Connie Visitors


The L-749 Constellation and the L-1049 Super Constellation were operated by Qantas and these aircraft are covered in greater detail elsewhere on this site. This page remembers some of the more exotic Connies that visited Australia.


USAF VC-121A 48-609 (MSN 2601) at Essendon, Melbourne in October 1953. The aircraft was carrying the Vice-President of the United States, Richard Nixon, his wife and a party of State Department officials on a 72 day goodwill tour of 15 Pacific and Asian countries. The original published itinerary had the aircraft departing Washington on 6 October, arriving in Sydney on 15 October, Melbourne on 17 October, Canberra on 19 October and Darwin on 20 October. However, later press reports suggest that the aircraft arrived in Melbourne on 18 October and departed on 19 October. Richard Nixon was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1952 Presidential elections. The Constellation later became a popular attraction at U.S. airshows from 1992 to 2000 as the "MATS Connie". The aircraft is now preserved in unfortunately inappropriate Korean Airlines colours at Jeju Island, South Korea.
Picture: Captain Alf Fartch (ANA) via Maurice Austin Collection
Air India L-1049G VT-DIL (MSN 4646) Rani of Nilgiris at Mascot in 1956. This aeroplane operated a proving flight Bombay-Madras-Singapore-Darwin-Sydney arriving on 4 September 1956 and the inaugural service arriving Sydney on 7 October 1956 so it is speculated that this photograph could have been taken on either of these dates.
Picture: Brian Reed via Eric Allen
L-749A N4901C (MSN 2671) of Capitol Airways at Mascot on 27 March 1965. This aircraft was delivered new to Howard Hughes as N6025C on 25 June 1951 but it never entered service with TWA. It was stored in a hangar at Burbank and its engines were run periodically although the aircraft was not flown. Eventually it was sold to BOAC as G-ANNT in August 1954. BOAC sold it to Capitol Airways as N4901C in April 1958. By September 1966 it was out of service and stored as N6695C. It was donated to the Bradley Air Museum in Connecticut and delivered by air on 16 March 1970. Curiously, the aeroplane carried two registrations (N4901C and N6695C) for the delivery flight. Sadly it was damaged beyond repair by a tornado on 3 October 1979 and subsequently broken up. Picture: Eric Allen
L-1049H N6936C (MSN 4849) of Slick Airways at Mascot on 24 April 1965. Originally ordered by TWA, this aircraft was actually delivered to Slick Airways in August 1959. Slick sold it to Airlift International on 1 July 1966. On 22 June 1967 the aircraft was operating a contract mail flight from the Philippines to Saigon when it collided in midair with a USAF RF-4C Phantom 65-0861 four miles north of Saigon. All crew on board the Connie perished and the aircraft was totally destroyed. Picture: Eric Allen
United States Navy R7V-1 (L-1049B) Bu No 131659 (MSN 4160) at Brisbane, Eagle Farm circa February 1973. The aircraft was based at Naval Air Station Agana in Guam. The aircraft was retired to MASDC Davis Monthan at Tucson, Arizona in July 1974 and was subsequently scrapped. Picture: Brian Horsey
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) at Mascot on 9 October 1966. This aircraft was operated by the Naval Research Laboratory at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland until January 1967 when it was retired to MASDC Davis Monthan and subsequently scrapped.
Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) at Mascot on 9 October 1966. This aircraft was operated by the Naval Research Laboratory at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland until January 1967 when it was retired to MASDC Davis Monthan and subsequently scrapped.
Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) at Mascot on 31 October 1966. Since its visit earlier in October the aircraft has acquired a name. El Fiasco sounds grand but it is probably not intended to be complimentary.Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) taking off from Mascot on 31 October 1966.
Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) taking off from Mascot on 31 October 1966. Since its visit earlier in October the aircraft has lost its dayglo markings and acquired the mother of all zaps on the upper radome. Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121P Bu No 135753 (MSN 4320) at Darwin circa November 1966. The large kangaroo zap has been applied to both sides of the upper radome. Picture: P. Gabbett via SAAM
EC-121K Bu No 141309 (MSN 4433) at Mascot on 21 September 1968. This aircraft features two smaller radomes top and bottom for use by the Pacific Missile Range at NAS Point Mugu, California. The aircraft was retired to MASDC by March 1978 and was subsequently scrapped. Picture: Eric Allen
EC-121K Bu No 141311 (MSN 4435) at Mascot on 28 September 1968. This aircraft features two smaller radomes top and bottom for use by the Pacific Missile Range at NAS Point Mugu, California. The inscription on the tail reads; Pacific Missile Range Hawaii Facilities. The aircraft was retired to MASDC by May 1979. On 4 June 1983 the aircraft made its final flight to Chanute AFB in Rantoul, Illinois where it was placed on display. In May 2017 the aircraft was dismantled for road transportation to the Yankee Air Museum at Belleville, Michigan where it was reassembled by 26 July 2017. Thanks to Mike Willmann of the YAM for correcting the previous report that the aircraft had been scrapped.Picture: Eric Allen
One particular Connie which always drew a lot of attention was the U.S. Navy's Project Magnet NC-121K Bu No 145925 (MSN 5506). Finished in a glorious white and orange colour scheme and carrying the Road Runner cartoon character on the forward fuselage, the aeroplane was named Paisano Dos (Friend No 2). Project Magnet began in 1951 with the objective of mapping the earth's magnetic field. The aeroplane entered service with Project Magnet in November 1962 and was retired in May 1973. Sadly, this distinctive aeroplane was subsequently scrapped at Davis Monthan on 28th May 1976.
P
icture: Eric Allen
The starboard nose landing gear door of NC-121K Bu No 145925 carries the flags of nations visited during Project Magnet. Picture: Eric Allen
Without any suggestion of a curvature of the earth departure, Paisano Dos fairly leaps into the air at Mascot on 24 April 1965. Picture: Eric Allen
Paisano Dos tucks up her gear on departure from Mascot on 24 April 1965.
Picture: Eric Allen
NC-121K Bu No 145925 arriving at Perth in March 1970. Picture: Geoff Goodall
NC-121K Bu No 145925 at Essendon on 3 November 1962.
Picture:
John Hopton (p4600-0346)
VC-121E 0-37885 (MSN 4151) landing at Mascot on 3 October 1964. Clearly a special Connie, this aeroplane was once President Eisenhower's Columbine III but by the time she visited Australia she had been replaced by a Boeing 707 as Air Force One. This aircraft was retired to the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio on 20 April 1966. Picture: Eric Allen
L-1649A Starliner ZS-DVJ (MSN 1042) of Trek Airways at Perth in July 1965. The aircraft operated on behalf of South African Airways from 7 May 1965 until 28 September 1965 on the South Africa to Australia run.Picture: Merv Prime

 

 

Issue
Date
Remarks
5
07FEB21
Added an image of VC-121A Constellation 48-609 thanks to Maurice Austin.
4
26JUL20
Corrected the caption to EC-121K 141311. This aircraft was not scrapped and is now on display at the Yankee Air Museum. Thanks to Mike Willman of the YAM for this correction.
3
16OCT19
Added an image of Trek Airways L-1649 Starliner ZS-DVJ thanks to Merv Prime and Geoff Goodall.
2
30AUG19
Added an image of Air India L-1049G VT-DIL thanks to the late Brian Reed and Eric Allen.
1
15AUG19
Original issue. Historical information sourced from The Lockheed Constellation Series by Peter J. Marson, Air-Britain Historians, 1982.



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