Pontifications: Photo essay

By Scott Hamilton

June 11, 2018, (c) Leeham News: In a change of pace, here are a number of photos gathered from recent visits to museums in the US and Canada.

Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum of Kansas City Downtown Airport, Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Lockheed L-1049 Constellation of the Airline History Museum in Kansas City is labeled the Super G, but it actually is an H model, delivered as a passenger/freighter. It was restored to G markings in TWA colors. The airplane was airworthy until 2007, when an engine fire prompted the museum to park the airplane. AHM hopes to restore the airplane to flying operation.

The cockpit of the Museum’s Constellation. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Constellation, of course, was forever identified with TWA and Howard Hughes. The airline, major-owned by Hughes, worked closely with Lockheed to develop the Connie. Hughes and then-president Jack Frye positioned TWA as an international competitor to Pan Am, which also operated an early model of the Constellation.

The Martin 404 in TWA colors. The “SAC” represents the name Save A Connie, the name used by the Airline History Museum when it could not get use of the TWA name when Carl Icahn owned the airline. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Martin 404 competed with the Convair 340, which was much more successful. Only TWA and Eastern Airlines bought the 404–100 between them. The 404 was the successful to the Martin 202, an unpressurized airplane that developed metal fatigue in the wings, resulting in a fatal accident with Northwest Airlines.

The interior of the Airline History Museum’s Martin 404, restored to accurate period configuration. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The AHM’s Martin 404 was also airworthy at one time. It’s in long-term storage at the Kansas City Downtown Airport.

The hidden elevator built into a Douglas C-54 (DC-4) purchased by the US Army Air Corp to transport President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt needed a bulky ramp to accommodate his wheelchair on those rare occasions he flew. This was a dead giveaway the President of the United States was in the European or African theaters. The US Army Air Corp ordered a new C-54 from Douglas, requiring an elevator in the tail.

The C-54, which was nicknamed Sacred Cow, as used once by FDR and became the executive transport for President Harry S Truman. The airplane is on display at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton (OH).

The Douglas VC-118 (the DC-6) succeeded the C-54 Sacred Cow. Used by President Truman, the airplane was named the Independence after Truman’s home town in Missouri. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Douglas DC-6 (C-118 in military designation and VC-118 in VIP) succeeded the slow, unpressurized C-54 Sacred Cow. The Eagle-inspired livery was initially suggested by Douglas to American Airlines, which rejected it. Truman liked it. This airplane is also at the USAF Museum in Dayton.

The Rolls-Royce Merlin engine powered the British Lancaster heavy bomber used in World War II to bomb Germany. The airplane is on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The British Lancaster heavy bomber was used by the Royal Air Force in its bombing raids against Germany in World War II. The RAF bombed by night. The US Army Air Corp. bombed by day with Boeing B-17s.

The Vickers Visount (right) and Bristol Yukon (back center) are displayed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. The tail of a Convair 580 is at left and a de Havilland Beaver is in front of the Yukon. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

The Vickers Viscount, a British airliner, was a rare European success in the global competition with the United States for commercial airplanes. The Viscount was the first passenger jet-prop, with 444 ultimately sold. Trans Canada Airlines (now Air Canada), Capital Airlines and Continental Airliners were North American operators. United Airlines inherited the Viscounts when it acquired Capital.

The Bristol Yukon was the military version of the Bristol Britannia. The Britannia was developed initially as a piston transport but jetprops were installed prior to test flights. The Britannia entered airline service as a jetprop.

But the Yukon used piston engines and was operated by Canada’s air force.

16 Comments on “Pontifications: Photo essay

  1. Excellent antidote to a late evening at work in the Antipodes. Thanks for sharing, Scott.

  2. Not a Beaver! (DHC-2). It’s an Otter (DHC-3)…

    And it’s a Canadair Yukon, not Bristol. Bristol only licesed the baseline airframe design (Britannia), much modified, and re-engined, by Canadair.

  3. I recently visited the Airline History Museum at Kansas City. The Constellation is my favourite plane of all time and their example is a beauty.

    Sadly, I’m very pessimistic about the chances of any plane at AHM ever flying again. They have a lot of ambition, but nothing suggests to me they have (or will ever have) the funds to meet them.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  4. Hi Scott,

    If you are ever in the Toronto/Niagara Falls area, you should check out the Canadian Warplanes Heritage Museum located at the Hamilton International Airport (http://www.warplane.com). They have several flying and static aircraft from throughout Canada’s flying history, including only one of two flying Lancasters (the other being in England). They have an airshow on the third weekend (I think) in June. I saw it flying around the week before the airshow last year when I was home visiting my parents.

    • I forget what museum it was in Canada but I remember a beautiful gold CF-86, it was a great trip.

  5. It’s not a Canadair Yukon, it’s a Canadair Argus – the fuse is entirely redesigned. I’ll grant it’s a close cousin of the Yukon. But both were built and engineered by Canadair.


    My father flew in them just prior to their replacement by the CP-140 Aurora (P-3). Love this museum, live close by. CFB Rockliffe was one of the original 6 military airfields in Canada.

  6. Thank you Scott. If I can pull off retirement the celebration trip is a visit to the air museums in Oregon and maybe Washington.

    I have been to Boeing Field a number of times as well as Everett one.

    Real delight to see the maiden run of a restored B-17 at Boeing Field. My wife asked about all the oil smoke. Honey, it will clear up as soon as they cob the engines.

    Constellation was my Moms all time favorite as well as the rest of the family. It came through Annette (Island, Salas) on a regular basis when we were there. Its got lines like we will never see again.

    Sadly the jet age over took it, Turbo Prop version was a fast mother and it was not slow to start with.

    Top to see on my list is the Spruce Goose.

    I missed the Smithsonian first pass by (closed for renovation, huge disappointment) , never thought I would get another chance, I did a few years latter and have never been back to East coast since. Not sure I could ever pull the cost off again either. Still on the thought radar.

      • Thats the one off Boeing field?

        Been a while, need to revisit. I had friends in Aubru8n for many years, toured it when it was just the old Building.

        They keep making it an even more amazing place as the years have gone on.

        • The Museum of Flight is at Boeing Field.
          The Museum of Flight Restoration Center is at Paine Field.

  7. The Bristol Britannia was the basis for Canadair’s development of the turboprop Canadair CL-44 Yukon and the piston-powered Canadair Argus. Piston engines were selected for the Argus because the lower fuel burn which gave the aircraft a much greater long range overwater ASW search capability.

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