One of the really nice things about hosting this website are the photos and videos that arrive on a continuing basis from folks wanting to share them. Some are current, while others go back to the Lockheed factory in the mid-1940’s. While I use some on the “Constellation News” page, not all can be used and I’ve created this page to collect and share these items with visitors to this website. I hope you enjoy them.
VC-121A Under Restoration at Chino Airport - September 4, 2018
Ron Vader visited Chino Airport on September 3, 2018 and forwarded some photos of 48-613 Bataan, which is undergoing a complete restoration at the Fighter Rebuilders facility. Thanks much to Ron for sharing his photos.
National Airline History Museum Photos – August 19, 2018
Daniel Metcalf emailed photos he took of L1049H N6937C at the National Airline History Museum on June 27, 2018. Daniel reports that a museum guide told him that the museum would be running the engines later this summer but there are no near term plans to fly it. Thanks much to Daniel for sharing his photos.
Qantas Founders Museum Releases Video – August 7, 2018
The Qantas Founders Museum recently released a short video on Facebook showing the rescue, transport and restoration of their Super Connie. For more information about this exciting restoration, check out the QFM website.
November 1952 Photo of Columbine II – July 22, 2018
Maria Minster recently emailed a photo of Columbine II that she said was taken in Korea in late 1952. I checked with Peter J. Marson and sure enough, Columbine II 48-610 was used by President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a Far East trip in November 1952. It’s interesting to note that, while the aircraft name had been applied to the nose, the familiar yellow Columbine flower had not. This is probably the result of the aircraft having only been assigned to the president shortly before the Korean trip was undertaken. After being converted to a VC-121A in late 1949, the aircraft was assigned to the 1254 ATS (Special Missions) at Washington National Airport in February 1950. Prior to Eisenhower’s November trip, the aircraft had been used primarily by the Secretary of the Air Force. Many thanks to Maria for forwarding this very interesting photo.
LeBourget L749 Photos – October 30, 2017
Antti Hyvärinen recently forwarded photos that his friend Juha Klemettinen had taken of L749A F-ZVMV on October 22, 2017 at the Musée de l'air et de l'espace (Air and Space Museum) at Le Bourget Airport in Paris. The museum has stripped the paint off the airplane down to the aluminum surface so hopefully this might mean that there is some type of restoration effort going on. The last photos I had of the aircraft were from 2012, when quasi Air France colors had been applied. Many thanks to Antti and Juha for sharing these photos.
Chanute EC-121K – September 6, 2017
A crew from Worldwide Aircraft Recovery arrived at the defunct Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in Rantoul, Illinois in early June and by mid-July EC-121K BuNo 141311 had been disassembled and transported by road to its new home at the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Kevin Walsh, Nate Gallagher and the Yankee Air Museum provided photos documenting the event.
Super Constellation Flyers Association Appeal for Contributions – August 30, 2017
The folks at the Super Constellation Flyers Association (SCFA) need your support to return Super Constellation HB-RSC to the skies in 2018. The Breitling Super Connie was grounded for the 2017 airshow season as the result of a number of maintenance issues. Due to the additional maintenance costs and the loss of 2017 airshow and member flights revenue, SCFA has initiated a campaign to raise the funds necessary to complete the immediate repairs along with the maintenance and inspections scheduled for the upcoming winter months. As part of the campaign, they have produced a YouTube video appealing for contributions.
U.S. Navy C-121J at Kobler Field on Saipan – August 13, 2017
The U.S. Navy operated a large fleet of R7V-1 Super Constellation transport aircraft, which were redesignated C-121Gs and C-121Js in October 1962. Lowell Boothe photographed R7V-1 BuNo 131654 back in the day and his son Gary recently emailed the photo. ”I thought you might be interested in the attached photo of BuNo 131654, which was assigned to VW-1 Squadron on Guam. My father took this photo around 1960 at Kobler Field on Saipan when he was a school teacher working for the Navy civilian administration. I was very interested to learn from your website this was one the Connies from the Classic Air venture.” Gary is correct in that the aircraft was one of two former military Super Constellations acquired by Ascher Ward in 1981. His plan was to base the aircraft at Van Nuys Airport in Southern California and fly Japanese tourists on 90 minute sightseeing flights to the Grand Canyon. Everything looked like it was falling into place until the FAA announced that it would not approve a Van Nuys based Part 125 operation, insisting instead on a Part 121 operation conducted from a larger airport such as Los Angeles International. This killed the venture and N27189 was sold to Dominican operator Aero Chago in 1988 and registered HI-532CT. The aircraft was damaged beyond repair in June 1990, when it suffered a nose wheel collapse while landing at Santo Domingo. It was subsequently used for spares and eventually scrapped. It's interesting to note that this same aircraft was involved in a similar situation in 1964, while in service with the U.S. Navy. The flightcrew took a novel approach and damage to the aircraft was minimal. A full account of the incident and some photos can be found on the VW-1 All Hands Alumni Association website.
