Lockheed L-1049 Constellation and other propeller planes of mid-20th century

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All Connie operators had to deal with fuel guages not very reliable. Several factors. Water in fuel and condensation always a problem. Tanks had to have tank sumps drained until no water found usually first trip of day's FE. A barrel type fuel container rolled around for emptying sumps. If fuel added after sumpng wait some time to sump again. FE had to keep track of how much fuel used from each tank duing the day usually preventing more dip stick time.. If operating tank to engine was fairly simple otherwise ---

Do not remember how FE got onto each wing but using dip stick in winter was also. More than one EAL FE lost footing slidding off wing which was fairly high off ground. Usually a maintenance man would follow FE to prevent any broken bones but it did happen. FE had to get stick reading, aircraft roll and pitch angles, and know fuel temp to calculate actual volume. Also ttrying to determine if fuel was a whole 130 / 145 Octane rating.

EAL disabled the turbo chargers whenever a trip did not need them. Shuttle was one. The turbochargers failed in a way that the engine would swallow all the parts. That is why the DC-7s were retired. Delta also retired DC-7s and kept DC-6s as freighters until they got C-130s (forgert civilian designation ) to carrry freight.

After retiring Connies from passenger service EAL kept 2 many years as freighters to carry jet engines and CV-440 recips where needed and back to MIA to engine overhaul facility. Connnies finally retired when EAL received B-727 QC pass / freighters.

Next up Navigation.
I also forget how the FE got on the wing. Maybe used the same ladder as the fuelers. Another treacherous occupation especially at night.

The B 29 bomber also had that same engine. Very unreliable. One of the main reasons for having the airfield on Ewo Jima during WW2, it was a safety net for B 29s having issues after bombing runs on Japan.
 
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EAL disabled the turbo chargers whenever a trip did not need them. Shuttle was one. The turbochargers failed in a way that the engine would swallow all the parts. That is why the DC-7s were retired.
Did not know that about the turbochargers. In 1961 I rode a Pan Am DC-7C Heathrow to Boston Logan, my first ever flight by myself at 11 years old as my Dad had to return early to go back to work. We stopped at Shannon Ireland to refuel before the hop across the Atlantic. The crew took me under their wing as we went into the airport to get a snack. Upon returning to the plane they let me sit in the cockpit until it was time to leave. I recall there was a flight engineer and there may have also been a navigator, or at least a position for one. Definitely a different era.
 

Rambling Robert

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Yeah, he was a co pilot. He flew with everybody, mostly Frank Tallman. Somehow he got his face on screen one time giving the thumbs up in a take off scene.
Sooooo cool! Is he wearing a red leather cap? ... also chair scene? haha.

I promised my Mom I’d boost the resolution of my Dad’s film (soon) - China Burma India USAAF 1944-45. On YouTube you can search “Fenny B-25 1944” for a low resolution viewing. It had been gathering dust on YT for 15 years. My Dad was happy with my intro but I was not happy with chopping up and shortening HIS video content for a AF reunion after he died. Never used it.

I hadn’t realized Connie’s were flying in the early 40s. I thought mid 50s.
 
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Sooooo cool! Is he wearing a red leather cap? ... also chair scene? haha.

I promised my Mom I’d boost the resolution of my Dad’s film (soon) - China Burma India USAAF 1944-45. On YouTube you can search “Fenny B-25 1944” for a low resolution viewing. It had been gathering dust on YT for 15 years. My Dad was happy with my intro but I was not happy with chopping up and shortening HIS video content for a AF reunion after he died. Never used it.

I hadn’t realized Connie’s were flying in the early 40s. I thought mid 50s.
For sure I’ll check out Fanny B -25. Thanks.
no, he wasn’t the guy in the leather cap, I think that guy was an actor.
 

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Rambling Robert

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For sure I’ll check out Fanny B -25. Thanks.
no, he wasn’t the guy in the leather cap, I think that guy was an actor.

Of course. Thanks
While my Dad was in Fenny (northeast India) - Steven Spielberg’s dad, Arnold, was in NW India (a B-25 (radio operator) and lived to 103
==================


First flight C-121, January 1943 (1min)
 

Rambling Robert

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Well before the 1971 war it was in East Pakistan. It was in India before 15th August 1947.
Thank you - 1971. In 1973 I have down as when the former USAAF Fenny airfield was bombed and rendered unusable. Much of it - made of bricks - is still in place today.
 

railiner

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That was the -049 a very short airplane that required the tri tail to provide more yaw stabilization. The tri tail was so popular that it was kept thru all versions.
more later
There were several other airliner's that also had the "tri tail"...including the earliest Douglas DC-4(E), and most notably, the Boeing 314 "Clipper's".
 

jis

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Thank you - 1971. In 1973 I have down as when the former USAAF Fenny airfield was bombed and rendered unusable. Much of it - made of bricks - is still in place today.
The story of USAAF airfields in Bengal during the Second World War is a subject that can be discussed at length, but not in this thread. I am born and brought up in my very young days in Bengal and have studied them in the area around Kolkata in India. You can see many of the remnants in Google Earth if you know where to look. There are dozens of them around, most abandoned. What is Kolkata International Airport today, used to be the HQ of USAAF deployed in India then known as Dum Dum Air Base. General Curtis Le May visited there. But I digress from this thread.

