Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed 1049F-55-96, “Constellation”, with Federal Express Dassault Falcon 20 andPathfinder Plus in the background

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed 1049F-55-96, “Constellation”, with Federal Express Dassault Falcon 20 andPathfinder Plus in the background
Virginia Western
Image by Chris Devers
Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed 1049F-55-96, "Constellation":

In June 1938, Lockheed began design work on an airliner to satisfy a Transcontinental Western & Air (later Trans-World Airlines) (TWA), requirement for a non-stop transcontinental airliner with a 3,500-mile range and 6,000 lb. payload capability. Construction of a prototype began in 1940. The U.S. was soon involved in the Second World War and all transport production was directed to military needs and consequently the prototype first flew on January 9, 1943, as a military aircraft. Hydraulic-powered controls were used, full feathering and reversing propellers were also installed. First known by its civil designator as Model 049, it soon became better known during wartime by its military designation, the C-69 Constellation. Improvements were steadily made, beginning with the L-649, which was the first Constellation built as a commercial type and the L-749 which was the long-range version of the 649.

The next stage in development led to the L-1049 Super Constellation. The first prototype Super Constellation was a "stretched" version of the original Model 049 (C-69), modified by lengthening the fuselage from 95’ 2" to 113’ 7", adding more fuel capacity, more powerful engines, higher gross weight, and increasing its tourist-class seating from 69 to 92. These L-1049 aircraft were powered by four 2700 hp Wright engines. The prototype aircraft was first flown on October 13, 1950. The production version of the Model L-1049, of which fourteen were built for Eastern Airlines, and ten for TWA, ended up with a strengthened fuselage, stiffened outer wing panels and rectangular windows instead of the Constellation’s round ones. This production version was first flown on July 14, 1951, and the type entered service on December 7, 1951, with Eastern Airlines (EAL). The last Model 1049 produced was delivered in September 1952. Passenger accommodations on the 1049 varied – 88 for Eastern; 65 over water or 75 domestic for TWA, with adaptation to 102 in high density configuration. The flight crew consisted of three, with two cabin attendants.

The Model 1049 was followed by an A version (military WV-2, WV-3, and RC-121D) the B version (USN R7V-1, USAF RC-121C, the presidential VC-121E), and the C version, the first commercial transport certificated with turbo-compound engines. These Double Cyclone Wright engines had three "blow-down" turbines, which converted the heat energy of exhaust gases into additional power, with a 20% reduction in fuel consumption.

The engine produced 3,250 h.p. for take-off for which the aircraft weight had been increased to 133,000 lb. The Model 1049C, Turbo-Cyclone-powered Super Constellation began flight trials on February 17, 1953. A convertible model, the 1049D was built for Seaboard and Western Airlines in 1954. They were fitted with reinforced flooring and they had main deck cargo loading doors on the part side of the fuselage, fore and aft of the wings. They could carry either 18 tons of freight or up to 104 passengers. Maximum take—off weight was 135,400 lb. A Model 1049E was delivered between May 1954 and April 1955 which was identical to the 1049C but with the increased take-off and landing weight of the 1049D. Next on the model list was the Model 1049F, which was Lockheed’s designation for 33 C-121C cargo/personnel transports built for the USAF and fitted with stronger landing gear. The F was followed by a "G" model which was determined to be the most successful version of the Super Constellation. It was powered by 3,400 h.p. engines, it had longer range than the E, and the maximum take-off weight was increased to 137,500 lb. with some models modified to 140,000 lb. Often known as Super Gs, 42 of these aircraft were delivered to domestic carriers (20 to TWA, 10 to EAL, and 4 to NW), and 50 to foreign carriers. The final version to the Super Constellation was the Model 1049H, a combination of Model 1049D, and the convertible and improved Model 1049G.

The Super Constellation and its derivatives represent, along with the Douglas DC-7, the ultimate step in the development of longer range, more capacity and more powerful piston-engined aircraft to meet the needs of both commercial and military aviation. Eastern Air Lines, the first airline to order Super Constellations, introduced the type on its New York-Miami route on December 15, 1951. It was able to take advantage of the 1049s additional capacity to absorb an increased holiday seasonal demand. A decade later on April 30, 1961, Eastern inaugurated its revolutionary air shuttle, no-reservation service, Washington-New York-Boston with Super Constellations. Incidentally, as it turns out, the last use of the Super Constellations by a major U.S. domestic airline was a backup for the shuttle until February 1968.

