Constellation News Archive - 2022
Casablanca Constellation Update - December 30, 2022
"I'm an aviation enthusiast from Hamburg, Germany and a long-time visitor to your Constellation Survivors website. I'm happy to provide some up-to-date information and photos concerning L749A CN-CCN 749 in Casablanca, Morocco."
I recently received an email from Albert Hufenreuter who visited Casablanca, Morocco in October 2022 and was kind enough to provide a report and photos of former Royal Air Maroc L749A CN-CCN. It's been quite a while since I've heard anything about this Constellation and Albert's report was very much appreciated. I'm also encouraged that it appears to be in reasonably good condition with no missing parts, although it could use a good washing!
"In October 2022 my wife and I went for a holiday trip to Morocco, starting in Casablanca. Of course, it was my first task to pay Constellation CN-CCN a visit. Unfortunately all email contacts to various RAM email addresses ahead of time hadn't succeeded. They all came back as a "mailer daemon." The Constellation's resting place is the active RAM headquarters, which is sealed off by a security fence. At the main entrance I was informed that the museum is closed, but I might be able the see the Connie over the fence in a distance at the southern side of the complex. So I went. Arriving at the location I could see the Connie alright, but another security post stood in my way. Inquiring within, the message was that neither admittance or taking photos were possible. Nevertheless I took some photos through the fence next to the security post, which caused a major uproar among the security forces. Even being on a public road, I was told to leave the area or I would be detained. As well, photos were not allowed at the old airport building next door with a tower on top. It all reminded me of the Humphry Bogart movie "Casablanca" "the usual suspects" the spotters, are not welcome and would be arrested. I got away with some pictures, which is great. Please, find them in the attachment and use them as you wish."
"The current Goggle Earth satellite image of the area shows the actual situation on site. The area surrounding the RAM facility used to belong to the old Casablanca Airport, which was closed in 2007. Now that the City limits has reached the place, there is a major reconstruction of roads and buildings is in progress. The future bus stop in front of the RAM headquarter will be called Plaza de Museums. One can only hope that the RAM museum will be included in the name and revived, though the RAM Connie becomes accessible again."
Many thanks to Albert for his report.
Replica Constellation Ice Cream Stand - December 20, 2022
I received an email from Phil Douglas who came across an interesting ice cream stand in Denver, Colorado. "Surely someone has told you about this, but when I was in Denver I ran across this and thought I would share it with you just in case. I took a few pictures that I can share, will attach a couple, and someone spent some time and money on this. From far away it looks okay, but when you get very close it s obviously not a real airplane, but someone did take some time to do this."
Since Phil is the Executive Director of Dynamic Aviation s restoration of Dwight Eisenhower's First Air Force One VC-121A, he definitely know what a real Constellation looks like but I have to agree with him that someone has definitely spent some bucks in putting together an interesting replica. Hopefully there are plans to add a forward fuselage. For more information about this unique ice cream stand, check out their website at https://www.constellationicecream.com/.
Santo Domingo Airport Cleans Up Its Boneyard - December 4, 2022
Santo Domingo s Las Americas International Airport (SDF) was a hotbed of Propliner activity from the 1970 s thru the mid-1990's, with a number of aircraft having evaded the scrapman by taking refuge in the airport s boneyard. It appears the scrapman has finally caught up with the remnants of the airport's once mighty fleet of vintage aircraft with Roy Blewett sending me the following report. "I wanted to share with you a rather disappointing update from Santo Domingo. I was 'surfing' Google Earth and happened to notice that the authorities at Santo Domingo appear to have set about clearing the dump at the south end of the main ramp that has contained many a propliner over the years. The attached image, dated Sep2021, clearly shows DC-6 HI-292CT being broken up along with B727 HI-212CT and B707 HI-442CT. While Connie HI-393 and Convair N94CF are both still intact in this image, they are absent from more recent images, and it seems likely they probably met with the same fate. A shame, but I suspect it was only ever a matter of time for these particular airframes." Many thanks to Roy for forwarding his report and the image.
Lufthansa to Place Starliner and Ju-52 on Static Display In Celebration of its Centennial - October 20, 2022
An article published recently on the Simply Flying News website announced that Lufthansa will be placing L1649A Starliner N7316C and Ju-52 D-AQUI on permanent display to celebrate the airline s 100th anniversary in 2026. Both aircraft are currently stored at Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport in Germany with the process of reassembling them scheduled to begin by the end of 2022. While the Ju-52 is almost completely assembled, the Starliner is almost totally disassembled and will required a considerable amount of work to get it back together for display. During a staff event, Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr announced that the two airplanes will be placed in a new home in either Frankfurt or Munich.
While we would all like to see both aircraft in an airworthy condition and flying, this is a better outcome that many, including myself, expected.
French Constellation Awaiting Restoration - October 19, 2022
Paul Rushton recently photographed former Air France L749 Constellation F-ZVMV, which has been stored at the Musee de l'Air, Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France since July 1975. After retirement from Air France in 1960, the aircraft was modified and used as a flying engine test bed from 1963 to 1974. It went to the museum in July 1975 and has been parked in the museum s storage area ever since. The engine test equipment attached to the top of the fuselage was removed in June 2002 when the museum announced plans to restore it as Air France F-BAZR. Restoration began during the summer of 2003 but very little progress has been made due to the lack of funds. It was painted in quasi Air France colors in December 2006 with the false registration F-JAZ for use on a movie project. As can be seen in Paul s photos, the paint has been removed along with the outboard vertical stabilizers so perhaps there is some hope that the restoration will be completed soon and it will be placed on display. Many thanks to Paul for sharing his photos.
