Lockheed Constellation

The Lockheed Constellation ("Connie") was a propeller-driven airliner powered by four 18-cylinder radial Wright R-3350 engines. It was built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, facility. A total of 856 aircraft were produced in numerous models, all distinguished by a triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. The Constellation was used as a civilian airliner and as a U.S. military air transport, seeing service in the Berlin Airlift. It was the presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Initial design studies Since 1937 Lockheed had been working on the L-044 Excalibur, a four-engine pressurized airliner. In 1939 Trans World Airlines, at the instigation of major stockholder Howard Hughes, requested a 40-passenger transcontinental airliner with 3,500 mi (5,630 km) range[1]ówell beyond the capabilities of the Excalibur design. TWA's requirements led to the L-049 Constellation, designed by Lockheed engineers including Kelly Johnson and Hall Hibbard.[2] Willis Hawkins, another Lockheed engineer, maintains that the Excalibur program was purely a cover for the Constellation.[3] Development of the Constellation The Constellation's wing design was close to that of the P-38 Lightning, differing mostly in scale.[4] The distinctive triple tail kept the aircraft's overall height low enough to fit in existing hangars,[3] while new features included hydraulically boosted controls and a thermal de-icing system used on wing and tail leading edges.[1] The aircraft had a top speed of over 340 mph (550 km/h), faster than that of a Japanese Zero fighter, a cruise speed of 300 mph (480 km/h), and a service ceiling of 24,000 ft (7,300 m).[5] According to Anthony Sampson in Empires of the Sky, the intricate design may have been undertaken by Lockheed, but the concept, shape, capabilities, appearance and ethos of the Constellation were driven by Hughes' intercession during the design process. World War II The first Lockheed Constellation on January 9, 1943. With the onset of World War II, the TWA aircraft entering production were converted to an order for C-69 Constellation military transport aircraft, with 202 aircraft intended for the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Th

first prototype (civil registration NX25600) flew on January 9, 1943, a short ferry hop from Burbank to Muroc Field for testing.[1] Edmund T. "Eddie" Allen, on loan from Boeing, flew left seat, with Lockheed's own Milo Burcham as copilot. Rudy Thoren and Kelly Johnson were also on board. Lockheed proposed the model L-249 as a long range bomber. It received the military designation XB-30 but the aircraft was not developed. A plan for a very long-range troop transport, the C-69B (L-349, ordered by Pan Am in 1940 as the L-149),[7] was canceled. A single C-69C (L-549), a 43-seat VIP transport, was built in 1945 at the Lockheed-Burbank plant. The C-69 was mostly used as a high-speed, long-distance troop transport during the war.[8] A total of 22 C-69s were completed before the end of hostilities, but not all of these entered military service. The USAAF cancelled the remainder of the order in 1945. [edit]Postwar use TWA L-749A Constellation at Heathrow in 1954 with an under fuselage "Speedpack" freight container Super Constellation (C-121C) during pilot training in Epinal - Mirecourt, France After World War II the Constellation came into its own as a popular, fast, civilian airliner. Aircraft already in production for the USAAF as C-69 transports were finished as civilian airliners, with TWA receiving the first on 1 October 1945. TWA's first transatlantic proving flight departed Washington, DC, on December 3, 1945, arriving in Paris on December 4 via Gander and Shannon.[1] Trans World Airlines transatlantic service started on February 6, 1946 with a New York-Paris flight in a Constellation. On June 17, 1947 Pan American World Airways opened the first ever regularly scheduled round-the-world service with their L-749 Clipper America. The famous flight "Pan Am 1" operated until 1982. As the first pressurized airliner in widespread use, the Constellation helped to usher in affordable and comfortable air travel. Operators of Constellations included TWA, Eastern Air Lines, Pan American World Airways, Air France, BOAC, KLM, Qantas, Lufthansa, Iberia Airlines, Panair do Brasil, TAP Portugal, Trans-Canada Air Lines (later renamed Air Canada), Aer Lingus, VARIG, Cubana de Aviacion and Linea Aeropostal Venezolana.