The Lockheed Constellation was an elegant airliner that grew from pre-war work to design and develop a four engine airliner with pressurized cabin and trans Atlantic range. At a time of conversion of bomber designs, the Connie was a stylish civil airliner that was also to be employed in military roles – Very Highly Recommended
NAME: Lockheed Constellation, A History FILE: R3368 AUTHOR: Graham M Simons PUBLISHER: Air World, Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PRICE: £30.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: Pre-WWII, WWII, World War II, World War 2, Second World War, post-war aviation, civil aviation, military aviation, airliner, radar picket, military transport, Presidential Airliner, four engine aircraft, trans Atlantic range, pressurized airliner ISBN: 1-52675-886-5 PAGES: 318, extensive B&W and full colour illustration through the body of the book, featuring rare photographs and reproduction of posters and advertisements IMAGE: B3368.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/fu3dbb8 LINKS: DESCRIPTION: The Lockheed Constellation was an elegant airliner that grew from pre-war work to design and develop a four engine airliner with pressurized cabin and trans Atlantic range. At a time of conversion of bomber designs, the Connie was a stylish civil airliner that was also to be employed in military roles – Very Highly Recommended
The pace of aviation development during WWII was to see the first jet-powered civil airliner developed by de Havilland and launched as the Comet. It paved the way for fast civil transports and an explosion in air travel. It also encouraged the construction of more airports in addition to the many war-time military airfields that could be repurposed after 1945. However, the major growth in long range passenger and freight flight started before the civil jet aircraft were available in numbers.
After WWII, many civil aircraft were either ex-military transports or designs that were either modified bombers or based on a high content of warplane components. The adaptations of Avro Lancaster bombers, and the York fuselage married to Lancaster components, were not pressurized and that meant they could not operate at high altitude with passengers. This meant that the Boeing Stratocruiser and the Lockheed Constellation and Super Constellation formed the basis of long range passenger transport through the remainder of the 1940s and into the 1950s, before being replaced by Comets, Boeing 707 and a growing family of jet aircraft.
The Constellation was built to meet civil and military requirements, where the Stratocruiser was a marriage of a new figure 8 fuselage to B-29 components. Both were pressurized and offered high altitude flight without requiring oxygen masks and flight suits. For the time, the aircraft featured high levels of comfort. Of the two, the Constellation was generally considered the most attractive and elegant aircraft and many claimed it to be the most comfortable piston engine long range airliner.
The author has provided a detailed and comprehensive account of the development and use of the Constellation. The many photographs are excellent and include full colour, through the body of the book. This reviewer remembers a trans-Atlantic flight one way by Stratocruiser and the return by Constellation. Young at the time both trips were exciting and very comfortable but the Connie definitely had the edge on external contours.