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Aviation History And Aircraft Photography

Connie Photo Pass

Airplane Photo

  • Type:   Lockheed 1049 Super G Constellation
  • Venue:   Davenport Municipal Airport
  • Location:   Davenport, Iowa
  • Date:  
  • Camera:   Minolta 7000i w/150-300mm Zoom
  • Film:   Fuji ASA 100 Color Print Film
  • Full Size Photo (~250kb)

This is a Lockheed Constellation airliner making a pass at the annual Quad Cities Airshow in Davenport, Iowa. The Connie was on the drawing board at the start of WWII. Due to the war, it did not enter into commercial service. The USAAF took over the existing airframes, and took ownership of the few Connies that did come off of the assembly line during the war. After WWII, a new, larger Connie, the 1049, entered into commercial service. As far as prop airliners go, the Connie was the luxury liner of its day. The jet airliners started making the scene in the late 1950's and early 1960's, and before we knew it, the prop airliners were gone. Most were relegated to 3rd world fly-by-night airlines or flying fish out of Alaska. This Connie was one of the lucky ones. She was saved by a group of TWA employees under the name “Save A Connie”. They wanted to paint her in TWA colors, but TWA would not assume the public relations risk. So, she was painted exactly like a TWA jet, but with the TWA lettering replaced with ‘SAC’. Later, TWA went belly-up, and the SAC Connie was quickly repainted with the TWA logo. The Save A Connie people have since saved other prop airliners, and they have a museum located at the downtown Kansas City Airport.

The military continued to use Constellations after WWII. It was a favorite VIP transport for the Military Airlift Command (MATS). Several were used for fast cargo prior to the advent of jet transports like the C-141. The Navy also jumped on the Connie bandwagon, using the Connie as the first AWACS platform (aerial radar for early warning and theater air control). The Connies stood watch over Vietnam during the entire war era, orbiting off shore making endless circles while directing air operations 24 hours a day.

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