TWA, a co-sponsor with EAL on the design of the Super Constellation, first used the Model 1049 on its domestic network in September 1952, and when it received the higher performance "C" version, it began scheduled non-stop transcontinental service on October 19, 1953, a first for the industry. On its trans-Atlantic routes, TWA made use of its early Super Constellation models, but on November 1, 1955, it could offer improved service, using its newer Model l049Gs which enabled it to operate non-stop most of the time, at least in the eastbound direction.

Over the Atlantic and other long distance routes, the Super Constellation was also operated by several former Constellation operators, until Lockheed was again challenged by Douglas and its DC-7C, the first aircraft capable of flying non-stop in both directions over the North Atlantic. To compete, Lockheed responded by mating the Super Constellation’s fuselage and tail surfaces with an entirely new wing, resulting in a major redesign. The outcome, the Model 1649A Starliner, which entered service on June 1, 1957, it was the most attractive of the Constellation series, but its success was short lived for in six months it was overtaken in 1958 by the faster, turbine-powered (Bristol Britannia) and jet aircraft (the Boeing 707-120) which finally made all propeller-driven aircraft obsolescent in October 1958. A total of 44 Lockheed L-1649As were built, 29 went to TWA, 10 to Air France, 4 to Lufthansa.

When the age of piston-powered passenger transport aircraft was coming to a close, Lockheed offered to carriers a convertible Model 1049H, suggesting that when they were no longer competitive in the passenger market they could convert to carrying cargo. This second hand market did materialize briefly with the H model but the market for 1049s soon dried up as they were becoming too expensive to operate and maintain. The engines were giving problems not only in the Lockheed Super Connies, but also in the Douglas DC-7s, and the aircraft were becoming known as the "world’s best trimotors." A total of 579 Super Constellations were built but by the end of 1980 only four Super Constellations remained in airline service.

The Museum’s Lockheed C-121C (1049F-55-96), with former Air Force serial number 54-177, and now registered N-1104W, is one of the thirty-three C-l2lCs delivered to the USAF and the Atlantic Division of the Military Air Transport Service at Charleston AFB, South Carolina. This airplane arrived there in March 1956 and was assigned to the 1608th Air Transport Wing. Its original configuration was that of an over-water cargo/passenger transport, having eight crew members and accommodations for up to 80 passengers.

While with the 1608th ATW, the "Super Connies" flew throughout the Caribbean, made crossings of the North and South Atlantic to Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and as far east as India. They participated in the Hungarian airlift during 1956-57, carrying refugees from Eastern Europe to the U.S. and flew troops to Lebanon during the crisis there in 1958. In general, this "Connie" and others of the unit flew a variety of transport missions including cargo, passenger, medical evacuation, and humanitarian support.

On October 30, 1962, the Museum’s C-121C left the regular USAF and was transferred to the 183rd Air Transport Squadron of the Mississippi Air National Guard. This unit was re-designated the 183rd Military Airlift Squadron as of January 1, 1966. While with the 183rd, it flew transport, evacuation, and support missions across the North Atlantic. It remained with the Guard unit until April 19, 1967, at which time it was transferred to the West Virginia ANG and the 167th Military Airlift Squadron. This and other C-l2lCs of this unit flew across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and to South America, taking part in operation "Creek Guardlift" in Europe from June 1971 to March 1972.

This Super Constellation served with the 167th until 1972 and was again transferred, this time to the 193rd Tactical Electronic Warfare (TEW) Squadron, Pennsylvania ANG, at Olmstead AFB, Middletown, Pennsylvania. This squadron had one other C-121, an electronic countermeasure configured aircraft. Together they took part in many exercises and training missions such as "Reforger VI," "Flintlock" and "Northern Merger" in 1974. While operating out of Ramey AFB in Puerto Rico, they took part in "Gallant Shield" and "Solid Shield," both in 1975.

This "Connie" remained with the 193rd and operations with the ANG until November 1977, when it was retired after 21½ years of military service, thousands of flying hours, and countless ocean crossings, which for propeller driven aircraft were long endurance flights often exceeding 12 or 14 hours. When taken out of service, it was transferred to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC), at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona, for storage. It remained there until August 1981, at which time it was sold at auction to Ascher Ward of Classic Air Inc., and flown to Van Nuys Airport, California, where the new company was forming. As a civil aircraft in a hoped-for new career, it was assigned FAA registration number Nll04W. It retained its 193rd TEW paint scheme of a royal blue cheat-line outlined in gold, with a white cabin roof and empennage, and pale blue under surfaces. It carried its small serial number on the left side under the stabilizer and a U.S. flag on the center fin.

