Constellation News

Constellation News

The 2020 edition of the Propliner Annual will be published on April 20th. As its title implies, Propliner Magazine is totally dedicated to Propliner aircraft and is a “must-have” for any aviation enthusiast and especially Propliner enthusiasts. Orders for this bumper 160-page publication can be placed at

Qantas Founders Museum Super Connie Moves to New Home – March 28, 2020

In early March 2020, the Qantas Founders Museum Super Constellation was moved to its final display position under the museum’s new Airpark Roof where it joined the museum’s B707 and B747. This marked the culmination of a remarkable 5½ year effort that began in September 2014 when the museum purchased the aircraft from the Manila International Airport Authority. The Super Connie had been abandoned for 26 years at the airport and was in poor condition. A project team was quickly dispatched by the museum to disassemble and prepare the aircraft for shipment back to the museum, where it arrived on May 24, 2017. By July 2018 the aircraft had been externally restored and painted in period Qantas colors as VH-EAM "Southern Spray." Volunteers completed the cockpit and interior restoration in 2019 and the aircraft was ready to take her place under the Airpark Roof. The $14.3 Airpark Roof will not only provide shelter to the museum’s Super Connie, DC-3, B707 and B747 but will also include a state-of-the art sound and light show night experience.
For additional information about the move, check out the museum’s March 19th Media Release. Also check out the timelapse video of the move. Congrats to the Qantas Founders Museum and everyone else involved in this ambitious project, which most assuredly saved this Super Connie from being scrapped in Manila. For more information about the effort that saved this aircraft, check out this website's Constellation News Archives 2014 thru 2019.

South African Airways Museum Starliner Update – March 8, 2020

Peter Brill reports that electricity has been restored and interior work continues on Starliner ZS-DVJ at Rand Airport. He forwarded the following photos.

Mementos from Opposite Ends of Constellation Era – March 4, 2020

I recently received photos of two Constellation mementos…one from the start of the Constellation era and one from near the end. Greg Vinci’s father Sam was one of the original electrical engineers that work on instrument design for the Constellation. Greg inherited a framed photo of a C-69 that had the signatures of many of the individuals involved in the early design of the airplane. At the other end of the spectrum, Lonnie Bohm sent me a photo of a spark plug that had been installed on one of the engines that powered L749A N6020C on TWA’s last passenger flight on April 6, 1967. It was given to his father, who worked for TWA in New York for 37 years. Thanks to both Greg and Lonnie for sharing these small slices of Constellation history!

Former Nordair Super Connies Soldier On as Restaurant Centerpieces in São Tomé – March 4, 2020

As reported on this website on November 22, 2018, contrary to previous reports, former Nordair Super Connies CF-NAL and CF-NAM had not been scrapped in São Tomé Airport and were part of the Asas D'Avião Restaurante Santola located at the airport. Riku Helppi visited São Tomé on January 31st and February 6, 2020 and photographed both aircraft, confirming their continued existence. The Super Connies were used during the Biafran Airlift and were abandoned at São Tomé in early 1970 after the conflict had ended. While the exteriors of both aircraft are in desperate need of some TLC, the restaurant appears to be open for business. Many thanks to Riku for allowing me to post the photos and to Antti Hyvärinen for forwarding the photos to me.

Indian Naval Museum Super Connie Gets Some TLC - February 11, 2020 (February 13, 2020 Update)

On May 3, 2019 I reported that Super Constellation IN315 on display at the Naval Museum in Goa, India was looking a bit tatty and needed some attention. Perhaps the folks at the museum read my website because Dane Rapajic recently visited the museum and reports that the aircraft’s exterior is being repainted. Many thanks to Dane for his report and photos. Now, if they would just replace the truck tires installed on the main land gear!

Dome Assembly Urgently Needed for Hamilton Standard 43H60 Propeller - January 25, 2020

I recently received an email from Patrick Smart, who rebuilds vintage round engines and runs them at shows around the UK. A couple of years ago he acquired two R3350 engines from L1049G Super Connie 5T-TAF, which was abandoned at Luqa, Malta in 1968. The aircraft was flying contraband to Biafra and was impounded by the local authorities. It was towed to the nearby village of Kirkop and made into a restaurant in 1974. The restaurant closed in about 1988 and it was destroyed by a fire set by vandals in January 1997. The Malta Aviation Museum Foundation acquired the remains and somehow two of the engines made their way to the UK, where Patrick acquired them. He is in the process of getting one of the engines running and, while he has the props, he needs a dome assembly for a Hamilton Standard 43H60 propeller. Here’s his appeal.
"My name is Patrick Smart and I am one of the founder Members of the Historical Aero Engines group over here in the UK. My passion is for big and round engines as my father was a heavy bomber pilot during WW2 and predominately flew the Halifax with Bristol Hercules engines. I have a couple of them which we take to shows all over the UK and fire them up."

"At one of the shows a couple of years ago I was approached by a chap wondering if I was interested in a couple of R-3350's from the Connie in Malta 5T-TAF. They were already in the UK and, after a few beers, I have been the proud owner of two of the engines since last summer and they now reside in Topcliffe North Yorkshire UK."

"I plan to make one running engine from the two. Obviously they have stood for over fifty years and need a good bit of work to get one running again. One of the engines has now been dismantled and is in the final stages of being prepped before getting painted while the cylinders are being cleaned and overhauled. I have to use six of the cylinders from the second engine as there has been a lot of condensation over the years which has caused a fair bit of corrosion in a few of them. A full pictorial rebuild can be found at Historic Aero Engine Facebook page."

"There is one bit missing...the Hamilton Standard 43H60 propellers we have are missing the dome assembly. We have full control of the propeller, even though we crop them down. The R-3350 will run a prop of about 9.5ft diameter and will still develop some decent power and we feather the props for road transport. David from the Malta Aviation Museum, where the engines came from, has looked everywhere for the dome assemblies to no avail. So I wondered if you could but a request out there via your site to try and locate a usable dome to complete the prop assembly for this Connie engine. I hope to have the engine ready for its first run by late autumn of this year."

If you can help Patrick find a dome assembly, please email him at

Restoration of SAA Museum Starliner Nearing Completion - January 16, 2020

Peter Brill recently visited the South African Airways Museum at Rand Airport and reports that the restoration of Starliner ZS-DVJ, both inside and out, is nearing completion. He forwarded the following report and photos...."Latest fotos of SAAM's Starliner ZS-DVJ/c/n 1042 at Rand. This beautiful L1649A has been finally reassembled and is now being completed inside out. Former Lufthansa D-ALOL. A great achievement by all my volunteer friends of the SAAM."

See Constellation News Archive - 2019 For Additional News

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----Created 31 January 2004------Updated 28 March 2020----