Manila’s Super Constellation goes downunder

Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation

The Super Constellation decorating Manila NAIA’s bone-yard has been sold to Qantas. The most beautiful plane ever built will be transferred to Australia. 

The MIAA and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines decided to sell off the planes that had been abandoned by their owners in a section of the Naia property and were taking up valuable space. Before holding the auction, the MIAA tried to contact the owners. We wrote about this action – auction – 3 years ago on September 22, 2011.

Since I live in the Philippines I love this bird. When I have to travel through NAIA-3, I always check, if “my bird” is still there (see also here). There had even been a time, when I thought about buying “my bird” and put it in our garden. And now I learned, where this affection comes from: The bird and I have the same age!

The Manila Super Constellation had been bought by the Qantas Founders Museum which is located in Longreach, Queensland, Australia. This outback museum tracks the rise of Australia’s flag carrier, Qantas Airways Ltd., from its start in Western Queensland in 1920 through exhibits, interactive displays, artefacts and aircraft, including a Boeing 747, Boeing 707 and DC3.

The history of the N4247K is told on conniesurvivors.com and on adastron.com:

  • Final registration – N4247K
  • Delivered to US Navy December 1953 as R7V-1 BuN 131643
  • Redesignated C-121J October 1962
  • Named “Ole Blue from Point Mugu” while in service there
  • Retired and stored at Davis Monthan AFB by October 1973
  • Offered for sale February 1981
  • To William “Winky” Crawford trading as Northern Peninsula Fisheries May 1981 as N4247K
  • Restored for ferry flight and flown to Arlington, WA June 1981
  • To World Fish and Agriculture, Inc October 1987 (company owned by Crawford)
  • Restoration completed November 1987 and ferried to Palau Island in the Pacific the second week of November
  • Flew tuna from Palau Island to Nagoya, Japan for three months, beginning November 24, 1987
  • Impounded at Manila Airport, Philippines by June 1988
  • Stored in deteriorating condition at Manila Airport
  • Qantas Founders Museum obtained aircraft at September 12, 2014 auction at Manila Airport

Visit the Qantas Founders Museum

There are still 2 or 3 Super Constellations flying. The best known is the Breitling Super Constellation in Switzerland.

Breitling Super Constellation

Since 1884 Swiss Watch Manufacturer Breitling makes outstanding chronographs. These watches had always been the preferred one of pilots. So Breitling designed their whole marketing campaign around aircrafts, airlines and pilots. Among other activities they sponsored the full restoration of their Super Constellation.

Breitling Super Constellation Watch

Above the Breitling Super Constellation Chronograph (unfortunately not mine).

I’ll miss “my Connie” …

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4 Responses

  1. Winkson Crawford says:

    Is this really taking place?
    I’m Winkson Crawford the Main Son of Winky
    please up date me on this plane.

  2. I risked getting whiplash each time I rubbernecked to find Connie, whether I was driving on the road beside the airport or peeking out the window of an airplane that gave me a vantage point. Am I ever so glad the old gal is getting a proper and well-served retirement. In fact, I hope she gets a restoration!

  3. Tom Harwood says:

    May I offer a quick clarification? The Qantas Founders museum isn’t part of Qantas. We’re an independent Western Queensland community-based organisation which endeavours to tell the story of Qantas where the story began, in Longreach, in 1922. We have a very good working relationship with the airline but we’re separate entities and the museum, not the airline, bought the airframe which has been reconstructed, painted in Qantas livery and in which displays are currently being developed. (I’m the Curator at the museum which is how I know)

    • waebi says:

      Thank you very much for your contribution and your clarification.
      Is it OK for you to leave this clarification in your comment
      or do you prefer to have it put as an update in the main article.

      Cheers, waebi

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