The newly formed company Classic Air Inc., which intended to operate two or three passenger—carrying "Connies" between Los Angeles and Reno, Nevada, failed to receive FAA approval and the airplanes remained dormant. At this time the National Air and Space Museum was seeking a Super Constellation. Mr. Darryl Greenameyer soon became a party to this transaction as he had acquired two of the Constellations from Air Classics. He negotiated a trade with NASM a C-121C, NllO4W in exchange for two Grumman HU-16 Albatrosses drawn from the remaining holdings of spare Albatross belonging to the Smithsonian, and which had been used in support of one Albatross that was operated by the Museum of Natural History.

Gift of Mr. Darryl G. Greenamyer

Manufacturer:
Lockheed Aircraft Corp.

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
24 ft. 9 in. High 116 ft. 2 in. Long 72,815 lbs. Weight 123 ft. Wing Span

Physical Description:
123ft. span, 116ft. 2in. long, 24ft. 9in. high; 72,815lbs. empty weight.

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Pathfinder Plus:

Pathfinder Plus is a high-altitude, solar-powered, unmanned experimental aircraft intended to explore the possibilities of unlimited-duration, high-altitude reconnaissance. During the 1990s, it conducted 10 test flights, three of which set altitude records, the highest of which was 24,445m (80,201 ft). The aircraft was built under the sponsorship of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. It has a carbon fiber main spar and is covered with a polymer skin and silicon solar cells that power eight electric motors. The project was later managed by NASA Dryden.

Donated by Aerovironment Inc.

Dimensions:
Wingspan: 36.3 m (121 ft)
Length: 3.6 m (12 ft)
Gross weight: 315 kg (700 lb)
Speed: 24-40 kmph (15-25 mph)

• • • • •

Quoting Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Federal Express’s Dassault Falcon 20:

The Dassault Cargo Falcon 20 is a French jet aircraft that, on April 17, 1973, became the first to carry a Federal Express air package. This was a new milestone in the history of air transport in the United States and created a new category of airline, the exclusive air express carrier. Within a decade, no less than thirty-three were flying on the spokes of the Federal Express network. The service was so successful that, by the early 1980s, its front-line aircraft were expanded to the McDonnell Douglas DC-10Cs, whose cargo holds were big enough to carry several Falcons each.

The first Dassault Falcon made its maiden flight on May 4, 1973. It is a well-proportioned, all metal low-wing monoplane, with full cantilever wing and tail surfaces, pressurized fuselage, and retractable tricycle dual-wheel landing gear. It is powered by two aft-mounted General Electric CF-700-2D turbofan engines. For cargo use, the Series 20 was modified by several basic changes, the success of which is a tribute to the inherent soundness of the design. The Cargo Falcon 20 also features an oversized cargo door, measuring 55 inches x 74.5 inches, and a strengthened floor to accept loads of concentrated weight.

Gift of the Federal Express Corp.

Manufacturer:
Dassault-Bruguet Aviation

Date:
1973-1982

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Height: 17 ft 7 in
Length: 56 ft 4 in
Wingspan: 53 ft 6 in
Weight: 15,940 lbs

Materials:
Overall: Aluminum

Physical Description:
Twin engine jet transport, purple and white, orange trim, all metal.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird port panorama (Bowlus 1-S-2100 Senior Albatross “Falcon” overhead)

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird port panorama (Bowlus 1-S-2100 Senior Albatross “Falcon” overhead)
Virginia Union University
Image by Chris Devers
See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Bowlus 1-S-2100 Senior Albatross "Falcon"

Hawley Bowlus developed the Senior Albatross series from a design he called the Bowlus Super Sailplane. In Germany, designers and pilots led the world in the building and flying of high-performance gliders, and Bowlus was strongly influenced by their work. He and German glider pioneer, Martin Schempp, taught courses in aircraft design and construction at the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute in Glendale, California. The two instructors led a group of students that built the Super Sailplane in 1932. The Super’ served as a prototype for the Senior Albatross.

In May 1934, Warren E. Eaton acquired the Senior Albatross now preserved at NASM from Hawley Bowlus. Eaton joined the U. S. Army Air Service and flew SPAD XIII fighters (see NASM collection) in the 103rd Aero Squadron, 3rd Pursuit Group, at Issoudon, France, from August 27, 1918, to the Armistice. He was credited with downing one enemy aircraft in aerial combat. After the war, Eaton founded the Soaring Society of America and became that organization’s first president.

Gift of Mrs. Genevieve J. Eaton.

Manufacturer:
Bowlus-Dupont Sailplane Company

Date:
1933

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Wingspan: 18.8 m (61 ft 9 in)
Length: 7.2 m (23 ft 7 in)
Height: 1.6 m (5 ft 4 in)
Weight: Empty, 153 kg (340 lb) Gross, 236 kg (520 lb)

Materials:
Originally skinned with mahogany and covered with lightweight cotton "glider cloth," then covered with a shellac-based varnish. In 2000, restorers removed original fabric and shellac coating, recovered with Grade A cotton fabric followed by several coats of nitrate dope, then lemon shellac, finishing with several coats of Johnson Wax.

