The Qantas Founders Museum’s restoration of a Lockheed Super Constellation it purchased more than three years ago has reached a significant milestone, with the aircraft now standing under its own weight.
The aircraft had its landing gear, wings and engines attached during May, having been painted in Qantas livery the previous month.
The Qantas Founders Museum purchased the Super Constellation, which had been grounded for 25 years, at an auction of old aircraft organised by the Manila International Airport Authority in September 2014.
The Super Constellation was previously operated by World Fish and Agriculture Inc to transport fish cargo and the United States Air Force. It was similar to those flown by Qantas in the 1940s and 1950s.
Since being purchased, the aircraft, N4247X, has been raised out of the mud, had its engines/propellers, tails, wings and landing gear removed and made safe for moving.
It was transported to Australia in 2017, first on a ship from Manilla and then by road from Townsville to the home of the museum in Longreach.
The museum said on Friday the wings were attached to the fuselage over two days on May 10 and 11.
Then, on May 21, two cranes were used to allow the landing gear to be fitted.
“With no hydraulic or air pressure the aircraft stands about a foot lower than it normally would,” the museum said.
It also took two days to re-attach the four engines, which took place on May 22 and 23.
VIDEO: A look at some of the preparatory work done ahead of the wings being attached, as shown on the Qantas Founders Museum YouTube channel.
Looking ahead, the museum said it was preparing to attach the tailplane before the end of June, as well as do more work on the livery.
Further ahead, attention will then turn to the cabin interior.
“The next stage of the project will be the internal restoration and display creation which the Qantas Founders Museum hopes to be completed by the Qantas Centenary year of 2020,” the museum said.
“This project is jointly funded by the Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd and the Australian Government, administered by the Queensland Government.”
Highlights of the Constellation in Qantas colours
- Constellations operated Qantas’s Kangaroo route air services between London and Sydney from 1947
- The Constellation was the first Qantas aircraft to feature flight hostesses, and the first pressurised aircraft operated by Qantas.
- The Super Constellation operated the first Qantas trans-Pacific air service in 1954
- The Super Constellations in Qantas colours operated first ever regular round-the-world air services via both hemispheres in 1958
(Source: Qantas Founders Museum)
The museum posted a video of the aircraft’s arrival at Longreach in May 2017 on its Twitter page.
— QantasFoundersMuseum (@qfom) May 25, 2017