Events

May 20, 2013

Kansas City museum raising cash to fly ‘Connie’

Tags:
Heather Hollingsworth
Associated Press

ap-lm-connie1
The National Airline History Museum in Kansas City, Mo., is trying to raise $3.2 million to restore its Lockheed Constellation propeller-driven aircraft and recreate multimillionaire aviator Howard Hughes’ record-setting cross-country flight in the plane that transformed commercial air travel.

The Kansas City museum’s Constellation, or ìConnie,î is one of only a handful of the 856 that were built and is still airworthy – with a little work. The museum is planning to fly it on April 17, 2014 – the 70th anniversary of the 1944 inaugural flight piloted by Hughes and TWA president and co-founder Jack Frye. The nonstop flight took 6 hours and 58 minutes, cutting the time of previous coast-to-coast flights in half.

It was a major leap forward, which is why we want to do the flight because it was so significant in the development of the airline industry,î said John Roper, the museum’s vice president of operations. ìIt was more than national travel; it ushered in global travel.

The museum will recreate the journey with the aid of a copy of the original flight log, beginning in Burbank, Calif., and ending in Washington, D.C. Along the way, it will pass over the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and the Virginias.

Roper said he hoped that a few celebrities who are aviation enthusiasts would join a volunteer crew of pilots, flight engineers, mechanics and flight attendants.
ap-lm-connie2
What we are really trying to do is by getting the aircraft flying is to bring attention to a time in the airline industry when air travel was much more luxurious and it was an elegant affair and there was some romance to flying on the airlines,î said Roper, himself a pilot who wants a chance to fly the Connie himself.

Eventually, the advent of jet airliners made the plane obsolete, and it stopped transporting passengers in the late 1960s. It continued to ferry freight for a while longer. The museum obtained its Constellation in 1986, spent two years restoring it and flew it until 2007, when finances dried up as the economy faltered.

The plane, a Model L-1049H, was one of the last Constellations off Lockheed’s assembly lines in 1958. It’s painted in TWA colors because the former airline, which once was headquartered in Kansas City, relied so heavily on the plane in its early years.

The museum is seeking out corporate sponsors and collecting smaller donations from former Connie pilots and fans of the plane through pilot and aircraft associations.

Roper said the museum plans to spend around $1 million to make the plane ready for flight. The remaining money would be used to cover the cost of operating the plane. In addition to recreating the 1944 flight, the museum plans to spend a couple of months beforehand stopping in different cities in the western U.S. and then touring cities in the eastern half of the county afterward. The crew that accompanies the plane will talk about the history of the airlines and commercial aviation aircraft.

Hopefully, this is going to be one those things that captures the heart of America a little bit,î Roper said. ìWe definitely intend to have the aircraft be an ambassador to Kansas City and promote the history of the airline industry in Kansas City because TWA started here in Kansas City.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 31, 2015

News: Carter: Military leaders could arm more troops at home – Following the recent fatal shooting of four Marines and a sailor in Tennessee, Defense Secretary Ash Carter is ordering the military services to consider new policies that would enhance security for troops at home, including potentially arming more personnel.   Business: DOD weighs supplier base,...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

U.S. delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt The United States Embassy in Cairo says the U.S. is delivering eight newer F-16 warplanes to Egypt as part of an ongoing military support package. It says in a July 30 statement that the aircraft, of the current Block 52 production variant, will be flown in from...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

Lockheed Martin successfully tests design changes for Orion spacecraft’s fairing separation system

Lockheed Martin photograph A protective panel for Orion’s service module is jettisoned during testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, California facility. This test series evaluated design changes to the spacecraft’s fair...
 

 

Australian company to provide parts for initial production of Triton UAS

Northrop Grumman has awarded the first Australian supplier contract for the U.S. Navy’s MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system initial production lot to Ferra Engineering. Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering will manufacture mechanical sub-assemblies for the first four Triton air vehicles including structural components. “At Northrop Grumman it’s very important to not only develop...
 
 
Boeing photograph

CH-46 ‘Phrog’ makes its last hop

Boeing photograph The CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter commonly known as the “Phrog,” is set to retire and to be flown one last time by Reserve Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 774 on Aug. 1. The CH-46 Sea Knight is a med...
 
 

Insitu awarded LRIP Lot IV RQ-21A Blackjack Systems contract

Under the terms of its latest contract, Insitu will build six RQ-21A Blackjack systems for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The $78-million Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Lot IV Low Rate Initial Production contract is the latest event in the program’s progression toward the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase.   “This award will...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>