Physical Description:
Monoplane glider with strut-braced, gull-type wing mounted high on monocoque fuselage; wooden construction with steel and aluminum fittings and controls; fuselage and wing leading edge covered with mahogany plywood. Fuselage skin applied over laminated Spruce bulkheads. Landing gear consists of single-wheel and …. [size?] tire mounted beneath forward fuselage, spring-steel tail skid beneath rudder.

Cockpit covered with hood made from laminated Spruce bulkheads and covered with Mahogany plywood. Circular openings cut into hood on either side of pilot’s head. Instrumentation: altimeter, airspeed, variometer plus a bank-and-turn indicator powered by low-speed venturi tube installed on retractable mount beneath right wingroot.

Areas aft of wing spar and all control surfaces covered with glider cloth. Cloth is doped directly onto ribs and plywood skin without stitching for smooth finish. Constant-chord wing from fuselage to mid-span, tapered profile from mid-span to wingtip; constant-chord,
split-trailing edge flaps and high-aspect ratio ailerons. A Gö 549 airfoil is used at the wing root, becoming symmetrical at the tip.

All-flying elevator mounted on duraluminum torque-tube, rudder hinged to box-beam post, both surfaces built up from Spruce and covered with glider cloth.

Long Description:
Long before he designed and built the Bowlus-DuPont "Falcon," William Hawley Bowlus had contributed to aviation history. In 1926, T. Claude Ryan hired him as factory manager at the Ryan Airlines, Inc., plant at San Diego, California. Late in February 1927, Bowlus and twenty Ryan workmen, supervised by chief engineer Donald A. Hall and Charles A. Lindbergh, built a long-range monoplane based on the Ryan M-2. Lindbergh christened the modified M-2 the "Spirit of St. Louis." It is said that Bowlus suggested several design features that Lindbergh approved and incorporated in the finished airplane. Bowlus renewed his friendship with Lindbergh late in 1929. He taught the ocean flyer and his wife, Anne Morrow, to fly sailplanes and in January 1930, both Charles and Anne completed their first solo glider flights.

Hawley Bowlus developed the Senior Albatross series from a design that he called the Bowlus Super Sailplane. In Germany, designers and pilots led the world in building and flying high-performance gliders and Bowlus was strongly influenced by their work. He and German glider pioneer, Martin Schempp, taught courses in aircraft design and construction at the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute in Glendale, California. The two instructors led a group of students who built the Super Sailplane in 1932. The Super Sailplane served as a prototype for the Senior Albatross. The wing of the Super was nearly a copy of the German "Wein" sailplane designed and flown with great success in 1930 and 1931 by Robert Kronfeld. Both gliders employed the same Goettingen 549 wing airfoil and even the tips of the control surfaces curved to almost identical contours. When Bowlus built the Senior Albatross series, the cockpit enclosure closely resembled another record-setting and influential German sailplane, the "Fafnir," designed by Alexander Lippisch specifically for pilot Gunther Groenhoff.

Richard C. du Pont was also an important character in the history of the Senior Albatross. By the time he finished high school, this heir to the Delaware-based chemical empire could fly gliders with some skill. During his first year at the University of Virginia, he founded a campus soaring club. His passion for motorless flight drew him farther away from traditional academics and in 1932, he transferred to the Curtiss-Wright Technical Institute. Du Pont was probably among the students who built the Super Albatross.

In 1933, du Pont teamed with Hawley Bowlus and the two men set up shop in San Fernando, California, to build gliders. Bowlus furnished the design expertise and performed much of the construction. Du Pont supplied enthusiasm, labor, and financing. The Bowlus-DuPont Sailplane Company became an official entity in 1934 not in California, but in Delaware. The firm folded in September 1936 but during its short corporate life, the small factory built four examples of the Senior Albatross but no two were constructed exactly alike. All four sailplanes did have ‘gull’ wings (each wing was bent down slightly at about mid-span) and this feature differentiates these airplanes from the prototype Super Sailplane. Bowlus fitted two with wing flaps, rather than spoilers, for better speed and altitude control during landing. Mahogany plywood skinned one and spruce plywood covered the other three aircraft. Bowlus sold each of these handcrafted airplanes for ,500.

In 1935, Hawley Bowlus began work on a two-seat Senior Albatross built from aluminum but other distractions delayed completion until 1940. In 1939, Ernest Langley and Jim Gough built another Senior Albatross at the Bowlus ranch in California.

