Lockheed Constellation and Super Constellation

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Photos of civil airliners from around the world

A convertible model, the D was built for Seaboard and Western Airlines in They were fitted with reinforced flooring and they had main deck cargo loading doors on the part side of the fuselage, fore and aft of the wings. They could carry either 18 tons of freight or up to passengers. Maximum take—off weight was , lb. A Model E was delivered between May and April which was identical to the C but with the increased take-off and landing weight of the D.

The F was followed by a "G" model which was determined to be the most successful version of the Super Constellation. It was powered by 3, h. The Super Constellation and its derivatives represent, along with the Douglas DC-7, the ultimate step in the development of longer range, more capacity and more powerful piston-engined aircraft to meet the needs of both commercial and military aviation.

Welcome on board of the SCFA

It was able to take advantage of the s additional capacity to absorb an increased holiday seasonal demand. A decade later on April 30, , Eastern inaugurated its revolutionary air shuttle, no-reservation service, Washington-New York-Boston with Super Constellations. Incidentally, as it turns out, the last use of the Super Constellations by a major U.

TWA, a co-sponsor with EAL on the design of the Super Constellation, first used the Model on its domestic network in September , and when it received the higher performance "C" version, it began scheduled non-stop transcontinental service on October 19, , a first for the industry. On its trans-Atlantic routes, TWA made use of its early Super Constellation models, but on November 1, , it could offer improved service, using its newer Model lGs which enabled it to operate non-stop most of the time, at least in the eastbound direction. Over the Atlantic and other long distance routes, the Super Constellation was also operated by several former Constellation operators, until Lockheed was again challenged by Douglas and its DC-7C, the first aircraft capable of flying non-stop in both directions over the North Atlantic.

The outcome, the Model A Starliner, which entered service on June 1, , it was the most attractive of the Constellation series, but its success was short lived for in six months it was overtaken in by the faster, turbine-powered Bristol Britannia and jet aircraft the Boeing which finally made all propeller-driven aircraft obsolescent in October When the age of piston-powered passenger transport aircraft was coming to a close, Lockheed offered to carriers a convertible Model H, suggesting that when they were no longer competitive in the passenger market they could convert to carrying cargo.

This second hand market did materialize briefly with the H model but the market for s soon dried up as they were becoming too expensive to operate and maintain. This was time consuming and costly even with wonderful support from Qantas. Connie is one of only two flying L Super Constellations in the world. The other is the Breitling Super Constellation in Switzerland. Amazingly both aircraft were built next to each other in the factory.

Connie is and Breitling Constellation is She was known as Columbine II. The wings of the new model were strengthened, cabin soundproofing was increased, and the landing gear retraction system was improved. A new series of interior layouts was offered for the new model; "Siesta" 47 passengers with increased luxury , "Intercontinental" 54 - 60 passengers and "Inter-urban" passengers.

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Lockheed Constellation

Each of these new layouts included reading lights at each seat. A freighter version, the LD, first flew in August It had two cargo doors on the left side and a reinforced magnesium floor as used on the R7V-1 military variant of the LB. At the time of its first flight, the LD was the largest civil cargo aircraft. Two of the four LD aircraft were later converted to LH standards.

The LE was more successful; 28 were delivered to eight airlines. Lockheed thought of fitting a new variant based on the LE with more powerful engines, but the project was cancelled.


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A new Bendix or RCA weather radar could be installed in the nose, which changed the nosecone shape. New Hamilton Standard or Curtiss Electric propellers were offered.

How the Constellation Became the Star of the Skies | Lockheed Martin

Over LG aircraft were ordered by sixteen airlines. The LH flew on November 20, The aircraft could carry up to people with seats, luggage lockers and toilets all available along with the option of decorating the walls of the aircraft. When not in use, the luggage lockers and seats could be stowed in the lower hold. The aircraft entered service with Qantas a month later. A final variant was planned in , known as the LJ. The first production L flew on July 14, and received certification in November The Turbo-compound versions of the R engine were not yet available for civil use, leaving Lockheed to use a less powerful version.

How the Constellation Became the Star of the Skies

Eastern would later operate the LC and LG. Air France used its LCs on transatlantic flights. Most Super Constellations were retired by their original operators after the advent of the Boeing and Douglas DC-8 jet airliners.