The other Classic Air Super Connie was N1104W (former USAF C-121C 54-177), which is currently on display at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center in West Virginia ANG colors. For more information about Classic Air, check out the Benny Younesi article on this website.
Ill-Fated KLM L1049C Super Connie – August 11, 2017
On September 5, 1954, KLM L1049C PH-TFY crashed into the shallow waters of The River Shannon shortly after taking off from Shannon Airport. While the fuselage remained essentially intact, 28 of the 56 persons onboard drowned after being overcome by avgas fumes. The cause of the crash was determined to be the inadvertent extension of the landing gear after power was reduced and flaps were partially retracted during the initial climb. This set up a near stall condition and the aircraft essentially mushed into the river. Paul Zogg forwarded two photos of the aircraft. One taken at Idlewild Airport in New York (now JFK International) during the summer of 1954 and a second taken of the aircraft in The River Shannon shortly after the crash.
Lufthansa Starliner Restoration YouTube Video – August 3, 2017
Lufthansa Flyer TV published a very interesting video in March 2017 about the overhaul of the engines, propellers and spinners for L1649A N7316C. While there have been off and on rumors over the years about the viability of this massive restoration project, I think it’s safe to assume that Lufthansa is totally committed to seeing this project through completion!
Helena EC-121T Photos – August 3, 2017
Nigel Hitchman recently completed an epic roadtrip, which included visits to museums, boneyards and airports in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah and Colorado. In addition to capturing some stunning scenic photos, he managed to photograph an amazing array of interesting aircraft. One of his stops was the airport in Helena, Montana, where he photographed EC-121T 52-3417/N4257L, which has been a fixture at the airport since March 1981. The lighting conditions were perfect and Nigel made the most of the excellent conditions. The results are some gorgeous shots of a rather weary looking airplane. The EC-121T was acquired by the Castle Museum in early 2014 and the museum plans on having it disassembled and transported by road to California by Worldwide Aircraft Recovery in the fall of 2017.
Columbine II Video – July 13, 2017
Before VC-121A 48-610 Columbine II was rescued from the Arizona desert by Karl Stoltzfus in 2015/16, things were not looking good for the aircraft and the grandson of former owner Mel Christler created a video to get the word out on the plight of the historic aircraft. Tim Crowley’s efforts were successful and the aircraft was made airworthy and flown to Bridgewater, Virginia in March 2016, where it is currently undergoing restoration. Dan Elliott recently forwarded me a link to the video. I will be in Bridgewater in late July and will add some current photos to the website.
Lufthansa Photos – July 13, 2017
Harald Kern recently emailed me some photos of Lufthansa Super Connies and Starliners taken in the late 1950's/early 1960's. The first photo was taken on February 14, 1964 and shows L1649A D-ALAN in Hamburg after being returned from a lease to World Airways. The aircraft is still in full World colors and wearing N45512, which is its US registration while on lease to World. This aircraft is currently on display at Kermit Weeks Fantasy of Flight in Polk, Florida in faded Lufthansa colors and registered N974R. The second photo is L1649A D-ALUB taken in Hamburg on March 29, 1964 painted in full Lufthansa colors after being returned from a lease to World Airways. The third photo is of an unidentified Starliner taken at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) in New York on July 12, 1959.
The first photo in the second group is of an unidentified L1049G Super Constellation also taken at Idlewild Airport in New York on July 12, 1959. The next two photos are of a late 1950s Lufthansa advertisement extoling the virtues of the airline's new "Super Star" L1649A aircraft.
1990s Era "Camarillo Connie" Photos – June 24, 2017
Jean-Louis Delezenne recently sent me some 1990's era photos of C-121C N73544 taken at the home base of Benny Younesi's Constellation Historical Society (CHS) in Camarillo California. This aircraft is now owned by the Super Constellation Flyers Association (SCFA) and carries the registration HB-RSC. It is based in Switzerland and is one of only two active Constellations. The first two photo were taken in the fall of 1993 when the restoration of the aircraft was wrapping up. The next two were probably taken shortly after the restoration was completed in the spring of 1994, but before it was painted in the colors it wore for 17 years before being repainted by SCFA in 2011. The remaining photos were most likely taken in the mid- to late-1990's in Camarillo.
Yanks Air Museum and Peterson Air & Space Museum EC-121T's – June 24, 2017 (updated June 29, 2017)
Tim Chaloner recently visited the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California and the Peterson Air & Space Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado and forwarded some very nice photos of EC-121T's 53-548/N548GF and 52-3425. It's interesting to note that when early model EC-121's were upgraded to EC-121T configuration, some retained the upper radome while others had the radome removed. 53-548 had its radome removed while 52-3425 kept its radome. 53-548 arrived at Yanks Air Museum on January 14, 2012. The aircraft had been grounded in Camarillo, California for almost 12 years and, after a herculean multi-year restoration effort, which included a protracted battle with the FAA FSDO office in Camarillo, the aircraft successfully completed the short ferry flight from Camarillo to Chino. Although potentially airworthy, it has remained grounded since arriving and its January 2012 flight will probably go down in history as the final one for the type.
