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Ace-Garageguy

The First Air Force One, Flying Again...

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I first saw this airplane up close many years ago when I was working at another airport in Arizona. She was in pretty good shape overall, but her future was uncertain, and at one time she was close to being scrapped. Thanks to the tremendous effort of people who thought she was worth preserving, she was returned to flying condition to make the flight to where she'd be fully restored. This short video documents the prep and ferry flights to the restoration location.

Columbine II Air Force One Restoration

 

 

Edited by Ace-Garageguy

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A Connie? I did not know that. Beautiful plane.

Btw- a flight on a 747 is on my bucket list. Destination is not important. I called a travel agent and told her that. The only 747 flights out of Austin are British Airways nonstop to London.  I may take a long weekend for a couple of nights over there in a few months. 

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7 minutes ago, LDO said:

 

Btw- a flight on a 747 is on my bucket list. Destination is not important. I called a travel agent and told her that. The only 747 flights out of Austin are British Airways nonstop to London.  I may take a long weekend for a couple of nights over there in a few months. 

That's how it used to be in Phoenix.they may still be using them there...I took several 747 BA nonstop flights to London and back from Phoenix in the mid-00s... also took 777s on BA from Denver to London.   I found the 747s more comfortable than the 777s.  Not as many 747s in use anymore. 

Edited by Rob Hall

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Wonder why 'Ike' had Columbine ll and Columbine lll, (at the USAF Museum) interesting there isn't just Columbine.

greg

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I once asked my Dad what was his favorite military airplane of all time to fly. He'd flown T-6, B-25, B-26, T-33, and F-86, among others, but surprised me when he said the C-121 Connie. He loved that airplane!

Of course, they were cutting-edge brand new when he was a kid, and he grew up wanting to be an airline pilot, so I guess it's not so surprising after all. 

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2 hours ago, Rob Hall said:

That's how it used to be in Phoenix.they may still be using them there....... 

On the way to Heathrow as we speak. Up until my afternoon bike rides got too hot, I'd watch the incoming #289 arriving. Hard to miss a plane that size.

https://flightaware.com/live/flight/BAW288  Aircraft Type:  Boeing 747-400 (quad-jet)

BAW 288 6-20-18.jpg

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Thanks for posting that Bill. I am a sucker for vintage plane recovery and restoration videos.

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From what I have heard from an old friend that had flown in that plane it was restored before and then wound up being left sitting for decades afterwards to get into the state it was in before this restoration.

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23 hours ago, Snake45 said:

I once asked my Dad what was his favorite military airplane of all time to fly. He'd flown T-6, B-25, B-26, T-33, and F-86, among others, but surprised me when he said the C-121 Connie. He loved that airplane!

Of course, they were cutting-edge brand new when he was a kid, and he grew up wanting to be an airline pilot, so I guess it's not so surprising after all. 

An old Air Force friend who flew the F-86 and F-100, among others, was flying Connies for TWA when they were being phased out in the late 1960s. The big radials were getting tired, and management wanted to stretch every last revenue dollar out of them, and put off heavy engine maintenance as long as humanly possible. He related a story where the minimum allowable oil pressure was progressively down-rated, until finally, the oil pressure gauges were just covered.

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33 minutes ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

An old Air Force friend who flew the F-86 and F-100, among others, was flying Connies for TWA when they were being phased out in the late 1960s. The big radials were getting tired, and management wanted to stretch every last revenue dollar out of them, and put off heavy engine maintenance as long as humanly possible. He related a story where the minimum allowable oil pressure was progressively down-rated, until finally, the oil pressure gauges were just covered.

Our Air Guard unit flew them until 1972 (replaced by 130As). I don't know when they first got them, '64, '65, maybe? Before that, they had 119s. And before THAT, F-86s. (As one of Dad's friends once told me, "You never saw such a sick group of fighter pilots in your life as when they turned us into an airlift outfit.") 

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The Connie is such a curvaceous, sensual design.  I heard once Howard Hughes designed it.

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53 minutes ago, Lizard Racing said:

The Connie is such a curvaceous, sensual design.  I heard once Howard Hughes designed it.

Hughes was part of the reasons the aircraft came into being, but it was designed by Lockheed people, including Kelly Johnson (U2 & SR-71).

There are functional reasons cited for the sexy S-curve of the fuselage. The story is that the huge props required a lot of ground clearance, obviously, but with a straight fuselage, the nose gear leg would have been very long. The front of the fuselage was drooped somewhat to allow for a slightly shorter nose gear. In the rear, the tail of the fuselage was swept up to get the tail feathers out of the prop wash.

                                                Lockheed_Constellation_1943_NAN15Feb43.jpg

As a result, no two bulkheads in the fuselage are the same, so much more tooling was required, and she was more expensive to build than a straight-tube fuselage like we see on most jets.

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My first commercial air travel was on a Trans World Airlines Constellation from L.A. to Chicago, it was some time ago.  

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11 hours ago, Lizard Racing said:

The Connie is such a curvaceous, sensual design.  I heard once Howard Hughes designed it.

Hughes didn't design it, but as head of TWA, a major customer, he was allowed a certain amount of input/influence in the design stage. The story goes that he in fact had quite a lot to do with the design and layout of the cockpit and controls, causing considerable delay and expense in the process.

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Lovely aircraft and great to see it's flying again.

I remember seeing them at London Airport/Heathrow when I was an aircraft spotter in 1960s.

steve

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