But just as a teaser, here is what remains of the old Feni Airport:

 
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Rambling Robert

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Nice detail! In 2007 for a reunion for my Dad’s Fenny unit I found a Google Earth image much less detail.

Here’s another video - the AF1 Connie built for President Eisenhower. (3 min)



As Air Force One the Constellation received much prestige associated with President Eisenhower. It certainly had the range and safety.
 
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Nice detail! In 2007 for a reunion for my Dad’s Fenny unit I found a Google Earth image much less detail.

Here’s another video - the AF1 Connie built for President Eisenhower. (3 min)



As Air Force One the Constellation received much prestige associated with President Eisenhower. It certainly had the range and safety.

I’ve visited the museum at Dayton where one of the three Eisenhower Constellations is part of the array of presidential plane’s.

Another multi tail aircraft, this is a 1947 Bellanca Cruisair. Landing at Hawthorne with a 747 in the background on finale for LAX.
1668881487732.jpeg
 
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UserNameRequired

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Nice Ballanca!
I have seen the two Connies at Pima Air and Space Museum next to Davis Monthan. One of them was also one of Eisenhower‘s.
 

Rambling Robert

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This is a link to a Constellation that had severe engine issues on a overseas flight.
What a great story for starting the Thanksgiving holiday! So many peoples stories on one website. My brother called the Connie the best tri-motor ever made.

I found this website helpful since I no longer have the 🍏 News App.

 

Mike G

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Post WW II Lockheed made a poor business decision not to move towards commercial jet transports. They were pleased with the Connie. This decision took them out of the large commercial aircraft market. Boeing and Douglas recognize that this was the future of aviation. It should be noted the only jet transports Lockheed built were the C-141, C-5 and The L-1011. In 1959 Department of AF ask for design and bids for 284 aircraft that became the C-141. From a business perspective it was a money loser to Boeing and Douglas. Boeing had a huge backorder of B-52s, KC-135s, B-707s and B-727s, and the B-737 on paper. Douglass had the same back order issues with their D-8 and DC-9 family of jets. Their design teams were busy with B-747 and DC-10. 300 aircraft was the magic number ( and still is ) to break even financially. So without dragging this out Lockheed won the contract by default. I few the C-141A & B for 10,054 hours as a FE, it was a fine fine aircraft. C-5 wasn’t and still isn’t any better than 62% reliable. During the C-5 design and development funding was funneled into the L-1011 design. Again poor business decision by Lockheed, choosing the Rolls-Royce engine when Pratt and Whitney and GE engines were already flight certified. RR was in bankruptcy during the time that delivery was needed and there was a two-year delay on receiving the engines which they lost many orders to the DC-10. With only 250 made and the C-5s total of 131 A models and a 2nd run of 80 some B models all 3 aircraft were below the break even magic numbers. Martin Marietta basic took them over, and other than a few C-130Js a year they are a fighter company in the Aviation division now. Another note. Lockheed notoriously has poorly design flaws in their wing boxes, require major cost in replacement.
 

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The Connie used a R-3350 compound engine. It was the final production model. To straighten a few things out. It had a supercharger internally below the throttle body that was operated by engine oil pressure to force the intake air to the cylinders. It was 2 speed controlled by the FE. The throttle body had the appearance of a carburetor, but all that it did was regulate the airflow to the internal supercharger. It was fuel injected. So what you had was 18 cylinders with 2 spark plugs per cylinder. 2 magnetos one on the left fired the front s/plugs and like wise on the right back s/plugs. There were 2 fuel injector pumps each servicing 9 cylinders. Now …… the magnetos and injection pumps required timing to a master cylinder at a precise degree before top dead center on compression stroke, not easy to do !!! It also had 3 power recovery turbines aka PRT that 6 cylinders exhaust manifolds discharged to and the turbine turned a shaft connected to the crankshaft by a oil pressure coupler to assist. The dirtiest, nasties thing you could imagine to change.




The back fire heard wasn’t back fire, alway misidentified. It was AFTER FiRE, unburned fuel air mixture from the cylinders, giving a slight pop and a orange flame appearance. BACK FIRE is the fuel air mixture burning backwards through the induction system, causing a violent internal explosion normally caused by intake valve not closing completely.