52-3425 was one of the last active military EC-121's and was assigned to a reserve unit at Homestead AFB, Florida until retired in October 1978 and flown to Peterson AFB for display at the museum. The aircraft is well maintained and is on display in the garden-like setting of the museum. The beautiful blue sky background made for a very nice photo!
"Manila Connie" arrives at the Qantas Founders Museum - June 24, 2017
David Wood and Ron Cuskelly forwarded photos of Manila Connie arriving at the Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach, Australia on May 24, 2017 after a long sea and land journey. The photos were taken by Dave McKenzie and Tom Harwood. Also included are two photos of the fuselage after its protective covering had been removed on May 26th.
VC-121E Columbine III at the NMUSAF – June 5, 2017
My good friend Eric Alchowiak was visiting the National Museum of the USAF in May and a sent me a composite photo of VC-121E 53-7885. The aircraft was the third VIP Constellation type aircraft utilized by Dwight D. Eisenhower and was moved to the new Presidential hangar at the museum in April 2016. Eric stitched three photos together using Microsoft Ice software, which comes in pretty handy when photographing aircraft in the tight confines of a museum.
Terry Rodell's Super Connie Photo Collection – March 26, 2017 (Updated June 29, 2017)
Terry Rodell recently sent me a nice selection of Super Constellation photos. The first is of Biafran Airlift veteran ”5T-TAF” in Kirkop, Malta, where it had been converted for use as a restaurant in the mid-1970's. The photo was taken in April 1995 after the restaurant closed but before vandals set it afire and destroyed it in January 1997. The Malta Aviation Museum Foundation has purchased the remains of the aircraft, which included the wings, undercarriage and engines. The next photo is of former Lufthansa L1049G D-ALIN which was taken at the Hermeskeil Museum at Mosel, Germany in August 2013. The aircraft was retired by Lufthansa in July 1967 and was on display at Hamburg Airport from 1967 to 1980 when is was disassembled and transported by road to Mosel. It has been on display at the museum since 1981.
The next set of photos are of L-1049G F-BGNJ/F-BRAD taken in Nantes, France. The first two were taken in August 2000 and the third sixteen years later in August 2016. The former Air France aircraft was retired by CATAIR in 1973, ferried to Nantes a year later and put on display. The 2000 photos show the aircraft looking a bit worse for wear and painted in Air France colors with her CATAIR registration F-BRAD. Luckily, it was rescued by a dedicated group of enthusiasts, who have since restored it back to its former glory as evidenced in the 2016 photo. Check out some additional recent photos of the aircraft posted in the Constellation News page.
Terry photographed former Indian Navy L1049G IN315 at the Naval Aviation Museum in Goa, Indian in about 2003 and more recently in Feburary 2017. The aircraft was delivered to Air India in 1955 and went on to serve with the Indian AF from 1961 to 1976 when it went to the Indian Navy and converted for maritime reconnaissance use. Retired by the navy in 1983, it went to the museum in 2000. The aircraft was in pretty sad shape in 2003 but has been restored and is currently on display at the museum as shown in Terry's February 2017 photos below.
Here's some updated photos of IN315 taken by Terry on February 28, 2017. Its great to see that the old girl is in good condition and being well taken care of
Any finally, the SCFA Breitling Super Connie HB-RSC at the ILA Airshow in Berlin, Germany in May 2004, a month after she arrived from the United States and still registered N73544.
Korat EC-121R Photos - April 13, 2017
Ruud Leeuw forwarded me some photos he received from Gordon Tatro (USAF MSgt-Retired) taken at Korat, Thailand during the Vietnam War. ”This is a launch from the airplanes I worked on at Korat,Thailand 1969-1970. The EC-121R ACFT would fly orbits over Laos, Cambodia, and North and South Vietnam. They had about 8 sensor operators (flight crew) who would listen to transmitters dropped into the jungle...when they picked up an indication of troop movements (Ho Che mhen Hanoi Trail) they would vector in F4 Phantom jets and blow the area up...then we would drop more transmitters. Check out Ruud’s website for additional information about the photos and the ops at Korat.
Video of Nantes Super Constellation – April 11, 2017
Pierre Biron recently posted a link on Facebook to an interesting YouTube video about Amicale du Super Constellation's L1049G F-BGNJ, which is on display at Nantes Airport in France. The video shows both the interior and exterior of the aircraft, and while it is in French, it is well worth viewing for those not conversant in French.
More Mac Hayes Photos – March 31, 2017
Mac Hayes forwarded more photos taken while he was a military and civilian air traffic controller in the US and Japan from the mid-1950's to early 1960's. Look at how close Mac was able to get to the TWA Constellations in the photos he took from the observation deck at MKC! Unfortunately those scenes cannot be replicated in today's environment of jet bridges and ultra-secure airports. The far right photo on the second row of TWA photos was taken by Mac while on final approach to SFO on what was the first leg of his journey to Tachikawa AB in July 1959.
