Sunday, April 10, 2016

Udvar-Hazy's Connie

Lockheed C-121C-LO Super Constellation, Tail Number 54-0177
As I mentioned the other day, I had some pictures of the Constellation down at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. I thought they were on my old computer, they weren't. They were actually still on the SD card in my old camera. As Murphy and I discovered during our visit back in November of '14, the lighting in that hangar confused the heck out of our cameras, but the cell phone cameras weren't even phased. They handled the lighting just fine. So now I need to get back down and see how the new camera handles it.

Anything for research, neh?

These photos have been modified from the originals, those were just too dark to post. What you see was tweaked using Microsoft's Windows Photo Gallery 2012. I suppose if I ever wanted to go pro I'd get something else, but hey, it comes with the operating system and works for my purposes. (At this point I'll make the obligatory reference to my legendary parsimony.)

I found the following bits of information regarding this aircraft at two websites, Joe Baugher's USAF Serial Numbers website and another one called Aerial Visuals. Here's a couple of excerpts from those two places.

According to the USAF Serial Numbers website, this aircraft is a

Lockheed C-121C-LO Super Constellation, tail number 54-177 (MSN 1049F-4196) to civil registry as N1104W. On display Dec 2008 at Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum, Chantilly, VA.

Aerial Visuals has this:

Airframe Family: Lockheed L-49/649/749/1049/1649 Constellation / C-121
Latest Model: C-121C-LO Super Constellation
Last Military Serial: 54-0177
USAF Construction Number: 4196
Last Civil Registration: N1104W
Latest Owner or Location: Smithsonian, National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Reston, Virginia

She's in the livery of the 167th Military Airlift Squadron of the West Virginia Air National Guard and the number painted on her tail (er, tails I guess is more accurate) is 0-40177. She was built in 1954 by Lockheed at their plant in Burbank, California. Which means she's a year younger than me!

From 1956 to 1957 she was part of the Hungarian Airlift, moving Hungarian refugees from that benighted land to the United States. (How many of you remember the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which was crushed by Soviet tanks?) At that time the aircraft belonged to the 1608th Air Transport Wing out of Charleston AFB, South Carolina. The lady has a proud history!

Anyhoo, here are my pictures of Connie, surrounded by her friends.

Here are some more stats on this beauty:

Lockheed Constellation C-121J (L-1049B)

General characteristics

Crew: 4
Capacity: 97-107 Passengers (Passenger configuration)
Length: 116 ft 2 in
Wingspan: 123 ft
Height: 24 ft 9 in
Wing area: 1,650 sq ft
Empty weight: 72,815 lbs
Max. takeoff weight: 145,000 lb
Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-3350-34 radial engines, 3250 bhp each
Propellers: 4 propeller, 1 per engine


Maximum speed: 368 mph at 20,000 ft (592.24 km/h at 6.096 km)
Cruise speed: 259 mph at 10,000 ft (416.82 km/h at 3.048 km)
Service ceiling: 24,442 ft (7,449 m) W

She's in fine company down there in Virginia, I can't wait to visit her again.


  1. One of her buddies is a Civil SNEEB!

    1. Too many wheels on the plane off of the MACON!

    2. You have an eye for detail Scott.

    3. I need to download the museum floor plan so I can ID all those luscious flying machines in these photos.

      The trip to Udvar-Hazy was far too quick. Of course, I have been accused of spending way too much time looking at certain exhibits.

  2. when I read this post, I was thinking to myself, self, why don't I have any pics of the Connie at Udvar-Hazy? I don't remember seeing it. Then I read the whole post and see that it went on display in December 2008. I was last there in March 2007. That was a large open space on the museum floor then. I guess that means another trip needs to be scheduled!

  3. Not only do I remember the '56 Hungarian revolt, but there was some other stuff down in Egypt going on that year.

  4. Nice shots of the Connie and other planes.

    The Cessna 152 in the red and blue stripe and check livery, N7557L, off to the left in the first pic and then in the foreground of the 3rd pic was William K. Kershner's plane. Kershner was the flight instructor's flight instructor, not to mention a naval aviator. He wrote the Student Pilot's Flight Manual (which I've now read over multiple times) and a lot of other standard references for learning how to fly. He taught for over 60 years and his plane being in the Smithsonian is a well-deserved honor.

    1. Nice bit of history on the 152 Aaron. 60 years an instructor, that's a big deal! His aircraft belongs in the Smithsonian.

      I am following your flying adventures with great interest.

    2. I had the privilege of spending a week doing two a day spin and upset training with Mr. Kershner in 1985. The Army was getting it's first generation of fixed wing instructors and pilots who had no single engine (spin) training. Thus, I got to go evaluate his program for potential advanced training for new IPs. Bill was the consummate instructor, always using his checklist for his cloth's pin simple Aerobat and never cutting corners. Plus he was an accomplished author living in a restored log cabin. I've enjoyed showing a lot of young civilian pilots my logbook with N7557L and Bill's sign off(s). regards, Alemaster

    3. That's pretty cool Vic. Flying with a legend.

    4. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Bill felt that way. (I crack myself up but knowing Mr. Kershner's sense of humor, I think he'd smile). On the serious side, continuing Aaron's comment, if I may, Bill wasn't just a Naval Aviator but had flown night fighters (F4U Corsairs) off carriers during the Korean War. His spin training was so well respected that he was contracted to take his Aerobat to Pax River NAS on an annual basis to teach at the Naval Test Pilot School. regards, Alemaster

  5. That was a good day. I'll miss just being able to casually drive over there.

  6. Had to stop mid way to get a towel. The drool was getting on the keyboard.

  7. You can tell by the lack of tailhook and cat attachment points that that was a C-121, and not an R7V.

  8. That Grumman Ag Cat keeps catching my eye. The same fellow who owns the PT-19 has a small fleet of aerial applicators, including an Ag Cat.

    1. She is a spiffy looking bird isn't she?

      There's just something about a biplane.


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