N178UA
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The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 9:54 am

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR.jpg

Background

Historian Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) operates a variety of restored historical aircraft such as the Lockheed 1049G “Connie” Super Constellation , Dakota C-47, Neptune and Catalina. The above mentioned aircraft are invited to Canberra for the Airport open day display event in late March 2010which involving flight from HARS base at Albion Park, NSW (Wollongong) to Canberra, a 104 mile journey across the countryside.

An airport executive friend of mine have secured a few seats as sponsors so the “unthinkable” of a ride on the Connie is happening! I was excited to count down but also keep an open mind if at the end it doesn’t happen. Nothing in Aviation term is certain until it happened!

Prior to the day, I was disappointed as I have been allocated to fly the DC-3 and Catalina, but not the Constellation. Luckily on the day, HARS were able to accomoadate my wishful request. The final itenary is to fly the Dakota DC-3 one way to Canberra from HARS base at Albion Park, and returning the next day on the Connie!

The flight on Dakota C-47 VH-EAF Built 1945

http://www.hars.org.au/2009/05/douglas-c-47-dakota-a65-94-vh-eaf/


I used to hate props and devoted my entire interest on wide-body aircraft, in both flying and photography terms. Because of having this prejudice, I have never flown a DC-3 (or Dakota C-47) until now even there were plenty of opportunity as several DC-3 operators in Australia were still active in late 90s and early 2000.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR1.jpg

Both C47 and Constellation been towed outside of the hangar and ready to board!

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR2.jpg

There were only 5 passengers onboard this flight to Canberra. The interior of the plane is similar to military plane, with a long bench across the aisle facing each other. Of course, no IFE , no inflight service but a lot of history. The pilot later told me VH-EAF was the longest serving plane in the Royal Australian Air Force for almost 50 years before retirement and now operate by HARS.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR4.jpg

The ride was very smooth onboard the DC-3. It was a sunny afternoon to fly across the country. I have taken some window shots from the small square window. We reached crusing level of 6000 feet with air speed 145 knots and after 30 minutes, top of descent to Canberra. You can stand behind the pilots during flight cruise .

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR3.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR5.jpg

Photos through the tiny square window of C-47

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR6.jpg

Landing was particularly interesting as the Dac keep its nose high and gently touch down on Canberra Rwy35. You do get a slight feel of rolling down from the front to the rear of the aircraft due to the design of the gears

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR7.jpg

Cockpit Re-visited after landing

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR8.jpg


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR7B.jpg

Yours truly posing in the cockpit!


Meanwhile, some of our group is arriving on the Catalina right after us. Although the Catalina took off before us,it took 20 more minutes to reach Canberra due to the slower speed. We overtook them!

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR9.jpg



The flight on Lockheed Super Constellation “Connie” VH-EAG Built 1955


Information about the Constellation:

http://www.hars.org.au/2009/05/the-connie/

Connie is the absolute pride and flagship of HARS. I am not sure how many airworthy L1049G is still around in the world. At the end of the airport open day around 2pm, we line up to board the Connie via the rear stairs. Opportunity were given to take photos inside the aircraft and a free seating policy is adopted.
Total 19 pax today , mostly are HARS engineers and volunteers but include 5 lucky aviation enthusiasts.


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR10.jpg

Ready to board around 2pm

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR11.jpg

Boarding via rear stairway

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR12.jpg


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR15.jpg

Walking up to the front

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR14.jpg

Frontal view of the L1049G Constelltion



The Rear Toilet. Pretty sure it is non-pressurized!

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR17.jpg

The Cockpit , 4 man operating

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR16B.jpg

Immediate behind the cockpit, there is bunk bed, suppose this is original configuration for trans-ocean flights on L1049G.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR13.jpg

Settle down with "Exit Row" seat. Note the window frame is open and door removed for some fresh air!

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR18.jpg

Another view from my seat. Free Seating today with a total of 19 pax only!