Photos of HARS Super Connie at the Avalon Air Show – March 26, 2017
I received the following short Facebook message from David Wood with some photos of VH-EAG at the Avalon Air Show. "A few photos for you from Avalon, March 3rd. She looked glorious doing her twilight take offs."
Video of Starliner N7316C in Action with Alaska Airlines – March 24, 2017
Angela Schmidt, who is a film archivist at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Alaska Film Archives, sent me a link to a really interesting video of Starliner N7316C landing and taxiing in Kotzebue, Alaska back in the 1960’s, while in service with Alaska Airlines. Kotzebue is north of Nome and it sure looks desolate. I wonder if Alaska Airlines ran a scheduled service there or if this was just a charter flight. Anyhow, this short video preserves a fascinating snipit of both Alaskan and Constellation history.
Avalon Airshow Photos – March 8, 2017
Rob Tracz recently posted a number of very nice photos on Facebook of HARS Super Constellation VH-EAG at the Australian International Airshow held at Avalon Airport on 3-5 March 2017. He was kind enough to allow me to post them on this website.
Kansas City Municipal (MKC) Photos – March 1, 2017
Mac Hayes grew up in the Kansas City area and was fortunate enough to experience the propliner era at both Kansas City Municipal and Fairfax Municipal Airports from 1946 onwards. While serving in the USAF as an air traffic controller, Mac was assigned to the tower at Topeka, Kansas from 1956-1959. After being discharged from military, he became a civilian air traffic controller and was assigned to FAA control towers at both Kansas City and Fairfax Municipal (KCK) Airports during 1961-62. The photos of the stored L049 Constellations and the Braniff C-46 were taken at MKC during the winter of 1961-62 while the photo of passengers boarding L049 N6008C was taken at MKC in 1958.
Drone Photos of Nantes Super Constellation – February 20, 2017
Pierre Planel sent me some interesting photos of Super Constellation F-BGNJ taken from a drone. The aircraft is owned by Amicale du Super Constellation and is on display at Nantes Airport in France. Over the years the group has spent a lot of effort restoring the aircraft and proudly displays her to the general public during regular open houses.
VC-121A 48-614 Crew Photo – February 16, 2017
Dwight Snider passed along this interesting photo of VC-121A 48-614 and her crew. This aircraft served as General Dwight Eisenhower’s aircraft before he was president and was the first of three aircraft used by Eisenhower that he named Columbine. 48-614 is currently on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum. "I thought you might be interested in this photo. My father was stationed at Washington National Airport during WWII. He was a 1st Lieutenant in the ATC. His duties were to provide cabin crews for Special Missions, Foreign, and for the President of the US. As he put it he was “the” flight attendant. After the war he chose to be an NCO in the 1254th ABW. He was called on to be the enlisted man witnessing the signing of the National Security Act of 1947, aboard President Truman’s presidential aircraft Independence. He served as Flight Attendant and Supervisor at the 1254th and the 89th MAW at Andrews. This is a photo of the SHAPE Flight Section VC-121A, 8614, stationed at Orly Airport, France. Depicted are the 1953 crew members. This was after Ike returned to the US but before he asked (then) Major Draper to be his pilot. The plane was the first Columbine, but it appears to carry General Ridgeway’s or General Gruenther's flag. The kneeling men are Center, Major Harkness, Co-pilot, and right, Major William Draper, Pilot. Standing left I believe is Sgt. Woodward, in the center is my father M/Sgt. Dwight E. Snider, Sr. I think the next is M/Sgt. “Red” Schell, and then M/Sgt. Lou Larson."
1958 Vacation Photos - February 2, 2017
I received the following email message and photos from Carl Kuhns. “I believe these photos were taken in 1958 when my parents traveled on a trip to Europe. I do not know how good these photos will show up as they were stored in a hot attic for many years. I believe that the aerial photo of the #1 engine and the tip tank of the TWA constellation appears to be taken over New York city and the Irish Air Line Constellation may have been photographed in Ireland.”
The first photo appears to have been taken at LaGuardia Airport in New York City and I agree with Carl that the aerial photo was taken over New York City. L1049E N1005C survived and is on display at the AMC Museum at Dover AFB as a C-121C. After being retired by Capitol Airways, it was sold to Jim Flannery, moved to Penndel, PA and sat atop his restaurant as a cocktail lounge for 30 years. Here’s a link to a photo history of the airplane.
Linea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV) L049 – January 14, 2017
Alejandro Irausquin recently sent me an email reminding me that I didn't have a photo of L049 survivor N2520B when she was in service with the Venezuelan airline LAV back in the early 1950’s as YV-C-AME Simon Bolivar. He included a photo from Paul Zogg’s collection and a 1947 video showing the aircraft along with YV-C-ACA at some sort of ceremony in Havana, Cuba.