Engine conditioning.

This was from lessons learned with the B-29s. Every X number of hours this was accomplished. Each cylinder was compression checked, the valve timing was checked using the master cylinder, mag timing and fuel injection pumps timed.

Extremely high maintenance engines.

I spent my 1st 5 years as a Recip Engine mechanic in the Philippines working MAC Enroute. West Virginia and Wyoming AirGuard flew Connies, R4360s on the C-124 was so much easier period !!

Oh, yes COOPER RUN OUT. The R-3350 was notoriously over heading. Between the bottom of the spark plug and the cylinder spark plug port, what is the copper ring, with the appearance of a washer, but actually, it was a gasket. The cylinder would get so damn hot copper would melt migrate down through the threads and caused cylinder failure in turn engine failure.

Compared to the R-4360, the R-3350 was a giant pain in the a** !
 

railiner

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Post WW II Lockheed made a poor business decision not to move towards commercial jet transports. They were pleased with the Connie. This decision took them out of the large commercial aircraft market. Boeing and Douglas recognize that this was the future of aviation. It should be noted the only jet transports Lockheed built were the C-141, C-5 and The L-1011. In 1959 Department of AF ask for design and bids for 284 aircraft that became the C-141. From a business perspective it was a money loser to Boeing and Douglas. Boeing had a huge backorder of B-52s, KC-135s, B-707s and B-727s, and the B-737 on paper. Douglass had the same back order issues with their D-8 and DC-9 family of jets. Their design teams were busy with B-747 and DC-10. 300 aircraft was the magic number ( and still is ) to break even financially. So without dragging this out Lockheed won the contract by default. I few the C-141A & B for 10,054 hours as a FE, it was a fine fine aircraft. C-5 wasn’t and still isn’t any better than 62% reliable. During the C-5 design and development funding was funneled into the L-1011 design. Again poor business decision by Lockheed, choosing the Rolls-Royce engine when Pratt and Whitney and GE engines were already flight certified. RR was in bankruptcy during the time that delivery was needed and there was a two-year delay on receiving the engines which they lost many orders to the DC-10. With only 250 made and the C-5s total of 131 A models and a 2nd run of 80 some B models all 3 aircraft were below the break even magic numbers. Martin Marietta basic took them over, and other than a few C-130Js a year they are a fighter company in the Aviation division now. Another note. Lockheed notoriously has poorly design flaws in their wing boxes, require major cost in replacement.

The Connie used a R-3350 compound engine. It was the final production model. To straighten a few things out. It had a supercharger internally below the throttle body that was operated by engine oil pressure to force the intake air to the cylinders. It was 2 speed controlled by the FE. The throttle body had the appearance of a carburetor, but all that it did was regulate the airflow to the internal supercharger. It was fuel injected. So what you had was 18 cylinders with 2 spark plugs per cylinder. 2 magnetos one on the left fired the front s/plugs and like wise on the right back s/plugs. There were 2 fuel injector pumps each servicing 9 cylinders. Now …… the magnetos and injection pumps required timing to a master cylinder at a precise degree before top dead center on compression stroke, not easy to do !!! It also had 3 power recovery turbines aka PRT that 6 cylinders exhaust manifolds discharged to and the turbine turned a shaft connected to the crankshaft by a oil pressure coupler to assist. The dirtiest, nasties thing you could imagine to change.




The back fire heard wasn’t back fire, alway misidentified. It was AFTER FiRE, unburned fuel air mixture from the cylinders, giving a slight pop and a orange flame appearance. BACK FIRE is the fuel air mixture burning backwards through the induction system, causing a violent internal explosion normally caused by intake valve not closing completely.

Engine conditioning.

This was from lessons learned with the B-29s. Every X number of hours this was accomplished. Each cylinder was compression checked, the valve timing was checked using the master cylinder, mag timing and fuel injection pumps timed.

Extremely high maintenance engines.

I spent my 1st 5 years as a Recip Engine mechanic in the Philippines working MAC Enroute. West Virginia and Wyoming AirGuard flew Connies, R4360s on the C-124 was so much easier period !!

Oh, yes COOPER RUN OUT. The R-3350 was notoriously over heading. Between the bottom of the spark plug and the cylinder spark plug port, what is the copper ring, with the appearance of a washer, but actually, it was a gasket. The cylinder would get so damn hot copper would melt migrate down through the threads and caused cylinder failure in turn engine failure.

Compared to the R-4360, the R-3350 was a giant pain in the a** !
Interesting history by someone obviously with first hand knowledge...thanks so much for posting!

And...thank you for your service...
 

Mike G

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Many lessons was learned from the B29s.

