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 October 29, 2014

News: Unmanned rocket explodes just six seconds after taking off - A NASA rocket due to be visible across the East Coast on its way to the International Space Station has blown up on the Launchpad. IG: Former chief of wounded warrior office broke law, DOD regs - The Defense Department inspector general has recommended “corrective action”...
 
 

News Briefs October 29, 2014

F-35C makes first landing at Virginia Beach Navy base The Navy says an operational F-35C joint strike fighter has landed at Naval Air Station Oceana for the first time. Naval Air Station Oceana is the Navy’s master jet base on the East Coast. The Navy says the plane came to the Virginia Beach base Oct....
 
 

Time to turn to American technology for space launch

For the first time since the Cold War, the United States has deployed armored reinforcements to Europe. To counter Russia’s aggression, several hundred troops and 20 tanks are now in the Baltic. Yet the U.S. military is still injecting millions into the Russian military industrial complex. In late August, the United Launch Alliance – the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Joe Davila

Boeing, Air Force demonstrate Minuteman III readiness in flight test

Air Force photograph by Joe Davila Boeing supported the launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Sept. 23, 2014. Boeing supported the U.S. Air Force’s succ...
 
 

Pentagon going to court for refusing to release Sikorsky data

PETALUMA, Calif. – The Pentagon is refusing to release any data on any prime contractors participating in the 25-year-old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program. The American Small Business League launched a program in 2010 to expose the fraud and abuse against small businesses the CSPTP had allowed. As a test the ASBL requested the most...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph

Raytheon Griffin C flight tests demonstrate in-flight retargeting capability

Northrop Grumman photograph Northrop Grumman has received a contract from the U.S. Marine Corps for low-rate initial production of the AN/TPS-80 Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR). G/ATOR is the first ground-based multi-mi...
 




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>