At 14:20pm, all doors closed to depart


An interesting feature is the engineer have to climb up via stairs to the cabin, after closing its cargo doors before departure.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR19.jpg


The 4 engines start one by another, it was rather smokey start which this video link best illustrate the scene

Please see this video for the engine start scene:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZjviR3ngLQ


With all doors now closed , the Connie taxi slowly to the end of the runway 35 for departure, with hundreds of spectators awaits its takeoff.

Take off Roll

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR20.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR21.jpg

I have recored the takeoff roll on the video line below:


Take off Roll Video Link


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41DRb8xdWN8


Watch very carefully!

You can see there are flames coming out of the exhaust of the engines. As i am used to fly on jets, I wasn’t expecting seeing any flames so I was alarmed and worried for a moment. Later on I realise this may be due to the combustion of oxygen. The flames were gone when the plane reach higher cruising altitude. The takeoff and climb was rather slow and gentle.


Once reaching cruising altitude, soft drinks and lollies were served and everyone is free to roam around the cabin. You can visit the cockpit by standing behind but it is quite small, narrow and dark. Only the pilots seats slighter higher gets a good view of the window.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR22.jpg


Inflight view

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR23.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR24.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR25.jpg


Inflight video


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNpL6wlN_24


The Constellation cruise at 5700 feet, with 200 air speed, in a very short time, the top of descend begins coincide with some stormy activity near the coast.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR26.jpg


http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR27.jpg

You can see the flames out of engine again as the plane descends to lower altitude!

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR28.jpg

At 3:15pm local time, the Connie arrived home base at Albion Park/ Wollongong regional airport.

See the video of landing

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_P0OnZjtVM



After a very smooth landing, the Connie gets towed next to the hangar and passenger deplane and our joyflight came to an end.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR30.jpg

You can see the cargo door is under the belly.

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR29.jpg

http://www.samchuiphotos.com/CBR10/CBR31.jpg


To conclude, I am extemely satisfied with both the C-47 and L1049G Connie Constellation flights. 2 flight memories that I treasured and became fonder and fonder each day it goes by. The 2 type entries are also well regarded on my logbook! I have never wanted to fly these props so much as jets, but looking back I have to tell myself that I am very lucky to have the chances given. I was told normally these flights only taking HARS volunteers and members but no general public. I am very proud of being flown in a Constellation in 2010.
HARS is a wonderful non profitable organization. Thanks again to all the organizing parties for this to happen!

Sam Chui
For more of myself and my flight reviews visit http://www.SamChui.com
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:12 am

Hello Sam, awesome report! Thanks for sharing. I have my fair share of DC-3 flights so I know what you're talking about, however I can only dream about flying on the L-1049. I love how the camera microphones cant handle the roaring sound of the mighty engines.

Your one lucky guy to fly on this beauty!

Regards,

Martijn
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
113312
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 2:30 pm

Sam, you are one of the BEST photographers. But please, less use of the fisheye lens. You're giving me a headache.
 
lychemsa
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:26 pm

It's a shame the inside cabin is not the same as existed originally. Window curtains etc.
 
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ClassicLover
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:37 pm

You are indeed extremely lucky - there are only something like 5 flyable Constellations in the world, with the HARS example being the only one flying today (per their web site). You are indeed lucky lucky lucky!

Thanks so much for sharing the report - really really appreciate it! Great photos - as always!

[Edited 2010-09-11 10:42:59]
I do quite enjoy a spot of flying - more so when it's not in Economy!
 
EC001
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Hi there Sam,

VERY NICE TR! It isn't very common to see such a report taking place on a Constellation!

Plus your photos are great!

well done,

cheers,

PS: you are such a lucky guy!!!
 
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Ryan h
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 2:45 am

Great report. Good to see the insides of this aircraft, as I have seen it fly at Avalon etc.
South Australian Spotter www.ryanhothersall.net
 
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cpd
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:56 am

I saw your plane depart - I was in the terminal at the airport. What a mighty roar that thing made.

