The Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was a long range double-deck airliner that first flew on 8 July 1947. Entering service on 1 April 1949 with Pan American, it was also operated by BOAC, Northwest Orient Airlines, United Airlines and American Overseas Airlines.
Seating generally between 50 and 75 passengers, the pressurised Stratocruiser featured sleeping berths for longer flights. Just 56 aircraft were produced, with Pan Am retiring the last one in 1961.
Boeing Stratocruiser Video
Following on from last weeks video about the Lockheed Constellation, this week we visit Seattle for a look at producing the Stratocruiser. This colour film from 1946 runs just under 20 minutes.
In the beginning, it goes through some of the Boeing history to date, including the Boeing 247, the Boeing 314 flying boat and others. Seeing the factory camouflaged for the war is interesting, and remember, Boeing has always built “tomorrow’s airplanes today”!
From about 6 minutes 30 seconds, the film shows how the Stratocruiser set a record of 6 hours, 3 minutes and 56 seconds for a Seattle to Washington DC flight. It is followed then by interesting cabins shots, then charts showing seating configurations.
Enjoyable is seeing the long explanations about how the pressurisation works as it was such a novel thing at the time. Seeing the lower deck lounge and the berths is also interesting, so check it out!
Pan American Stratocruiser Video
There’s another colour film about the aircraft, which was made when Pan American introduced it into service. It is also in colour and runs for about 24 minutes.
Pratt & Whitney’s Wasp engines fitted to the aircraft were problematic on many occasions. Several aircraft experienced incidents and a number of people lost their lives due to accidents stemming from the powerplant.
With its lower deck lounge reached by spiral staircase, the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser was the forerunner of the Boeing 747, which originally had a spiral staircase to an upper deck lounge.
Long range luxury travel in the late 1940s and through the 1950s was on this aircraft. As it was expensive to operate, it was put on the premium routes where high prices could be charged in order to make a profit. Spending an overnight flight on one of these would an experience!
Have you ever flown on board a Stratocruiser? What did you think of the videos? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Enjoying the series? Check out the index to all the “Does Anyone Remember…” articles.
Featured image by Boeing.