Birth of The Lockheed Warning Star
The first constellation was flown on January 9, 1943. It was the model 49 and was called the Constellation. It was painted in Army camouflage with a star but did not have an Army tail number. It had civil registration NX25600 paint in white over the camouflage during taxi tests. This was removed when it flew flight tests. The first model 49 had the Lockheed serial number 1961 later to be changed to 1961-S (S for stretch). The model 49 went in to production as the C-69. One problem the constellation had was that they along with the B-29 used Wright 3350 radial engine with conventional carburetors which caused a lot of engine fires. This was solved with fuel injection. The Wright engine had a lot more problems but the fires were the most serious. There was an urgent need for the engine because of the war and testing was rushed. Another interesting note was that three exhaust turbine (PRTs) were installed and connected by shafts to the crankshaft and increased the engine horsepower by 500hp. The first model 49 ser# 1961 was sold to Howard Hughes and later bought back by Lockheed. There is one surviving C-69, it is at Pima Air Museum painted and restored in TWA colors by TWA employees.
Model 1049 WV-2
Next were the models 649 and 749, then came the the Super Constellation 1049 which is the model of the Warning Stars were.
Rather than building a prototype from scratch, Lockheed bought back the
first C-69 which had become XC-69E from Howard Hughes. They changed the model number to
1049 and the serial number from 1961 to 1961-S (S for stretch).
They stretched the fuselage 18 feet 4 in. Later this same airplane was fitted with dummy radomes and become the prototype for the WV-2