Constellation Historical Society Super Connie - December 7, 2016
Back before she was the Breitling Super Constellation, this former USAF C-121C visited airshows in the western United States from 1994 to 2003 and was known as the Camarillo Connie. The Swiss based Super Constellation Flyers Association acquired the aircraft in December 2003 and she is one of only two fully airworthy Constellations. Stan Gidaszewski was kind enough to forward three photos of the aircraft taken at the Hawthorne Air Fair held at Jack Northtrop Field on August 16, 2003.
Greenwood Lake Constellation - August 31, 2016
Charly Prevost visited Greenwood Lake Airport in West Milford, New Jersey on August 25, 2016 and sent me some photos of Constellation N9412H. The aircraft is one of only four surviving L049 Constellations and was Air France’s first Constellation when delivered in June 1946. It was operated by TWA from 1950 to 1959 as N9412H and flew for a number of smaller airlines before being flown to Greenwood Lake Airport during the winter of 1976/77. Originally converted for use as a restaurant/lounge it is currently used as an office for a flight school. Check out the video of the airplane landing on the airports short 2,700 foot runway.
Scrapping of Lufthansa L1049G D-ALAP in February 1967 – August 16, 2016
Harald Kern shared some photos of the scrapping of Lufthansa L1049G D-ALAP in Frankfurt, Germany. The aircraft was scrapped in February 1967 at the Lufthansa Base in front of the old Hangar 3 (Butterfly Hangar), which has since been demolished and replaced with a new passenger terminal. While any photos of a Constellation being scrapped are a bit unsettling, it is important to preserve them for posterity.
Breitling Super Connie at Dübendorf, Switzerland – July 2, 2016
Paul Zogg forwarded some great photos of the Breitling Super Connie in action at Dübendorf, Switzerland on July 1, 2016. HB-RSC completed her scheduled annual winter maintenance and received flight approval from the Swiss Federal Air Office on April 27, 2016. Although there have been some flight cancelations due to bad weather this spring, it's evident from Paul's photos the Super Connie definitely put on quite a show at Dübendorf.
Former AMSA Super Constellation HI-542CT– July 1, 2016
I received an email the other day from airline pilot Chris Carey who had spotted former AMSA Super Connie HI-542CT on a recent trip to Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. "I'm an airliner pilot and while taxiing to the terminal at BQN last night the Captain and I both immediately recognized the distinctive three tails of a Connie on the ramp. This morning we walked over to the airport and at first went to the new Lufthansa maintenance hangar as the Connie is parked closest to it. The security guards connected us via telephone to somebody inside the building who said that they did not control the airplane and that the airport authority owned it. We then went to the Copeca Jet Center where a very nice gentleman offered to drive us out to the airplane. He told us that Lufthansa had it moved out of the remote area that it had been stored in a couple of months ago and that they are contemplating using it as a static display or possibly some sort of conference room. The airplane is in very poor condition, it is obvious that there has not yet been any work performed on it. Even in such a poor state the airplane is still beautiful, at night it looks like it is parked on the ramp waiting for its next flight."
Munich Super Constellation F-BHML – June 4, 2016
Antti Hyvärinen recently visited Munich, Germany and photographed former Air France L1049G F-BHML, which is on display at the airport in 1950's era Lufthansa colors as D-ALEM. As can be seen from the photographs, the aircraft is in excellent condition, both inside and out.
1960's Era BuNo 141311 Crew Photo – June 3, 2016
I received an interesting email from Navy veteran Jack Schrager with a crew photo taken alongside WV-2/EC-121K BuNo 141311. The photo was taken Hawaii in about 1963 when the aircraft was assigned to the Pacific Missile Range Facility. "The attached photo shows the flight crew of 141311 when attached to PMRF Hawaii. I had the pleasure of being the Flight Engineer on this magnificent machine for three years. My time in the beautiful constellation began in 1956 when I was assigned to VW 13 and flew the Atlantic Barrier up until they decommissioned that squadron. I was reassigned to the Navy's original Hurricane Hunter squadron (VW-4) and flew "Connies" for five years out of Jacksonville, Florida and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico where the squadron was moved to in 1960. I joined PMRF Hawaii in 1963 and once again got back in the flight station of these 3 tailed wonders. Thank you for your website and the memories that it brings to an old retired ADR." As many readers might know, 141311 faces a uncertain future now that the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum has closed. It would be very expensive to disassemble the aircraft and move it to another museum and there is a very real possiblity that it could be scrapped.
Control Tower Photos from Tachikawa AB – March 10, 2016
I received an email and photos from Mac Hayes, who was stationed as a control tower operator at Tachikawa AB in Japan in 1960. "I knew Constellation N1206 c/n 2613 at Tachikawa AB, Japan, in 1960 as "N120" an FAA navaid flight-check aircraft. This plane was notable to me for having outboard vertical stabilizers and rudders from a L-1049…at least they were taller than standard L649/749 vertical fins. Here is my photo of N120 on the runway at Tachikawa AB. And while I am at it, AF 80612 and 80613, also in 1960 at Tachikawa. I was a control tower operator and these photos are all from the control tower."
