A revolutionary commercial propeller transport, the Lockheed Constellation burst on the aviation scene in the early 1940s. Unheralded for the most part due to wartime secrecy, it finally entered commercial service in 1946, and promptly set new standards for speed, range, reliability and passenger comfort.
The "Connie," as it was affectionately known, pioneered new flight paths in many parts of the globe. Connies ultimately flew commercially for more than thirty years, and underwent countless modifications and upgrades during that time. They continued to be utilized by the military as well; in fact, Connies were involved in a number of endeavors that remain shrouded in secrecy to this day.
This, then, is the story of a remarkable and
distinctive airplane. It is also the story of the people who made the
Constellation great, including aviation legends like Howard Hughes and
Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. Most importantly, however, it is a
story that sheds light on the dynamics of technology, politics and
society over the course of four decades.
About the Author
Claude Luisada is a life-long aviation enthusiast, a past student pilot, a long-time member of the Civil Air Patrol and a freelance contributor to the first aerospace encyclopedia ever published. He currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.