Constellation News

Constellation News

Firsthand Account of 1970 C-121J Crash Landing at Williams Field - February 4, 2016

C-121J BuNo 131644 “Pegasus” was damaged beyond repair while landing at Williams Filed, McMurdo Field in Antarctica on October 8, 1970. The flight was the first of the 1970-71 “Operation Deep Freeze” season and had originated at Christchurch, New Zealand with 80 persons onboard.

Dennis Haddock was onboard that day and recently sent me the following firsthand account of the accident. "The aircraft in question, BuNo 131644, was damaged while making its third attempt to land at Williams Field with only ten minutes of fuel onboard. As the aircraft descended, it was not in line with the runway, which caused the aircraft’s front strut the hit a snow bank tearing off it off and driving the front of the aircraft into the snow. Seconds later the right wing and strut were torn off, spinning us down the ice runway. The aircraft was later moved from Williams Field.”

The bulk of the aircraft is still at McMurdo and thus qualifies as a “survivor.”

Avra Valley Update – February 2, 2016

A Dynamic Aviation work crew is back at Marana Regional Airport in Avra Valley, Arizona working on two efforts. With "Bataan's" successful ferry flight to Chino on the 18th, the loaner QEC/engine and prop have been removed and a truck was dispatched to Chino to pick them up. The folks at Lewis Air Legends are returning the favor and will be supplying a QEC/engine and additional props for ”Columbine II's” flight to Bridgewater, Virginia. Dynamic’s point man at Avra Valley Brian Miklos says that work is progressing well and he expects the flight to happen sometime in late March. Right now my March and April calendar looks good for a trip to Arizona and hopefully I will be on hand for the departure.

The remains of C-121G N105CF were purchased by Dynamic Aviation in October 2015 and it is being disassembled for shipment back to Bridgewater. The rear fuselage, less empennage, was removed on January 31st as shown in the attached photo.

Recent Report on Sao Tome Super Constellations - January 23, 2016

Arthur Stevens and Carl Bruessow recently visited the two former Nordair/CanRelief Air Super Constellations that were abandoned at Sao Tome after the Biafran War. Arthur posted the following report and photos on Facebook and he and Carl were kind enough to allow me to include them on this website.

"A friend and colleague have just travelled to Sao Tome e Principe - a long held ambition of mine. Apart from travelling from Sao Tome to Principe and back on board a Dornier 228, I asked him to also check out the famous Sao Tome Constellations."
"They are both still there - CF-NAL and CF-NAM, abandoned after the Biafran War in the very early 1970s. Sao Tome formed an important staging post for accessing Biafra, including relief supplies as well of course for arms. Many interesting stories of derring-do and intrigue surrounds operations in these islands during the airlift (see Michael Draper's excellent book "Shadows")."
"For many years they languished in the bush at the airfield but in the more recent past they have both been converted into features of a bar/restaurant adjacent to the airport on Sao Tome. Clearly, although very little in the way of restoration has taken place, it is good to see that they are still there. It remains an ambition of mine to go and visit them in due course! Access to these islands is not especially easy - Air Portugal and TAAG Angola providing links through Cabo Verde and Luanda respectively."

VC-121A “Bataan" Ferried to Chino for Comprehensive Restoration – January 18, 2016

A veteran flight crew successfully ferried VC-121A 48-613/N422NA "Bataan" from Valle, Arizona to Chino, California on January 14, 2016. The aircraft had been on static display at the Planes of Fame Museum’s annex in Valle for 21 years and made the flight without incident. As previously reported on this website in 2015, Lewis Air Legends acquired the aircraft in April 2015 and a comprehensive restoration will be performed at Chino. Rod Lewis announced that he plans to put the aircraft on the airshow circuit after the restoration is complete. Congratulations to everyone involved in the effort to get this vintage aircraft airworthy and ferried to Chino. Almost immediately after the flight, a YouTube video was posted showing the departure from Valle. Many thanks to Tom Martin and Michael O’Leary for allowing me to use their photos. The exclusive aerial photos taken by Mr. O'Leary will appear in the April issue of Air Classics Magazines, which can be obtained by calling 818-700-6868 extension 15.

See Constellation News Archive - 2015 For Additional News

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----Created 31 January 2004------Updated 4 February 2016----