Engine condition as briefly describe above was a Brain Child of Curtis Lemay, and became the standard in aviation.


The B-29s lost more crews and aircrafts to engine failure and ditching from running out of fuel than from the enemy, Being the 1st pressurized aircraft it was flown at its 4 Engine Service ceiling. But the crew experienced a new phenomenon the Jet Stream. Flying from Saipan, Guam and Tinian on their bombing raids they flew as high as the 4 Engine Service ceiling would allow, however during the winter months for the northern hemisphere they experience, the jet stream blasting Eastward off the Manchurian plain. They burn so much fuel bucking the winds they didn’t have any fuel to get back. So Lemay started using weather reconnaissance in front of the raids to find these winds and their velocity. The fall of Iwo Jima was crucial, because then there was a emergency alternate, almost mathematically, halfway between the islands and Japan. So a couple factors played in to Lemay’s plan, the directional rotation of the earth is west to east the prevailing winds and jet streams are west east. So his idea was to go to target below the winds and use the wind to push them back. That too is now a aviation standard.

Lemay set the standard of flying at 3 Engine Service ceiling and once 3 engine service ceiling was 4000 feet above the current altitude doing a step climb to that new altitude. The net gain was nearly a hour of cruise feel savings. { ain’t no such thing as too much fuel } He is mostly known as the bomber general however, he was a genius in applied aerodynamics. The key word is APPLIED not some obscured theory.


I personally have flown on numerous occasions from the base in Northwest Tokyo to just West of Oakland taking off going nearly a hour South near Osaka to get in the jet stream, the normal 11 hour flight was just a little over 8 hours and 5 hours of that the throttles were at Flight Idle. Note we never mission planned using the Jet to push us. Murphy’s Law insist if you do the winds diminish.


He also is the father of ETP equal time point a mathematical calculation. If you have a 10 hour flight 5 hours isn’t the ETP. You have to mathematically use the winds to correct that 5. It is really critical calculation in the jet stream because if you have to air abort at 5 hours going east with no emergency alternate It could be 7 hours back to departure station. Do you have the fuel ?? Fortunately, I never was on the minus side of the fuel curb.
 

Bob Dylan

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Many lessons was learned from the B29s.

Engine condition as briefly describe above was a Brain Child of Curtis Lemay, and became the standard in aviation.


The B-29s lost more crews and aircrafts to engine failure and ditching from running out of fuel than from the enemy, Being the 1st pressurized aircraft it was flown at its 4 Engine Service ceiling. But the crew experienced a new phenomenon the Jet Stream. Flying from Saipan, Guam and Tinian on their bombing raids they flew as high as the 4 Engine Service ceiling would allow, however during the winter months for the northern hemisphere they experience, the jet stream blasting Eastward off the Manchurian plain. They burn so much fuel bucking the winds they didn’t have any fuel to get back. So Lemay started using weather reconnaissance in front of the raids to find these winds and their velocity. The fall of Iwo Jima was crucial, because then there was a emergency alternate, almost mathematically, halfway between the islands and Japan. So a couple factors played in to Lemay’s plan, the directional rotation of the earth is west to east the prevailing winds and jet streams are west east. So his idea was to go to target below the winds and use the wind to push them back. That too is now a aviation standard.

Lemay set the standard of flying at 3 Engine Service ceiling and once 3 engine service ceiling was 4000 feet above the current altitude doing a step climb to that new altitude. The net gain was nearly a hour of cruise feel savings. { ain’t no such thing as too much fuel } He is mostly known as the bomber general however, he was a genius in applied aerodynamics. The key word is APPLIED not some obscured theory.


I personally have flown on numerous occasions from the base in Northwest Tokyo to just West of Oakland taking off going nearly a hour South near Osaka to get in the jet stream, the normal 11 hour flight was just a little over 8 hours and 5 hours of that the throttles were at Flight Idle. Note we never mission planned using the Jet to push us. Murphy’s Law insist if you do the winds diminish.


He also is the father of ETP equal time point a mathematical calculation. If you have a 10 hour flight 5 hours isn’t the ETP. You have to mathematically use the winds to correct that 5. It is really critical calculation in the jet stream because if you have to air abort at 5 hours going east with no emergency alternate It could be 7 hours back to departure station. Do you have the fuel ?? Fortunately, I never was on the minus side of the fuel curb.
My Late Father, a Career Air Force Man, was involved with the B-29 Program during WWII including "B-29 School" in Seattle, Test Flights all over the US and his Squadron, Stationed on Tinian, included the "Enola Gay" which dropped the first Atomic Bomb.

He and his fellow Airmen used to tell us stories about just how Complicated and "Touchy" this Airplane was, so I appreciate your Post, thanks!
 
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