Boeing KC-97L 'Stratofreighter'

  Base model:C-97
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1925-1962
  Basic role:Transport
  Modified Mission:Tanker

  Length: 117' 5" 35.7 m
  Height:38' 4" 11.6 m
  Wingspan: 141' 2" 43.0 m
  Gross Weight: 152,998 lb 69,387 kg
  Max Weight: 153,000 lb 69,387 kg

  No. of Engines: 4
  Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-4360 (& 2 J47 Jet engines)
  Horsepower (each): 3500

  Range: 2,300 miles 3,703 km
  Cruise Speed: 230 mph 370 km/h 200 kt
  Max Speed: 400 mph 644 km/h 348 kt
  Ceiling: 30,000 ft 9,143 m

Examples of this type may be found at
Castle Air MuseumAtwaterCalifornia
Dyess Linear Air ParkDyess AFBTexas
Edward F. Beale MuseumBeale AFBCalifornia
Eighth Air Force MuseumBarksdale AFBLouisiana
Malmstrom AFB Museum and Air ParkMalmstrom AFBMontana
March Field Air MuseumRiversideCalifornia
Museum of AviationWarner Robins AFBGeorgia
United States Air Force MuseumWright-PattersonOhio
Whiteman AFBWhiteman AFBMissouri
Wisconsin ANG - HQVolk ANGBWisconsin

KC-97L on display

Castle Air Museum

Dyess Linear Air Park

Eighth Air Force Museum

March Field Museum

Museum of Aviation

United States Air Force Museum

Whiteman AFB

Wisconsin ANG - HQ


Recent comments by our visitors
 Wayne Thomas (TSGT)
 Cookson, OK
I was a WG10 Tech and Crew Chief on KC97L 53-360 Texas ANG from June 1968 to May 1975. I went on Operation Creek Party missions numerous times and it was always an adventure.

My airplane survived the ax at the bone yard and now rests at Malmstrom AFB in Montana. It has been re-numbered to honor a Montana airplane that did not survive Davis-Monthan. It is named "Spirit of Great Falls" and unfortunately has a large SAC strip around its belly! (53-360 was never in SAC).

I loved every minute of my time as Crew Chief/Flight Engineer with this airplane and owe my flying career to the those who took the time to mentor me in my struggles to become a professional pilot.

I went on to fly Corporate jets all over the world, then flew for Southwest Airlines until 23 Aug 2012. My enlistment date in the Air Force was 23 Aug 1962! I worked exactly 50 years. Thank you USAF.

Please feel free to email me at swajets@msn.com for any other info on the KC97L.

06/02/2013 @ 16:22 [ref: 67859]
 Robert Archer
 Bury St Edmunds, OTH
I am researching operation Creek Party at Rhein Main.. I would love to contact anyone (air or ground crews) who participated. I saw the aircraft at Rhein Main, and RAF Mildenhall, when they diverted for fue due to head winds over the Atlantic.

