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Constellation Design  
User currently offlinevictrola From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 499 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 2215 times:

My favorite airplane of all time has to be the Lockheed Constellation. I was curious about the design. While most airliner fuselages are in the shape of a tube, was their any tecnical reasons Lockheed chose to go for a its unique fuselage design, or did they just want to build something that looked cool? Also, what is the advantage of 3 tails?

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline113312 From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2193 times:

There are many books covering the Constellation series. Some claim that the triple tail was to keep the overall tail height low to utilize existing hangars at various airports.

The shape of the fuselage is certainly not because it's "cool". It's much more costly and challenging to construct something that is not a constant diameter tube. Most writers attribute the shape to the need to keep the tail low, limit nose gear length and maintain prop clearance. Some also claim that the shape made a small contribution to overall lift.

There certainly were no standard cargo containers, luggage containers or similar considerations back when the type was designed. The main goals were speed, economy, and passenger comfort and inflight experience.


User currently offlineJetlagged From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2005, 2539 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 2131 times:

I don't know about contributing to lift, but I suspect the continuously varying cross-section reduced drag, compared to a straight tube. Howard Hughes had a big influence on the design and he was keen maximum speed as a competitive factor (as with the Convair 880 and 990). The triple tail is said to be to reduce height to be able to use existing hangars.

Whatever the reason the result is a uniquely beautiful dolphin-like shape.

[Edited 2013-02-15 09:32:26]


The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6747 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2093 times:

Next question: did Hughes specify a high-drag wing? One way or another Super Constellations were slower than DC-7s with the same engines. Maybe just because they were heavier, but in any case it's hard to show Constellations were less draggy overall.

Quoting 113312 (Reply 1):
The shape of the fuselage is certainly not because it's "cool".

No reason to rule it out. The customers like cool airplanes.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16975 posts, RR: 67
Reply 4, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1926 times:

The fuselage is area ruled. The most efficient aerodynamic shape is pretty much a cigar shape, constantly tapering. However as 113312 points out it costs much more to build a constantly changing cross section than a tube. Today's designs use flap track and wing-fuselage fairings to achieve the same effect.

Quoting timz (Reply 3):

Quoting 113312 (Reply 1):
The shape of the fuselage is certainly not because it's "cool".

No reason to rule it out. The customers like cool airplanes.

Customers don't pay the fuel bill. If an aircraft looks cool, it is a secondary consideration compared to operational and construction cost.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinetimz From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 6747 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 1902 times:

Depends what you mean by "customers". Lockheed's customers were the airlines.

No reason to think Constellations burned less fuel per ton-mile than Douglases.

(An area-ruled fuselage would be narrower at the wing than elsewhere.)


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16975 posts, RR: 67
Reply 6, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1850 times:

Quoting timz (Reply 5):
Depends what you mean by "customers". Lockheed's customers were the airlines.

No reason to think Constellations burned less fuel per ton-mile than Douglases.

(An area-ruled fuselage would be narrower at the wing than elsewhere.)

Fair enough. Sorry just woke up. However if you took the wings off it would be area ruled. 



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6374 posts, RR: 54
Reply 7, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1842 times:

Quoting victrola (Thread starter):
Also, what is the advantage of 3 tails?

The reason for three vertical fins was to make it fit into some smaller hangars of that time. A single fin would have been much higher.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21419 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 1836 times:

Quoting victrola (Thread starter):
Also, what is the advantage of 3 tails?

None, but as was said the airplane needed to fit into existing hangars, and thus it had to have three shorter tails instead of one larger one.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1501 times:

Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 7):
The reason for three vertical fins was to make it fit into some smaller hangars of that time. A single fin would have been much higher.

Case in point is the B377 that had a folding tail.



The light at the end of tunnel turn out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
User currently onlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24622 posts, RR: 22
Reply 10, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks ago) and read 1421 times:

Quoting Fabo (Reply 9):
Quoting prebennorholm (Reply 7):
The reason for three vertical fins was to make it fit into some smaller hangars of that time. A single fin would have been much higher.

Case in point is the B377 that had a folding tail.

Photo with tail folded.

http://i1117.photobucket.com/albums/k593/pilot852/hangar.jpg


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