Lockheed EC-121 Super Constellation "Connie” Flies Home To Yanks Air Museum


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Lockheed EC-121 Super Constellation "Connie” Flies Home To Yanks Air Museum

By Steve Hall

January 11, 2012 - A Cold War hero will take to the skies once again as the world’s only flyable Lockheed EC-121 Super Constellation "Connie” flies home to Yanks Air Museum for permanent display on Saturday, January 14, 2012. 

The Lockheed Constellation was a propeller-driven aircraft powered by four 18-cylinder radial Wright R-3350 engines. It was built by Lockheed between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, facility. A total of 856 aircraft were produced in numerous models, all distinguished by a triple-tail design and dolphin-shaped fuselage. The Constellation was used as a civilian airliner and as a U.S. military air transport, seeing service in the Berlin Airlift. It was the presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. 

This historic flight will bring to a close a seven-year project to get this amazing goliath aircraft back into the air. The "Connie" will take off from Camarillo Airport Saturday morning and will fly to it's new home in Chino where it will join 170 aircraft already on display at Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California.

After World War II the Constellation came into its own as a popular, fast, civilian airliner. Aircraft already in production for the USAAF as C-69 transports were finished as civilian airliners, with TWA receiving the first on 1 October 1945. TWA's first transatlantic proving flight departed Washington, DC on December 3, 1945, arriving in Paris on December 4 via Gander and Shannon.  

Trans World Airlines transatlantic service started on February 6, 1946 with a New York-Paris flight in a Constellation. On June 17, 1947 Pan American World Airways opened the first ever regularly scheduled round-the-world service with their L-749 Clipper America. The famous flight "Pan Am 1" operated until 1982. 

As the first pressurized airliner in widespread use, the Constellation helped to usher in affordable and comfortable air travel. Operators of Constellations included TWA, Eastern Air Lines, Pan American World Airways, Air France, BOAC, KLM, Qantas, Lufthansa, Iberia Airlines, Panair do Brasil, TAP Portugal, Trans-Canada Air Lines (later renamed Air Canada), Aer Lingus and VARIG. 

This aircraft had Top-Secret capabilities and monitored the skies for hostile aircraft for over 44 years during the height of the Cold War often flying missions 24 hours a day. It served over the Pacific as well as Taiwan, South Korea and Iceland during the Cuban Missile Crisis. You need only to take a look inside to see the massive electronic and technological capabilities of this aircraft.


The civilian version of the "Connie" had an illustrious career with Pan Am and TWA during the elegant era of air travel. In 1944 TWA President Jack Frye and Howard Hughes took Orville Wright up in a "Connie" for his last flight. Designed in part by the legendary Kelly Johnson the "Connie" can be easily recognized by the sleek dolphin shaped fuselage and her triple-tail design. This amazing aircraft’s engines are more powerful than eight diesel locomotives and could power an entire city. 

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see this elegant aircraft in flight as she roars overhead and touches down at the Chino Airport in Chino, California at approximately 12:00 noon on Saturday, January 14, 2012. In addition, Yanks Air Museum will be hosting a number of family-friendly activities including aircraft tours, photo ops, the opportunity to meet the crew, and signed free posters (while they last) with purchase. Limited edition signed artwork and a "first-aboard" aircraft VIP tour will also be available. To celebrate this event the museum will be open both Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

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