I remember very clearly the weather near the coast - it was quite rough - though hardly a problem from my row 2 (J class) seat on the B767!

While I knew one of the people involved with Connie, I haven't been fortunate to fly on it. (Though I've been in it). You are a lucky person!

Quoting Ryan h (Reply 6):
Good to see the insides of this aircraft, as I have seen it fly at Avalon etc.

She's a beautiful old plane - a real blast from the past for those who are used to modern planes with 2 person flight-decks.
 
N178UA
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:25 am

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 1):
I love how the camera microphones cant handle the roaring sound of the mighty engines.

Haha yeah, that roar sound is quite something. Haven't heard that roar for a long time travelling...

Quoting 113312 (Reply 2):
But please, less use of the fisheye lens. You're giving me a headache

Good news, getting a new 14-24mm, hopefully fisheye will be retired soon.

Some of the photo is actually taken with Canon 18mm non-fisheye lens

Quoting ClassicLover (Reply 4):

Thanks so much for sharing the report - really really appreciate it! Great photos - as always!
Quoting EC001 (Reply 5):

VERY NICE TR! It isn't very common to see such a report taking place on a Constellation!
Quoting Ryan h (Reply 6):



Great report. Good to see the insides of this aircraft, as I have seen it fly at Avalon etc.
Quoting cpd (Reply 7):

While I knew one of the people involved with Connie, I haven't been fortunate to fly on it. (Though I've been in it). You are a lucky person!

Thanks guys. Hopefully I get time to write more .
Cheers

Sam
For more of myself and my flight reviews visit http://www.SamChui.com
 
The777Man
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:04 am

Hi Sam!

Very nice report with great pictures! You are very lucky to get to fly on a L-1049 ! I've flown on a DC-3 in Sweden in 1990 and I'm curious how the DC-3 compares to the L-1049 regarding speed, climb performance etc ?

The777Man
Boeing 777s flown: UA, TG, KE, BA, CX, NH, JD, JL, CZ, SQ, EK, NG, CO, AF, SV, KU, DL, AA, MH, OZ, CA, MS, SU, LY, RG, PE, AZ, KL, VN, PK, EY, NZ, AM, BR, AC, DT, UU, OS, AI, 9W, KQ, QR, VA, JJ, ET, TK, PR, BG, T5, CI, MU and LX.. Further to fly.. LH 777
 
henkybaby
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:23 am

Excellent read and definitely a unique report. It is always great to fly something so majestic. I love the Connie.

Quoting 113312 (Reply 2):
less use of the fisheye lens. You're giving me a headache.

I could not agree more. A fish-eye should be used with great discretion and even then you should really consider correcting the distortion. You can use Capture DX for that if you are a Nikon man. It makes for incredible shots.

I see you are thinking 14-24mm. Try an 11-16mm instead. If you use Nikon, Tokina makes a really great one that is not that expensive! Look forward to seeing more.
Wherever you go, there you are!
 
N178UA
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 12, 2010 12:16 pm

Quoting henkybaby (Reply 10):
I could not agree more. A fish-eye should be used with great discretion and even then you should really consider correcting the distortion. You can use Capture DX for that if you are a Nikon man. It makes for incredible shots.

I see you are thinking 14-24mm. Try an 11-16mm instead. If you use Nikon, Tokina makes a really great one that is not that expensive! Look forward to seeing more.

Thanks Master Henkybaby.   my apologies for the fisheye distortion effect and hopefully one day I will get better in the fields of wideangle photography.

Correcting a fisheye shot may defeat the purpose using fisheye lens for wide angle at the beginning. I leave this to the photographer forum expert to debate  

But for now, I am afraid my Connie TR photos are fisheye mostly and I apologize if this offend anyone else beforehand..

One more Fisheye (and non correction TR) of Fiji Island Hopping to come!

