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 May 27, 2015

News: U.S. Air Force certifies SpaceX for military launches - SpaceX has been certified for military space launch, the U.S. Air Force announced May 26. The long-awaited announcement is a game changer, with SpaceX becoming only the second provider cleared by the service to launch national security payloads into orbit.   Business: Northrop Grumman CEO issues...
 
 

New’s Briefs May 27, 2015

U.S. military begins search flights for stranded Rohingya The United States has begun military surveillance flights to help locate stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people in Southeast Asian seas. State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said May 26 that U.S. Navy P8 aircraft flew over the weekend with Malaysian support. Rathke said the U.S. has offered...
 
 
nasa-commercial-crew

Commercial Crew milestones met; partners on track for 2017 missions

NASA has taken another step toward returning America’s ability to launch crew missions to the International Space Station from the United States in 2017. The Commercial Crew Program ordered its first crew rotation mission fro...
 

 
af-spacex

Air Force certifies SpaceX for national security space missions

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force program executive officer for space, has announced the certification of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation’s Falco...
 
 

Northrop Grumman passes key design review for B-2 weapons management upgrade

Northrop Grumman has successfully demonstrated to the U.S. Air Force that its plans to upgrade key weapons management software for the B-2 stealth bomber are on track and ready to proceed to the next level of development. The company successfully completed the critical design review of the service’s Flexible Strike Phase 1 program on Feb...
 
 
boeing-space

Boeing awarded first-ever commercial human spaceflight mission

NASA issued a task order as part of Boeing’s $4.2 billion Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contract recently to include the company’s first-ever service flight to the International Space Station. The award ...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>