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Author Topic: The most successful three engined aircraft ever built.  (Read 6095 times)

Offline AVIATOR

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The most successful three engined aircraft ever built.
« on: July 21, 2009, 10:09:24 AM »
The Lockheed Constellation or Connie as she is more commonly referred to, celebrated her 60th birthday in 2003. Back then, the Constellation represented the ultimate in airline performance and luxury with 856 being built in the 1950’s for commercial and military customers.

Designed specifically for Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) in 1939, the Lockheed Model 49 "Constellation" was first flown in 1943 and almost immediately commandeered by the US Army Air Force for use as a VIP transport and titled as C-69.

Presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.



The USAAF C-69, the four engined, 40 ton Connie was actually faster than the Japanese A6M “Zero” fighter!



All Connie’s coming off the production lines until the end of WWII in 1945 bought by the military as the Army model C-69 with various civilian airlines being contracted to fly them. The Connie shared the same troublesome power plant as that used in the Boeing B-29; the Wright R-3350 Cyclone, a massive, twin row, supercharged, air-cooled, radial engine with 18 cylinders producing 2200 HP and eventually 3700 HP. As a result, the Connie suffered the same problems; overheating, engine fires, etc. At one point, Lockheed accused Wright Aeronautical of failing to properly engineer, build and inspect the engine and rather than consider a Lockheed proposal to switch to Pratt-Whitney R-2800 engines, production of the C-69 was halted while engineers tried to work out the bugs of the Wright Cyclone. These problems slowed the evolution of the Connie several times over the course of the years. Not helping matters any was that the Army assigned a low priority to the C-69. The end result being the Connie finished the war with many of its problems still needing to be addressed.
It is said that the Constellation was the most successful three engined aircraft ever as hardly a flight was completed in those early days without an engine shut down.

During its twelve year production run after the war, a total of sixteen civilian model designations were assigned to the Constellation starting with the original model 49 and progressing through model 1649.
The models 1049 were officially and aptly known as the "Super Constellation", and the 1649A as the "Starliner".

May 1955 saw work begin on the model 1649 with the aircraft still retaining the “Super Constellation” name. Shortly there-after, it was renamed the "Super Star Constellation" and finally the "Starliner".
The 1649 became the definitive Constellation which carried 9,278 gallons of fuel, nearly double the fuel capacity of the first 49 Connie. This also provided well over twice the range to over 5,400 miles with a maximum payload. With these modifications the Starliner could reach any European capitol non-stop from any major airport in the US while also being the fastest piston engined airliner at ranges over 4,000 miles ever built.



Creature comforts were abundant with cabin temperature control and ventilation being perfected from earlier models and seats that were fully reclining for comfort on long flights. The engines being set farther outboard on the longer wings meant less cabin noise. Noise was reduced further with the installation of new state of the art sound deadening materials. Everything about the Starliner was impressive; it made a handsome profit for the airlines, passengers flew in total comfort, and it was practically trouble free.
 In the end, the Connie was replaced by the fast developing technology of the jet engine, and in particular the Boeing 707 jet airliner.
And that's another story.




« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 02:20:57 AM by AVIATOR »

Offline Gripen

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Re: The most successful three engined aircraft ever built.
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2009, 12:10:15 AM »
Ive been on one of these, I thought the intertior was very narrow.

And it smelt funny  :-\

Offline AVIATOR

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Re: The most successful three engined aircraft ever built.
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 02:22:55 AM »
Ive been on one of these, I thought the intertior was very narrow.

And it smelt funny  :-\

Yeah, Gripe I don't think they supplied those handy vomit bags when you flew.

Offline Gripen

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Re: The most successful three engined aircraft ever built.
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 04:39:50 AM »
It smelt like old.

It was at Temora, I put pictures of it on Milavia somewhere..

Id look for the link...but Im lazy

 



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