Airline History Museum Threatened with Closure - September 17, 2022
While Kansas City's Airline History Museum has been on perilous footing for some time, I heard yesterday that it had been closed. I reached out to AHM President John Roper to confirm the report and he responded telling me that the museum is still fighting Signature Flight Support and hasn't given up yet. The museum has been in a prolonged legal battle with Signature, which was attempting to have it evicted from its longtime home at the airport's Hangar 9. The problem started in September 2019 when Kansas City amended its lease with Signature for management of the Downtown Airport. The change deleted all financial benefits for the museum, which meant the city would start charging Signature $3,256 per month rent for the hangar. Signature notified the museum of the change, which was effective December 2019 and a series of legal battles ensued. Apparently the museum is running out of legal options but is still fighting not to get evicted.
What will become of the museum's collection of restored aircraft if it is evicted is anyone's guess. To park the museums beautifully restored Super Constellation outdoors would be criminal. The museum s collection also includes a Martin 404 and a DC-3 that has been under restoration for many years and is nearly complete. A jet-age engineless L1011 is also part of the collection and has been parked outside the hangar since arriving at the museum a few years back. This is absolutely horrible news and, I hate to say so, but it s probably a sign of things to come. The country has seems to lost its appreciation of aviation history plenty of money for illegal immigrants and the such but little allocated for the preservation of our aviation legacy. For more information about what led to this unfortunate situation, check out this May 27th article titled The Sad State of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City, Missouri
Combat Air Museum EC-121T Gets Facelift - August 20, 2022
The Combat Air Museum in Topeka, Kansas recently had their EC-121T 52-3418/N4257U painted and posted the following August 19th report on Facebook. "Gray and Company finished painting our EC-121 yesterday! The top photo shows our Lockheed as it appeared before painting; the bottom is its new look. The painting is complete but the job isn't done yet. Mike is installing netting to keep the starlings out. We must add some additional markings, replace the fabric on the rudders with sheet metal, install the rudders, and make some minor repairs. Come out and see our Warning Star for yourself!"
HARS Super Connie Spreads Her Wings - August 4, 2022
Australia's Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) Super Constellation VH-EAG made two flights on August 3rd. The aircraft hadn't flown for quite a while and was the aircraft s first flights after undergoing required maintenance and inspections. Two flights were completed for pilot requalifying and apparently all went well. The aircraft is the only airworthy Constellation in the world. Many thanks to Howard Mitchell, who captured the event with these fabulous photos!
Super Connie Engine Cowling For Sale on ebay - June 25, 2022
Volker Pickenpack recently emailed me with the news that there was a Super Constellation engine cowling for sale on German ebay under the listing "Super Constellation Cowling Complete." Sure enough, I checked the site and the cowling is advertised for sale at 1,250 euros with the note "Cowling is not cleaned! More pictures on request." If you re interested in this type of thing, check out this ebay link.
French Super Connie Continues to Deteriorate - June 15, 2022
Han de Ridder recently visited former Air France L1049G Super Constellation F-BHBG in Quimper, France and sent the following report and photos. "On June 13 I visited the Constellation c/n 4626 F-BHBG standing for many years now on the premises of Discotheque Le Moulin in Le Juch, Bretagne, France. The aircraft is in a really rough state and, looking at the warning signs, too dangerous to enter. Yes, looking bad, it should be under cover, but at least she is not broken up yet."
It's sad to see this once magnificent aircraft in its current condition but at least she continues to elude the scrapman. With the current price of scrap aluminum, perhaps she will continue to retain her status as a survivor for the foreseeable future. Many thanks to Han for sharing his report and photos.
Portuguese Super Connie Exhibit - April 15, 2022
There s not a whole lot of Constellation news these days so it was great to hear that the Super Constellation exhibit at the Museu do Ar in Sintra, Portugal remains on display. Antti Hyvarinen visited the museum on April 13, 2022 and posted some very nice photos on Facebook. The exhibit includes the forward fuselage of former Biafran Airlift veteran L1049G 5T-TAK, which was delivered new to Lufthansa in March 1956 D-ALEC. The exhibit includes at least one cowled R3350 engine and a fully restored cockpit.
Constellation Restoration Project Nearing Completion - March 3, 2022
It appears that the multi-year restoration of VC-121A N422NA/48-613 "Bataan" is nearing completion. Tony Dann visited the restoration hangar on February 11, 2022 and provided the following report. "I was in Los Angeles in February and visited Chino Airport where had a pre-arranged tour of the Threshold Aviation facility in the south eastern corner of the airfield. I was only expecting to see their hangars full of executive jets but was very surprised when I went into their hangar number 1 to be greeted by the site of a Constellation being worked on. I certainly wasn t expecting to see that and was told it s being put back into flying condition for corporate flights and we should see it airborne again this year. Here are a few photos I took in the hangar on February 11th." Many thanks to Tony for the report and photos.
See Constellation News Archive - 2021 For Additional News
----Created 31 January 2004------Updated 30 December 2022----