Mac is correct about the vertical stablizers on N120. This aircraft was one of two prototype WV-1 aircraft built for the U.S. Navy based on a L749 fuselage with larger Super Constellation vertical stabilizers. The larger vertical stabilizers were required due to the large upper and lower radomes installed on these aircraft. The U.S. Navy retired both in 1957 and they went to the CAA (now FAA) as N119 and N120. Used by the FAA for navaid calibration, they were retired in 1966 with N119 being scrapped in the early 1970's and N120 currently in storage at Salina, Kansas as N1206. 80612 (48-612) was restored in 2001/02 and flown to Holland, where it is currently on static display at the Aviodrome in Lelystad. 80613 (48-613) was sold to Rod Lewis in April 2015 and ferried to Chino, California in January 2016, where it is currently undergoing restoration. Rod plans on putting her on the airshow circuit when the restoration is completed in 1-2 years.
1969 EC-121R Crash Landing at Otis AFB – March 9, 2016
Les Kenyon recently dusted off some old photos of a landing accident involving EC-121R 67-21476 that occurred on January 24, 1969 at Otis AFB. Les recalls the incident: "I remember being called out to secure the area and it was very foggy. After the fog burned off as the sun came up, I remember the clean and straight cut off tree tops of the short pines and the plow marks in the ground showed how it had spun and came to a stop I think within 100 yards of the runway. BTW...The young handsome fella on the right in one of the photos is me." Thirty former U.S. Navy EC- 121s were converted to EC-121Rs by Lockheed Air Service at Ontario, California in 1967 and used for collecting reconnaissance data in Southeast Asia. Most were assigned to the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, which was activated at Otis AFB in 1967. The aircraft wore tactical green/brown camouflage colors and had both their upper and lower radomes removed. The aircraft were deployed to Korat and U-Tapao, Thailand with training being conducted at Otis using C-121C and EC-121R aircraft.
Larry Westin has an excellent website which has lots of information about EC-121R operations with the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing at Korat. The website also includes the first two pages of the USAF official accident report of the January 1969 landing incident at Otis.
SCFA Super Constellation Photos at EuroAirport – January 19, 2016
Matthias Pühl is fortunate to live near EuroAirport, where the Breitling Super Constellation is based during the summer flying season. He recently sent me some photos taken at the airport on October 3, 2015.
Christler Flying Service Constellations in August 1973 – November 29, 2015
Michael Kenney was recently going through some vintage 1973 New Mexico Department of Agriculture documents that were ready to be trashed when he came across some very interesting photos of Christler Flying Service Constellations N9464 and N9466. The photos were taken in August 1973 when the two aircraft were under contract to apply Malathion and Sevin insecticide to New Mexico rangelands. The Connies were capable of spraying 2-3,000 gallons of insecticide per mission with the insecticide being carried in fuselage tanks and dispersed through over-wing spray booms. While he isn’t 100% sure, Michael believes that the photos were taken at Roswell, New Mexico. N9464 went on to become the MATS Connie and is currently on display at the Korean Air training facility at Jeju Island, South Korea. N9466 crashed while on approach to Harry Truman Airport, St. Thomas, VI on October 26, 1981, with the wreckage sinking in about 150 feet of water off the coast. I’d like to thank Michael for saving the photos and then forwarding them to me for publication. If not for his efforts, they would have been lost forever.
KLM Super Constellation Photos – November 27, 2015
Wouter Geusebroek worked at Fokker Aircraft during the 1960’s and sent me a photo of L1049G PH-LKR being scrapped in an area next to the Fokker factory in 1964. It was delivered to KLM in June 1953 as PH-TFR “Electron” and withdrawn from service a short eight years later in July 1961. Its registration was changed to PH-LKR in February 1954. KLM retired its Super Constellation fleet in August 1962 after utilizing the type for only a relatively short time. While some were sold to other operators in 1962/63, by early 1966 all were gone with at least 15 being scrapped at Schiphol Airport. Walter also sent a group of photos of PH-LKY after it crashed two miles from Shannon Airport in the shallow waters of the River Shannon estuary shortly after taking off for New York on September 5, 1954. While damage to the aircraft was relatively minor, 28 of the 56 on board drowned after being overcome by avgas fumes. It had been delivered to KLM as PH-TFY “Triton” in August 1953 with its registration changed to –LKY in March 1954.
