The unusual aircraft shown here first flew 50 years ago today, August 31, 1965.
It is tail number N940NS (formerly N1038V), the first of seven Aero Spacelines Super Guppy aircraft. It was built from the fuselage of a C-97J Turbo Stratocruiser, the military version of the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. The fuselage had a length of 141 feet, with a maximum load of 52,500 pounds.
Today, six of the seven planes are mothballed or in static displays. A single one is still in service, with tail number N941NA. It is used by NASA as a transport aircraft and is based in El Paso, Texas. It was acquired by NASA from the European Space Agency, where it bore tail number F-GEAI.