While many airliners from the Second World War have either disappeared completely or only survived as remnants in a museum, approximately 55 Constellations out of the 856 built still survive today, and two of them, both C-121s, are airworthy. A real head turner, the Connie’ raised the bar in both performance, economy and passenger comfort and can arguably be described as one of the most beautiful airliners ever built. The Lockheed Constellation was an aircraft that broke the mould when it came to early airliner design. The standard approach of a straight, tubular fuselage and a conventional tail and wing arrangement is still the tried and tested configuration of all airliners to this day. The US military’s enthusiasm also helped to advance the development of the Constellation which, in turn, benefitted civilian airlines with the arrival of the Super Constellation and the definitive variant, the Starliner, which sadly came too late to make a huge impression as, from the mid-1950s onwards, the trend swung rapidly towards jet power. With the arrival of the jet, Constellations were replaced by the major operators although a number remained in passenger service into the late 1960s, and the last passenger-carrying flight did not take place until 1978 in the Dominican Republic. Delve into the story of this beautiful aircraft with this fully illustrated history.
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