Sam
For more of myself and my flight reviews visit http://www.SamChui.com
 
concordechild
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:06 am

fantastic report, very unusal and interesting

P
 
christao17
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:56 am

That's a fantastic opportunity! Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us.
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
triple7man
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:09 am

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
You can see there are flames coming out of the exhaust of the engines. As i am used to fly on jets, I wasn’t expecting seeing any flames so I was alarmed and worried for a moment. Later on I realise this may be due to the combustion of oxygen. The flames were gone when the plane reach higher cruising altitude. The takeoff and climb was rather slow and gentle.

Constellations do produce flames on takeoff. They diminish as the plane climbs higher and needs less power.
In 1962 I flew DCA-EWR-DCA on Eastern Airlines Air Shuttle which at that time used Super G (or maybe Super C) Constellations. I sat on the front row and experienced what you did. The return flight was a night flight and you should have seen the flames on takeoff at night.

Glad you got to experience a flight on a Constellation. It was at one time probably the most elegant plane in the sky. I miss the Eastern and TWA Constellations for sure.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
 
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cpd
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:06 am

Quoting N178UA (Reply 11):
But for now, I am afraid my Connie TR photos are fisheye mostly and I apologize if this offend anyone else beforehand..

No problems here. The fisheye effect is part of the great thing about those lense - much more dynamic looking images.  

You should try to get some night time photos of Connie powering up - that can be extremely spectacular with a lot of fire. Almost but not quite afterburner effect.

[Edited 2010-09-13 19:06:44]
 
ronerone
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:40 pm

Excellent TR Sam!

You are indeed very lucky to fly L1049!! It is way before our times that i know almost nothing about it! The engines look so powerful, lean, and mean! haha


Thanks a lot for sharing mate!

Cheers,
Roni
Fly Roni. Aviation Journeys. Photos. Videos.
 
henkybaby
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Thu Sep 16, 2010 1:37 pm

Quoting N178UA (Reply 11):
Correcting a fisheye shot may defeat the purpose using fisheye lens for wide angle at the beginning

I would love to show you how fantastic that still looks.   But agreed, sometimes the shots (like in the tubular hull) do benefit from the fisheye distortion and the cockpit shots are fantastic. Look forward to more!
Wherever you go, there you are!
 
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NZ107
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Fri Sep 17, 2010 1:03 pm

Hi Sam,

Thanks for bringing to us such a special and rare report! What an experience!

Interesting to see the DC-3 in an army-type interior. The one in NZ is fitted with a civilian cabin which I really want to try sometime.. Too bad the Lockheed Constellation sounds too far fetched.

Having been in the DC-3 cockpit before, it really is quite small! I couldn't imagine being a pilot back in those days..

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The Rear Toilet. Pretty sure it is non-pressurized!

I wonder if it has a storage tank..

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
You can see there are flames coming out of the exhaust of the engines.

It's pretty cool! There are some extraordinary pictures on A.Net of this too!

4 man cockpits in this day and age.. Wow..

What an adventure! I'm sure you would have liked to spend a bit longer in the air than a short flight like CBR to Wollongong.

Thanks again!

Cheers,
Nicholas
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
 
aviopic
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:26 am

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The Rear Toilet. Pretty sure it is non-pressurized!

It sits in front of the rear pressure bulkhead so it would have been if the aircraft flew pressurized in the first place.
My Connie experience is limited to only 1 aircraft which didn't to keep fatigue in check, in fact the whole pressure cabin has been removed.
Below 6000ft there is no point in pressurization anyway so better to preserve the airframe.
Not sure what the HARS status is though.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
I wasn’t expecting seeing any flames so I was alarmed and worried for a moment. Later on I realise this may be due to the combustion of oxygen.

Actually no, it's fuel.
Fuel burns red/orange and oxygen blue.
During startup and critical flight phase(T/O, Land) the mixture is on full rich(or auto rich) causing the orange flames as not all of the mixture is burned in the cylinders.
During cruise the mixture will be leaned according altitude, required power(bmep), cylinderhead temp etc..... turning the flames from orange to blue which usually remains unseen in daylight, you will in the dark though.

Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
The 4 engines start one by another, it was rather smokey start

A Connie doesn't smoke, she just makes her presence known........... to anybody within a 5 mile radious  


Quoting N178UA (Thread starter):
You can visit the cockpit by standing behind but it is quite small, narrow and dark.

Next time ask them to turn on the lights Sam.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Willem Honders


Makes it a lot nicer imo.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 3):
It's a shame the inside cabin is not the same as existed originally. Window curtains etc.

Think it is pretty much original for a military C-12x version.



Quoting The777Man (Reply 9):
I'm curious how the DC-3 compares to the L-1049 regarding speed, climb performance etc ?

Depending engine variations, altitude, power settings etc you are looking at a difference in cruise speed of about 50kts.
180 kts is safe and easy for a Connie, historical organizations tend to care about their engines(and aircraft).
A DC2 will sit somewhere in the middle between the two(about 20-30kts faster than DC3).


Quoting henkybaby (Reply 10):
Try an 11-16mm instead. If you use Nikon, Tokina makes a really great one that is not that expensive! Look forward to seeing more.

The Tokina 11-16/2.8 is great but meant for aps/c(cropped frame).

Quoting cpd (Reply 15):
that can be extremely spectacular with a lot of fire.

Don't know what you are talking about 





Nice reading Sam.
Think you did miss out on one option though  


Always look backward in a Connie.
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
N178UA
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:07 am

Hi Willem

Thanks for the correction and I am glad to find out the correct answers to my guess!

Your photos of night engine start looks great. Wish I get that opportunity to capture it sometime  

Is the Dutch Connie makes regular flights?

Love the tail window shot!

Sam
For more of myself and my flight reviews visit http://www.SamChui.com
 
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cpd
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 20, 2010 3:19 am

Quoting Aviopic (Reply 19):
Next time ask them to turn on the lights Sam.

Last time I was in that plane, I had the problem of my lens not being wide enough to get the image I wanted - and it was so dark (inside the hanger with all the other nice toys, like those two beautiful Neptunes).  

There was no power available - so it was pretty difficult. Need a 6mm lens to get what I want.  
Quoting Aviopic (Reply 19):
Don't know what you are talking about

Oh wow - you are indeed right. That's not afterburner effect - that's F111 DUMP AND BURN EFFECT!! 
 
aviopic
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:31 pm

Quoting N178UA (Reply 20):
Is the Dutch Connie makes regular flights?

Unfortunately no.
Not sure what the future is either.


Cheers,
The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:23 pm

Hi Sam,

I'm not a fan of older types, but I still enjoyed reading this report. Definitely a special flight.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
CairnterriAIR
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:20 am

I can't tell you how envious I am of you after reading this.....fantastic. While I have flown aboard plenty of DC-3's around the Carribean, I would kill to ride aboard any Constellation! The DC-3 you flew aboard indeed looks like a well flown example...though every one I ever was aboard looked the same...part of their charm and appeal. That Connie looked pristine inside and out. Question for you....that ladder leaning up against the nose gear in the first picture...is that leading to a cockpit access door along the lines of a B-29 layout? Or was the ladder left there for a preflight check of the wheel well?
 
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American 767
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RE: The Unthinkable! A Flight On L1049G Constellation

Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:43 am

I don't read all the trip reports but this one is definitely worth reading. If you don't have much time, that's the one to pick up.
Great pictures. The Constellation is definitely one of my favorite prop liners, for its beauty. I wish I could fly on one, but I don't think I ever will. Thanks for sharing this out of the ordinary experience.

There was one preserved in Greenwood Lake (New Jersey, USA), but I don't know if it is still there. I remember seeing it there when I used to fly myself as private pilot back in the 90s.

Ben Soriano
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