1959 Photos of Lufthansa Starliner D-ALER at Idlewild Airport - October 26, 2015
Dan Elliott sent me some fascinating photos of Lufthansa L1649A Starliner D-ALER taken by his father in 1959 at the old International Arrivals Building at Idlewild Airport (now JFK) in New York. His grandmother flew to Germany onboard the Starliner in the spring of that year and returned to the U.S. a few months later in the fall. Both flights were on D-ALER. The first six photos show passengers boarding the aircraft followed by the engines running and finally the aircraft taxiing out for departure. In addition to the Starliner there are a number of other interesting aircraft in these photos including an Alitaila DC-7C and a KLM DC-7C and Super Constellation parked at the terminal waiting to board passengers. A photo of the Starliner taxiing away from the terminal also includes a Cubana Britannia and an Eastern M404. The last two photographs were taken when Dan’s grandmother returned from Germany in the fall of 1959 and it’s interesting to note that everyone is dressed in their Sunday best outfits. Today’s travelers take a much more casual approach! D-ALER went on fly with World Airways and Trek Airways before being scrapped in Johannesburg in June 1970.
EC-121K BuNo 141311 at Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum – October 22, 2015
Joe Kokes visited the Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum on October 3, 2015 and forwarded some interesting photos of EC-121K BuNo 141311. It's amazing how much electronic equipment was crammed into these aircraft. The heat generated must have been tremendous. Hopefully this iconic aircraft can be spared the scrapman's axe.
EC-121K BuNo 141311 at Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum – September 28, 2015
Mike Hatcher sent me some recent photos of EC-121K BuNo 141311, which has been on display at the Octave Chanute Museum for many years. As reported on the website on April 29, 2015, the museum is closing on December 30, 2015 and the future of this aircraft and others in the collection is very much in doubt.
VC-121E 53-7885 "Columbine III" at the National Museum of the USAF – September 21, 2015
Nick Franga visited the National Museum of the USAF on September 13, 2015 and emailed a report and some very nice B&W photos. ”Earlier in the week I made a trip down to Dayton to the USAF museum to visit Columbine III in person. I thought I’d make the trip before the hangar closes in October to begin the move of the presidential planes over to the new hangar that’s almost done. This was the first time I’ve ever been up close to a Super Constellation, and boy was she a majestic sight! Photographing Columbine was the most exciting bit of aviation photography I’ve been able to do this year after having a total bust with multiple airshows around Ohio. She’s a curvaceous delight to capture on my camera, and to be able to photograph a plane with no barricades and minimal obstructions was the highlight of it all. The other presidential VIP planes were equally as fascinating, though nothing can come close to the beauty that the Connie possesses."
VC-121A 48-613 "Bataan" at Planes of Fame Museum in Valle, AZ – August 29, 2015
Simon Youens visited the Planes of Fame Museum annex in Valle, Arizona on August 23, 2015 and forwarded the following photos to me. The aircraft is being prepared for a ferry flight to Chino, California where it will undergo restoration. The aircraft's new owner, Lewis Air Legends, plans on putting this historic aircraft on the airshow circuit after restoration is complete.
Rare L049 Constellation N2520B in Santa Cruz, Bolivia – August 23, 2015
There hasn't been any recent photos published of L049 Constellation N2520B and I was beginning to think that it might have been scrapped. The good news is that it is still located in the same park in Santa Cruz, Bolivia as evidenced by a group of photos Leny Castillo recently emailed me. This Constellation one of only four L049 that have managed to survive into the 21st century and its great to see that it is still being taken care of. For more information about this aircraft, check out the Constellation News page of this website.
Super Connie N4247K Awaits Shipment at Ninoy Aquino International Airport – August 21, 2015
Anton Andres recently visited Ninoy Aquino International Airport sent me some photos of C-121J N4247K, which is awaiting shipment to Australia for preservation at the Qantas Founders Museum. "Good day sir, I recently visited Ninoy Aquino International Airport for a domestic flight via seaplane. Imagine my surprise when I saw this right beside the hangar where the seaplanes were stored. It was nice to hear that Qantas is finally rescuing this Constellation to its former glory.”
For more information about the project, check out the museum’s website and the Constellation News page of this website.
Sad End for Former PNA/Western L749 Connie in Kenai – July 20, 2015
Mike Walton sent me some very interesting photos of former PNA/Western L749A N1552V after it had been chopped apart in Kenai, Alaska. This aircraft was one of six L749A Constellations operated by Pacific Northern Airlines and later Western Airlines when the two airlines merged. It was scheduled to make the last Constellation flight from Anchorage to Juneau on November 26, 1968 and made the outbound flight to Juneau, where it went unserviceable. The return trip to Anchorage was made by Constellation N86525 and that flight ended scheduled passenger operations in North America. N1552V was donated to the City of Kenai for display but enthusiasm for displaying the aircraft waned and it was scrapped in the late 1980’s or early 90’s. “I recently came across these pictures. I flew as a flight engineer on this plane with Pacific Northern Airlines and Western Airlines. It was donated to the City of Kenai, Alaska in late 1968 when Western phased out the six Connies they had. After years of sitting at the airport, the town decided they didn't need this bit of Alaskan and aviation history. I flew the MATS Connie a couple of times and got to know Vern Raburn. I sent him the pictures and contacts hoping he could do something with the aircraft. He had an idea to work with the Museum of Flight in Seattle to bring the aircraft to Seattle but unfortunately those involved in Anchorage didn’t follow up with him and it was chopped up in the late 80’s or early 90’s. This was a former BOAC aircraft with electric props. The pictures of 52V were taken by the son of Maury Goeff, who was the chief mechanic in Anchorage for PNA in the 1950’s and 60’s. I don’t know the name of the fellow in the pictures. I believe the pictures of 52V were taken in Kenai as the airport probably had the wreckage carted away. I ferried two of the Western Connies to Las Vegas in November/December of 1968 for storage.”
