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 March 30, 2015

News: Pentagon chief mulls easing military enlistment standards - Defense Secretary Ash Carter is considering easing some military enlistment standards as part of a broader set of initiatives to better attract and keep quality service members and civilians across the Defense Department.   Business: Lockheed pays $2 million to settle government overbilling charges - Lockheed Martin Corpor...
 
 

News Briefs March 30, 2015

Landing mishap for military chopper; two aboard unhurt Two Navy officers were unhurt after their helicopter rolled on its side while landing in the Florida Panhandle. The mishap happened the night of March 27 at a Navy landing site in Pensacola, Fla. The Pensacola News Journal reports a pilot instructor and a student were able...
 
 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht

Laser-based aircraft countermeasure provides ‘unlimited rounds’ against MANPADS

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Matt Hecht A U.S. Army AH-64 Apache attack helicopter prepares to depart Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, on Jan 7, 2012. The Apache conducts distributed operations, precision strikes against relocat...
 

 

Navy, Air Force advocate for modernizing combat aviation

Top Navy and Air Force officials today told the House Armed Services subcommittee on tactical air and land forces the president’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 will support modernizing combat aviation programs. Cavy Vice Adm. Paul A. Grosklags, principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisitions; Air...
 
 

Raytheon wins $46 million contract for South Korean Global Hawk ground stations

Raytheon has been awarded a contract valued at up to $45.7 million by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems for ground segments in support of four Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems recently purchased by the Republic of Korea. Under this contract, Raytheon will deliver one building-based and one mobile ground segment to locations in South Korea. Work...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo

McConnell community marks B-29 rollout

Air Force photograph by SrA. Victor J. Caputo A B-29 Superfortress aircraft, named Doc after its nose art, sit on the flightline March 23, 2015, in Wichita, Kan. Doc will be one of two Superfortresses in the world capable of fl...
 




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>