Please contact me direct on my email carlscroop@aol.com

Many thanks

Robert "Bob" Archer
03/31/2013 @ 21:58 [ref: 67701]
 James D. Harvey
 Fort Worth, TX
I served 6 years with the Texas Air National Guard, 136th Aerial Refueling Wing, Hensley Field, Dallas. I made three trips to Rhein Main AFB in Frankfurt in the early-mid 1970s participating in "Operation Creek Party". I have to tell you, to date, these trips were the greatest adventures of my life. I can still recall the first launch as I sat on the ramp with a buddy watching as the first bird in our flight cranked over. The fire guard called out 4,8,12, 16,20 blades and suddenly a stream of fire followed by smoke bellowed out the exhaust as the huge #3 R4360 came to life. I watched the flight leader taxi out listening to the squeal of the huge drum brakes on the main wheels. Then it was full power and off it went 4 turning and 2 burning, headed south over the lake and toward the radio towers at Cedar Hill. 30 minutes later we followed, #2 in a flight of 4 spaced 30 minutes between. I'll never forget laying in the boom pod taking pictures on the way to Goose Bay, of all the frozen lakes in Canada. Later on I stood behind the pilots looking at all the ice bergs as we crossed the southern tip of Greenland and then on to Iceland. I recall how beautiful the water was off Iceland as we let down through the soup breaking out on final. So many wonderful memories of "Operation Creek Party". The cold flight line, the always gray skies over Germany, the grilled bratwurst on the grill outside the flight line shack, the Airman's Club, the beer vending machines in the transient barracks, the blue school bus that transported us back and forth, the C-5s parked with broomsticks stuck through the trubofans to keep them from turning in the wind and the 3-day weekends exploring Germany. What a wonderful experience.
01/11/2013 @ 05:52 [ref: 67492]
 C. Clark
 Fort Worth, TX
I was a boomer in the 509th Air Refueling Squadron, Pease AFB from Feb 1959 until Oct 1963. We were flying the
KC-97G While the 100th Air Refueling Squadron (same base)had the KC-97F. Wish we could have had those J-47 engines at that time, especially when we were taking off at 175,000 gross. Boeing rated the max gross at 157,000 lbs, but you know SAC. We lost one of our KCs in July 1959 due to a catastrophic turbo failure. All seven on board, crew plus two crew chiefs, were lost. I was sure glad to get into the KC-135 program.
07/13/2011 @ 14:53 [ref: 40291]
 Joe Scherrer
 Lee\'s Summit, MO
Took a hop from Travis to Willow Grove on a 97, what a long flight. I was hoping I would arrive before the turn of the century. We hit a head wind which stalled us over East Memphis. Finally did make it though.
03/24/2011 @ 07:13 [ref: 37022]
 Larry Maney
 Gastonia, NC
I went to Hickory NC this weekend to see a B-17,B-24,P-51 and other old birds. I started having memories of the KC-97 that I would see at Rhien-Main back in 1976-1978. Great times then.
10/26/2010 @ 17:09 [ref: 31889]
 Andy Blaha
 , WI
What an experience for a young A1C kid 19 years old to travel to Frankfurt, Germany's Rhein-Main AFB for the first time on the KC97L, tail number 905, which is now on display at Volk Field in Wisconsin. Working with Roy Servais and Scott Praffke we spent two weeks at Creek Party living the life. The beer at Ma's on the flight line was cold, the Apollo Club waited for us each night and the countryside was beautiful. The following summer I spent two, two week tours there with the 97L (this time with a/c tail number 656 and had equally the same wonderful experieince, the second week working side by side with the boys from Salt Lake City. The old plane was just awesome to listen to as it came to life when the R4360's lit off. Hey all you former crew chiefs, remember this? Pitot covers and down locks removed, chocks in position, forward and aft doors closed, fire guard is in potition, all props clear, ready to turn three! And life became even better still when in 1977 I graduated from pilot training, returned to the Wis Air Guard and actually got to fly the same two birds for a couple of months before the units conversion to the KC135s began. Thanks For The Memories!!
09/06/2010 @ 06:57 [ref: 29778]
 J Clark
 Clarksville, TN
I flew the KC-97L with the 134th Refueling Group in Knoville from 1971-74. Had 427 hours in it. Made several trips to Rhein-Mein at Frankfurt, Germany during Creek Party operations. I actually flew about as much as my regular air force buddies during this period flying out of Knoxville several times a week. We refueled fighters in the US on a regular basis. f The 134th was a very professional group of pilots and out unit excelled at our mission. A lot of good pilots and crew belonged to that group!

The 97 had lots of power and was hard to consitently land. You sat out on the nose with a curved dash. There wasn't much of a horizontal reference plane, so about the time you thought you had the landings greased, you would make a fool out of yourself with a hard and skippy one bouncing down the runway! The controls were all manual - no hydraulics on the flight controls made it a wrestling match in a stong crosswind.

Made numerous overwater trips out to Bermuda and back and many winter trips to Ramey AFB, PR. Bacardi Rum down there was $1.89 per half gallon! We brought a lot of it home every trip. One could bring a gallon per month per man.

In November of 1971, as I was checking out in the 97, I got to crew out to Edwards for flight testing for adding altitude reporting to the aircraft. We spent three days at Edwards flying low runs for speed and air calibration of the pitot static system with the new altitude reporting feature. While there, I watched a lifting body fall from a B52 from around $43,000 ft. It fell like a rock! By the time we got back to the runway for our flyby's, they were covering it was camoflage netting so a satellite couldn' see it. Top Secret stuff! It was one of the forerunners for the current space shuttle design. There was also an SR71 that I got to see fuelanding and later take off. Experiencing the power and sound of the SR71 was quite thrilling. One of the guys at the O-club that night said the SR71 made a trip to China and back! We also say some remote highligpiloted vehicles. They were the forerunners of todsy's drones. That trip was one of the highlights of my flying career.

Compared to the planes and cockpits today, the old KC97 was like something out of the distant past! I enjoyed the experience and wouldn't take anything for it.
01/23/2010 @ 11:45 [ref: 25618]
 William C. Bush Jr.
 gainesville, VA
I flew one of the Tennessee ANG KC-97L aircraft from Knoxville to Anchorage Alaska. I was a two striper on leave from active duty and went to Alaska with along with my father who was a CWO 4 at the radar unit at McGhee Tyson.
12/15/2008 @ 09:24 [ref: 23243]
 R.G. Hayes
 , IL
I flew in KC-97's durinig the mid to late 50's out of Little Rock AFBand Whiteman AFB. Great plane.
08/01/2008 @ 11:16 [ref: 22323]


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