in later colors.

Enlarge photo 21
British Overseas Stratocruiser #9
An outstanding vintage Valentine's card showing G ALSD in its final colors. Delivered in 1959, it operated 10 years before delivery to Transocean.

Enlarge photo 22
Ghana Stratocruiser
BOAC got additional use out of the obsolete Stratocruisers by leasing them to affiliates such as Ghana Airways. This Ghana issue was produced by BOAC.

Enlarge photo 23
Northwest Stratocruiser #1
This is the first pre-delivery postcard of a Northwest Stratocruiser, shown with round windows and preconstruction tail. Card was released in 1947.

Enlarge photo 24
Northwest Stratocruiser #10
This is actually a small ink blotter also issued in 1947

Enlarge photo 25
Northwest Stratocruiser Int KCF
A rare pre delivery card, showing the lower level lounge, complete with gentleman lighting the lady's cigarette. Issued in late 1946 or 1947, this card kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 26
Northwest Stratocruiser #2
The second pre-delivery Stratocruiser card, issued in 1948 has changed to square windows and has the correct tail assembly. It also shows the first delivery registration, But, the Stratocruiser did not fly in the pre delivery colors.

Enlarge photo 27
Northwest Stratocruiser #3
In 1949, Northwest issued, in my view, the most outstanding card of the Stratocruiser, which fully describes the aircraft's features on the back.

Enlarge photo 28
Northwest Stratocruiser #5
In 1950, the "Finest... Fastest", postcard was issued, becoming one of the most common airline issues. Reissued twice in 1953, the card appears with 3 different logos on the back. I'm reasonably certain there were other re-issues.

Enlarge photo 29
Northwest Stratocruiser #4
The "Finest... Largest"  card appeared on 1952 issues, but may possibly be on 1951 as well.

Enlarge photo 30
Northwest Stratocruiser #6
This great "portrait" view of N74607 is a Milwaukee Airport issue from 1956.

Enlarge photo 31
Northwest Stratocruiser #7
This excellent vintage Enell card features N74601, The Stratocruiser Manila in flight. It is the same aircraft shown on the Northwest Issues.

Enlarge photo 32
Northwest Stratocruiser #9TH
This awesome oversized Seattle Airport card was provided by Terry Hale. There is also a much less impressive standard sized card of this image.

Enlarge photo 33
Northwest Stratocruiser #11 KCF
One last look a the Northwest Stratocruiser from Frontier Productions by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 34
Pan Am Stratocruiser #23 KCF
A comparatively recent Frontier Productions issue of a pre-delivery Stratocruiser image. Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 35
Pan Am Stratocruiser #12
A pre-delivery card of Pan American's Stratocruiser, my copy was used for correspondence from Pan Am, with hand written date 1948

Enlarge photo 36
Pan Am Stratocruiser #2
A splendid Pan Am issue from the very early 1950s,showing N1025V, the 1st Stratocruiser delivered to Pan Am. Like most new Pan Am airliners, it was christened Clipper America.

Enlarge photo 37
Pan Am Stratocruiser #3
This slightly less common version of the previous card has a different text. Not certain which came first.

Enlarge photo 38
Pan Am Stratocruiser #7
This iconic postcard really provides a view of America at the beginning of the 1950s. Pan Am represented America to the world, much like the Statue.

Enlarge photo 39
Pan Am Stratocruiser #19 KCF
Another iconic card is this Pan Am Stratocruiser flying over Windsor Castle. A vintage British publisher card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 40
Pan Am Stratocruiser #20 KCF
A very nice Frontier Productions issue of N1025V, which was actually the first B-377 delivered to Pan Am in January 1949.

Enlarge photo 41
Pan Am Stratocruiser #21 KCF
A super up close and personal image of the prototype Stratocruiser which was constructed in 1947, and ultimately delivered to Pan Am in 1950. It became the Clipper Nightingale in service with Pan Am. Delivered to RANSA of Venezuela in 1961, operating until 1966.
Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 42
Pan Am Stratocruiser #4
This great and very well used image of the Stratocruiser first appeared on a 1949 Pan Am issue. At least 2 more printings occurred in 1951

Enlarge photo 43
Pan Am Stratocruiser #5
Later printings (estimated 1953-1956)reflected an updated Pan Am Livery

Enlarge photo 44
Pan Am Stratocruiser #6
Finally, the least common version of the card, issued approximately 1960 features the aircraft in the "Jet Age" livery. The back reflects that Stratocruiser services extended only to Alaska and Canada

Enlarge photo 45
Pan Am Stratocruiser #18 KCF
A vintage Japanese publisher card of the Pan Am Stratocruiser in its second livery. Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 46
Pan Am Stratocruiser #9
An excellent FliteLine issue of N1023V, which was also Christened Clipper America, like most new aircraft additions. It later became the Clipper Golden Gate and was written off in the Philippines in 1958.

