Southern Aurora
Southern Prodigal

Type: L-1049G-82-153 Super Constellation
MSN: 4679
Subsequent Identities: N9722C


57 Built as L-1049G-82-153.
24OCT57 First flown.
25OCT57 CofR No 2879 issued to Qantas Empire Airways as VH-EAO.
25OCT57 Accepted by Qantas as VH-EAO "Southern Aurora".
26OCT57 Departed Burbank on delivery to Sydney via Honolulu.
28OCT57 Arrived Sydney. This was the first time a commercial airliner had flown from Honolulu to Sydney non-stop. Flight Time: 22:18. Total Time: 37:58. (Capt A.A.E. Yates).
30NOV57 Test flown.
02DEC57 Entered service (to Hong Kong).
20DEC57 Departed Sydney on a round the world proving and goodwill flight. The names of the cities on Qantas' round the world route were painted on the fuselage. (Capt R.A. Bruce).
08JAN58 Returned to Sydney.
14JAN58 Departed Melbourne on Qantas' inaugural round the world service via the "Southern Cross" route. (Capt K.D. Mears). The philatelic mail was carried from Sydney to Sydney by VH-EAO (see flown cover). See also VH-EAP which departed at the same time in the opposite direction via the "Kangaroo Route".
20JAN58 Returned to Sydney. Flying Time: 128 hours.
c.58 The aircraft was photographed with tip tank markings in high visibility DayGlo paint.
Read more about DayGlo Paint
12AUG59 En route San Francisco to New York, a vibration in the number four propeller was experienced during cruise at 13,000 feet. Unable to feather the propeller, the aircraft diverted to Lovelock, Nevada after dumping fuel. The engine seized and shortly after, at 1,500 feet on base leg, the propeller separated. There was no further damage and the aeroplane landed safely. Picture
19SEP59 Cancelled from Australian Register.
13OCT59 Sold to Lockheed as N9722C. Total Time: 5,874:09. Landings: 932.
14OCT59 Departed Sydney on delivery to Ontario. (Capt Harry Mills).
18AUG60 Qantas leased the aircraft back from Lockheed because of a shortage of capacity. Total Time: 5,903:07.
19AUG60 Departed Portland on delivery to Sydney via Honolulu and Nadi.
21AUG60 Arrived Sydney. Total Time: 5,934:07.
23AUG60 Returned to the Australian Register as VH-EAO. Qantas re-named the aeroplane "Southern Prodigal".
24AUG60 Re-entered Qantas service (to Melbourne, Auckland, Nadi and Sydney).
31MAR61 Sold to Qantas by Lockheed.
29APR61 Departed Sydney for Perth where the aircraft was based until 16JUN61.
13JUL61 Departed Sydney for Madrid on a ships crew and migrant charter.
27SEP61 Departed Sydney for Butterworth, Malaya.
23DEC61 Based in Perth until 11FEB62.
13FEB62 Departed Sydney on its last Qantas service, a migrant charter.
25FEB62 Operated its last training sortie to Narromine.
05MAR63 Cancelled from the Australian Register. Re-registered N86682 on sale to California Airmotive Corp. Departed Sydney on delivery to Burbank via Nadi, Honolulu and San Francisco. Flight Time: 29:40. Total Time: 10,299:53 (Capt. S.D. Brown).
65 To American Flyers Airline Corp.
NOV68 Returned to California Airmotive and stored at Fox Field, Lancaster, California.
70 Cancelled from the U.S. Register.
NOV71 Only the fuselage remained by this date. Scrapped shortly afterwards.

Issue Date Remarks
7 04AUG22
Added an image thanks to Eric Allen.
6 24MAY21
Added an image of the aircraft wearing tip tanks with DayGlo markings. Thanks to Ben Dannecker.
5 30JAN21
Added an image of the aircraft after it shed a propeller in August 1959. Thanks to Amanda Louise Curran whose father Kenneth John Tubbs took the photo.
4 25FEB16
Revised presentation of type.
3 29DEC15
Added an image of the aircraft and another flown cover carried on the round-world inaugural. Both thanks to Phil Vabre.
2 14SEP00
Extra detail added thanks to Eric Favelle.

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