You can now tour the Qantas Founders Museum’s restored 1953 Super Constellation
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The Queensland, Australia-based Qantas Founders Museum is allowing visitors to climb aboard a restored 1953 Lockheed Super Constellation “Connie” aircraft. This iconic plane was the airline’s first that was pressurized.
The Connie flew on Qantas’ popular kangaroo route from Sydney to London, a 12,000-mile flight that took 96 hours to complete.
The Connie’s fuselage, originally used by the U.S. Navy, sat in an aircraft graveyard in Manila for 25 years. The museum bought it in 2015 and the restoration began. It was a huge undertaking, since the plane’s instruments were gone and it had definitely seen better days. “Looking at it, at first when it was all lined with fiberglass, and hanging wires and dirt and dust, you’d think, ‘There is no way in the world we are going to be able to do anything with this!’,” museum curator Tom Harwood told Australia’s ABC News.
The fuselage restoration took seven months alone. Volunteer restorer Roger Goode has a unique history with the Connie, and shared it in a museum blog post. The one he helped restore was built in 1953, the year he was born. His father Cyril flew the Connie for Qantas, and Roger remembers a unique flight he took with his dad from San Francisco to New York, then London to Sydney in late 1959 in the back of a Connie freighter. The younger Goode became a licensed aircraft engineer for Qantas, working his way up to becoming a pilot, flying the airline’s Boeing 747s and 767s before retiring in 2006.
The restored plane will open for visitors in April 2020. It joins one of only 20 restored Connies in the world, including one being used as a cocktail lounge at JFK Airport’s TWA Hotel.
Featured photo courtesy of the Qantas Founders Museum