The Lockheed C-69 Constellation (nicknamed Connie) was a four-engine propeller-driven airliner. It was built by Lockheed at the end of the world war between 1943 and 1958 at its Burbank, California, USA, facility. U.S. Army Air Force commandeered at least 22 of the L-49 aircraft off the assembly line modified them to suit military needs, designated them as the C-69, and used them as military transports. A total of 856 aircraft were produced in four models which differed by dolphin-shaped fuselage and triple-tail design. It has been used as a U.S. military air transport plane and also as a civilian airliner. Moreover, it was even the presidential aircraft for U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
C-69 was powered by four Wright radial engines. The plane had a variable crew accommodation capability depending on its model. It carried four personnel and passenger seating varied from 60 to 80. Since it came into picture towards the end of the war so only 22 C-69s were used militarily. A majority of the aircraft were used for electronic reconnaissance and airborne early warning.
The aircraft was designed to travel long distances with high speeds. It was able to achieve top speeds of over 340 miles per hour and could reach a service ceiling of up to 24,000 feet. It’s super-refined and streamlined look had a three fin tail assembly fuselage design. One design element which was revolutionary was the use of a tricycle landing gear system. This resulted in extended passenger comfort when taxing and landing and returned better on-ground performance as a whole.
After World War II, it performed successfully as a fast and popular passenger aircraft. As the first pressurized aircraft came into widespread use, it helped to conduct affordable and comfortable air travel for the masses. Among airlines that flew Constellations were Trans World Airlines, Pan American World Airways, BOAC, Air France, Eastern Airlines, KLM, Qantas, El Al and Lufthansa.
|Crew:||5 flight crew, varying cabin crew|
|Capacity:||typically 62-95 passengers (109 in high-density configuration)|
|Length:||116 ft 2 in (35.42 m)|
|Wingspan:||126 ft 2 in (38.47 m)|
|Height:||24 ft 9 in (7.54 m)|
|Wing area:||1,654 ft² (153.7 m²)|
|Empty weight:||79,700 lb (36,150 kg)|
|Useful load:||65,300 lb (29,620 kg)|
|Max takeoff weight:||137,500 lb (62,370kg)|
|Engine:||4 x Wright R-3350-DA3 Turbo Compound 18-cylinders supercharged radial engines, 3,250 hp (2,424 kW) each|
|Maximum speed:||377 mph (327 kn, 607 km/h)|
|Cruise speed:||340 mph (295 kn, 547 km/h) at 22,600 ft (6,890 m)|
|Stall speed:||100 mph (87 kn, 160 km/h)|
|Range:||5,400 mi (4,700 nmi, 8,700 km)|
|Service ceiling:||24,000 ft (7,620 m)|
|Rate of climb:||1,620 ft/min (8.23 m/s)|
|Wing loading:||87.7 lb/ft² (428 kg/m²)|
|Power/mass:||0.094 hp/lb (155 W/kg)|