It’s a real shame that this historically significant aircraft wasn’t saved but unfortunately in the late 1980’s there wasn’t a whole lot of interest in preserving Constellations; especially one that had become derelict.
World Airways L1649A at Wake Island in 1963 – June 8, 2015
As a young USAF airman, Rob Honeycutt had the good fortune of experiencing a memorable (and long) flight on World Airways L1649A Starliner N45512 from Travis AFB in California to Kadena AFB on Okinawa. “I thought you might like to add this photo to your site. I took it in February 1963 as I rode this Connie from Travis AFB-Honolulu-Wake Island-Kadena, Okinawa…quite a long trip. I was in USAF at the time headed to Kadena AFB, Okinawa. This was a great plane and I loved the ride! I think we were up in air over 10 hours on the last leg from Wake to Kadena! Glad to see that the plane survived the axe!” The aircraft is currently on display at Fantasy of Flight in faded Lufthansa colors and was on an 18-month lease to World Airways from Lufthansa when Rob traveled aboard her back in 1963.
Super Connie Model Sits atop Pennsylvania BP Gas Station – June 8, 2015
For 30 years Super Constellation N1005C sat atop a restaurant alongside US 1 in Penndel, PA. The aircraft was removed from the restaurant and disassembled in July 1997 after the property had been sold to the Amoco Oil Company. Rather than selling the airplane for scrap, the company donated the Super Constellation to the AMC Museum at Dover AFB, where it was restored and is currently on display as a C-121C military transport. An Amoco gas station was built on the property and Chuck Grube recently sent me a photo of the gas station (now BP), which includes a sizeable Super Constellation model on top of the station’s sign. I wonder how many of the thousands of folks that pass by the gas station every day realize what that model signifies. For lots more photos and information about the aircraft, check out the November 2009 article on this website.
Super Constellation VH-EAG at 2013 Australian Airshows - April 6, 2015
Peter Soderstrom sent me photos of C-121C VH-EAG. The first group of photos were taken at the 2013 Temora Air Show and the second group was taken at the 2013 Avalon Air Show.
SAA Museum L1649A Parts at Rand Airport - March 28, 2015
Michael S. Prophet visited the South African Airways Museum at Rand Airport on March 1, 2015 and photographed engines and empennage parts from Starliner ZS-DVJ. The main fuselage is parked at Johannesburg International Airport, where it is awaiting transit to Rand Airport. Michael asked to photograph the fuselage but this was not possible due to its being parked in a military area. For more information about the aircraft and the museum’s effort to have it moved to Rand, check out the August 6, 2014 report on this website.
L749A F-ZVMV at the 2003 Open House at the Musee d'Air - March 27, 2015
Back in February 2004, during the very early days of this website, I received an email from Christophe Tabourin offering to send me photos of L749A F-ZVMV. Christophe had taken the photos at the 2003 Musee d’Air Open House, which was held on September 20, 2003. At the time I had nowhere to post the photos and, after saving them to my hardrive, I unfortunately forgot about them. Eleven years later, I came across them while cleaning up some files and decided they would be perfect for this page.
BuNo 137890 Being Prepped for 1985 Ferry Flight - March 25, 2015
Robert Alan Carter sent me photos of BuNo 137890 being prepped at Davis Monthan AFB for a October 1, 1985 ferry flight to Tinker AFB, OK. The aircraft is currently on display at the Heritage Air Park Museum at Tinker marked in USAF colors as 0-30552.
Robert's photos reminded me that I had received some great photos of the EC-121's ferry flight and arrival at Tinker AFB from my friend Marty Hall back in March 2011. The photos were taken by Steve Link, who has also shared them on Facebook and other aviation related websites. Note that the #3 prop was feathered when the aircraft arrived at Tinker AFB.
Former TAP Super Connie at Faro, Portugal - March 1, 2015
George Riedesel sent me these photos of former TAP L1049G CS-TLA taken at Faro, Portugal some time between 1989 and 1991. After retirement from TAP, the aircraft flew in the Biafran Airlift as 5N-83H until abandoned at Faro in 1969. It was converted to a restaurant in 1981 and was open until at least 1986. By 1989 the aircraft was disassembled and stored at the airport. It was burned by vandals in 1999 and the remains were moved to a scrapyard a year later.
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----Created 25 March 2015-----Updated 4 September 2018