Performance calculations revealed a best glide ratio of 23:1 when flying at 64.4 kph (40 mph). If it became necessary, the pilot of a Senior Albatross could push his mount well over 161 kph (100 mph) as long as he never exceeded a speed of 241.5 kph (150 mph). With an accomplished pilot at the controls, the Senior Albatross could fly better than any American airplane without a motor and they were very pleasing to look at too. A quotation from the July 1934 issue of "Aviation," a popular periodical, sums up one writer’s impressions of the Bowlus-Du Pont Senior Albatross:

"Few flying machines have ever exhibited such an extraordinary combination of workmanship, finish, and aerodynamic refinement, so that it seems quite safe to say that the new ships represent the ultimate in soaring design practice in the United States, if not the world."

The pilots who flew the Senior Albatross nearly dominated American competitive soaring. In 1933, Richard du Pont flew the first Senior Albatross at the fourth U. S. National Soaring Championships held at Elmira, New York. On September 21, du Pont set the American sailplane distance record by flying 196 km (121.6 miles). On June 25, 1934, he flew to within 3.2 km (2 miles) of New York City and established a new world distance record of 254 km (158 miles). On June 30, 1934, du Pont set the U. S. altitude record for sailplanes by climbing to 1,892 m (6,223 ft). The following year, Lewin Barringer soared his Senior Albatross parallel to the ridges of the Allegheny Mountains for 250.3 km (155.5 miles).

In May 1934, Warren E. Eaton acquired from Hawley Bowlus the Senior Albatross that is now preserved at NASM. Eaton was already a veteran aviator. He had joined the U. S. Army Air Service and flew SPAD XIII fighters (see NASM collection) in the 103rd Aero Squadron, 3rd Pursuit Group, at Issoudon, France, from August 27, 1918, until Armistice Day, November 11. He was credited with downing one enemy aircraft in aerial combat. After the war, Eaton founded the Soaring Society of America and became that organization’s first president.

Eaton had commissioned Bowlus to build this glider after he saw Richard C. du Pont fly the second Senior Albatross at the U. S. Nationals the year before. Eaton’s ordered flaps for his aircraft and it was the only Senior Albatross skinned with mahogany plywood. He christened it "Falcon" and it bore the federal aircraft registration number G13763. Several gold decals edged in black also appeared at various locations on the fuselage. "Warren E. Eaton" and "Falcon" appeared on both sides of the nose. A stylized albatross and the company motto "On the Wings of an Albatross" were applied to the vertical fin above the words "Bowlus-Du Pont Sailplane Company."

Eaton first flew the glider at San Diego. In June, he brought it to the national contest at Harris Hill, New York. At Big Meadows, Virginia, Eaton set the American soaring altitude record, 2,765 m (9,094 ft), during September 1934. Three months later, Eaton died in Florida flying a Franklin p glider.

In 1935, Warren Eaton’s widow, Genevieve, donated the "Falcon" to the Smithsonian Institution. It arrived in Washington on May 28 and a few days later, museum personnel suspended the glider from the ceiling of the West Hall of the Arts and Industries Building where it remained on display for many years.

• • • • •

See more photos of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird:

No reconnaissance aircraft in history has operated globally in more hostile airspace or with such complete impunity than the SR-71, the world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft. The Blackbird’s performance and operational achievements placed it at the pinnacle of aviation technology developments during the Cold War.

This Blackbird accrued about 2,800 hours of flight time during 24 years of active service with the U.S. Air Force. On its last flight, March 6, 1990, Lt. Col. Ed Yielding and Lt. Col. Joseph Vida set a speed record by flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 1 hour, 4 minutes, and 20 seconds, averaging 3,418 kilometers (2,124 miles) per hour. At the flight’s conclusion, they landed at Washington-Dulles International Airport and turned the airplane over to the Smithsonian.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Manufacturer:
Lockheed Aircraft Corporation

Designer:
Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson

Date:
1964

Country of Origin:
United States of America

Dimensions:
Overall: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 55ft 7in. x 107ft 5in., 169998.5lb. (5.638m x 16.942m x 32.741m, 77110.8kg)
Other: 18ft 5 15/16in. x 107ft 5in. x 55ft 7in. (5.638m x 32.741m x 16.942m)

Materials:
Titanium

Physical Description:
Twin-engine, two-seat, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft; airframe constructed largley of titanium and its alloys; vertical tail fins are constructed of a composite (laminated plastic-type material) to reduce radar cross-section; Pratt and Whitney J58 (JT11D-20B) turbojet engines feature large inlet shock cones.