Enlarge photo 47
Pan Am Stratocruiser #26 KCF
Another nice image of the Stratocruiser in original livery by Frontier Productions. By courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu

Enlarge photo 48
Pan Am Stratocruiser #1
This Harry Baumannn issue of the Pan Am Stratocruiser was most likely issued around 1955.

Enlarge photo 49
Pan Am Stratocruiser #8
Editions PI of France issued this outstanding in flight card of N1030V, The Clipper Southern Cross. It ultimately went to the Israel Air Force in 1962

Enlarge photo 50
Pan Am Stratocruiser #10
This is an absolutely stunning view of N90948, an Ex AOA aircraft, flying over the Hawaiian Islands. A vintage Japanese publisher.

Enlarge photo 51
Pan Am Stratocruiser #11
A very nice Enell issue of the Clipper Southern Cross in Flight.

Enlarge photo 52
Pan Am Stratocruiser #22 KCF
An excellent view of one of Pan Am's ex AOA Stratocruisers, on a Frontier Productions issue.

Enlarge photo 53
Pan Am Stratocruiser #14
A Honolulu Airport issue, in the original livery. Posted in 1952.

Enlarge photo 54
Pan Am Stratocruiser #15
A later Honolulu airport issue from approximately 1955.

Enlarge photo 55
Pan Am Stratocruiser #16
This Buenos Aires Airport issue, featuring the Stratocruiser is surprisingly common.

Enlarge photo 56
Pan Am Stratocruiser #13
This is a nice IAWP issue featuring the Pan Am Stratocruiser in its final livery, at an Alaskan location.

Enlarge photo 57
Pan Am Stratocruiser Farewell #1 KCF
An absolutely splendid post card view of the Changing of the guard. This image perfectly symbolizes the end of the exotic and elegant era of the props, and the beginning of the age of the jets. Card by courtesy of Kuo-Ching Fu.

Enlarge photo 58
S A S Stratocruiser
This is the rare Scandinavian issue of their Stratocruiser, 4 of which were ordered, but not delivered. They were ultimately placed in service by BOAC.

Enlarge photo 59
Transocean Stratocruiser
Certainly the most beautiful of the Stratocruisers was Transocean. N404Q, shown on this FliteLine issue, operated on the Atlantic from New York to Dublin and London Gatwick in 1958 and 59, during the last years of this great airline's existence.
The airliner was originally a BOAC aircraft.

Enlarge photo 60
United Stratocruiser #1
United took delivery of their first Stratocruiser in September of 1949, primarily for Hawaii services, as suggested by this United issue over Diamond Head.

Enlarge photo 61
United Stratocruiser #4
A nice card from United showing passengers deplaning at Honolulu around 1951. The image shows the square window configuration used on Northwest, but lower deck windows were round.

Enlarge photo 62
United Stratocruiser #2
This is an excellent United issue of N31225, which operated for 5 years before sale to BOAC.

Enlarge photo 63
United Stratocruiser Interior
This United issue is a reminder that air travel was once an event, not a battle. The Stratocruisers had Hawaiian themed lounges on the lower deck.

Enlarge photo 64
United Stratocruiser #3
The best image of a United Stratocruiser in flight is this IAWP issue, again showing N31225.

Enlarge photo 65
United Stratocruiser #5
Aviation Color Photo also issued a nice in flight card of the United Stratocruiser.

Enlarge photo 66
United Stratocruiser #6
A vintage DRC issue of United's Stratocruiser Mainliner in flight. As far as I can tell it is the only Euopean publisher card of the rare United Airliner.

Enlarge photo 67
West African Stratocruiser
BOAC also found a home for Stratocruisers with Nigeria predecessor West African Airways. This image, duplicates a later BOAC issue with WAAC substituted for the BOAC titles.  G ANUB, once a United Aircraft, operated from 1957-58 for West African, and was later repainted with the blue tail scheme.

Enlarge photo 68
Airbus Skylink #1 KCF
Ironically, the Stratocruiser survived for a number of years in this mutant form hauling components for assembly of Airbus aircraft. Card kindly shared by Kuo-Ching Fu

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