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doulasc
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TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:02 am

Looking at timetables by January 1959 all TWA International flights to Europe were all Lockheed 1649A Super Constellations aka Jetstreams.Then in 1960 Boeing 707s came on the scene for
overseas flights and at the end of 1961 all Trans Atlantic flights were all 707s with The 1649A did all cargo flights until 1963 when 707 freighters entered the fleet.My question is when was the last
year that Lockheed Super G Constellations and Lockheed 749As were used on Trans Atlantic flights
Last edited by SQ22 on Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Typo fixed
 
wernerga3
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Re: TWA Constelltions to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:10 am

I'm not sure when they ended, but I have a brochure from 1955 for the TWA super constellation transatlantic flight. So I'm guessing that was around when they began.
 
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tjwgrr
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Re: TWA Constelltions to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 2:53 pm

You might find what you're looking for here. I see a few complete TWA timetables from the time frame you mention:

http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/tw.htm
Direct KNOBS, maintain 2700' until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway 26 left approach.
 
DFW17L
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:23 pm

I can’t decide which plane looks better - Super Connie? Or Concorde?

Both are beautiful.
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: TWA Constelltions to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:41 pm

tjwgrr wrote:
You might find what you're looking for here. I see a few complete TWA timetables from the time frame you mention:

http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages/tw.htm


Thank you for the reminder. Quite surprised to see David Duke contributed to the website, though it's not clear whether it's the former KKK leader. I'm still amazed by number of destinations TW served, including Tripoli on the CAI-TIP-TUN-ALG-MAD-JFK run. The 707s were really put to work. I'm sure the fares were just as exotic as the routings they had.
 
beechnut
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:12 pm

DFW17L wrote:
I can’t decide which plane looks better - Super Connie? Or Concorde?

Both are beautiful.


Each is the most beautiful of its era.

Beech
 
ss278
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:22 pm

TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.
 
PhilMcCrackin
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:37 pm

They were gone from TWA by 1967, so, sometime before then.
 
superjeff
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:58 pm

My father was stationed in Europe after WW II (in Budapest, Hungary), working for the U.S. Army Air Corp. In early 1946, my mother joined him there, flying on a TWA Constellation (I suspect the -749 model) LGA-Paris (not sure which airport was being used their then). The Connies had just gone back on the route after a grounding due to fires (just like the DC6's experienced).
 
TW870
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:25 pm

I love these 1950s threads, especially when the current moment is so terrible.

I really learned something researching this. Look at this timetable from January, 1957:

http://www.timetableimages.com/ttimages ... w57-10.jpg

I had no idea they kept the L749 on Europe so late. Look at flight 902 on Mondays and flight 936 on Tuesdays. It was a non-stop IDL-ORY on an all-coach 749. Now they show it as a non-stop, but given the lower-case f footnote, you can see that they allowed for stops, which would have been required on the 749 (although the Super G could have made it non-stop if all four R-3350s ran the whole time). Not also that flight 890 on Wednesdays was an all first class L749 to LIS with sleeper seats but not berths.

What I take from this is how important the domestic transcons were. With a limited 1049G fleet before the 1649s came in, they held back berth-equipped 1049Gs for LAX/SFO-IDL and left both tourist and first class configured 749s on some European routes on alternating days with berth-equipped 1049Gs. My guess is this all changed in the late-spring of 1957 when the 1649s started being delivered. Then, Europe became a mix of 1049Gs and 1649s, with all the 749s coming back stateside. Note also that I don't think the standard, non-turbo 1049s ever served Europe, as those frames were dedicated to the mid-con flights such as IDL-ORD/STL/MKC-SFO/LAX.

Bottom line is fascinating that sleeper seat equipped L749s served Europe into 1957, which is far later than I would have guessed.
 
TW870
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:30 pm

ss278 wrote:
TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.


Wow great detail. Can you imagine grinding along on that 1649 for 16 hours when there were 707s rocketing across the pond from Rome in nine hours! Although I sure as hell would love to have been on the 1649.

Interesting also that I don't think that TWA ever had a fatality on a trans-Atlantic Connie flight, in spite of how unreliable the turbo-compound R-3350s were. They lost a 1649 in Europe in the late-1950s, but I don't think they ever had a loss on the crossing. Clearly, they learned how to control temperature on the R-3350 well enough to improve reliability and safety at the expense of performance. I highly respect the flight engineers that worked that fleet, as the engines were so tough but responded well to expertise.
 
KlimaBXsst
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:52 pm

DFW17L wrote:
I can’t decide which plane looks better - Super Connie? Or Concorde?

Both are beautiful.


The triple tails were always a small problem for me, but the shape of the fuselage was amazing!

If TWA’s “no losses during Transatlantic operations” is correct, as I am assuming it is.... this is quite a remarkable feat during the piston era!

TWA earned its place in history for sure.
Aesthetically the A 340 got it right!
 
spartanmjf
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:31 am

Not directly related to the current topic but a couple of great Connie images transitioning to a beautiful 747 shot....
https://youtu.be/BoXwj_J6UUk
"Nuts to the man in 21D!"
 
wernerga3
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:52 am

Figured I'd share this since it is relevant to the thread


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TW870
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:29 pm

wernerga3 wrote:
Figured I'd share this since it is relevant to the thread


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Thanks for sharing! Do you know what year that brochure is from? I am guessing it must have been right after the Super-Gs came in. They eventually got the fold-down sleeping berths from the ceilings I believe, whereas these images just show the sleeper seats. By the 1957 schedule I referenced above, it showed the Super-G Ambassador having berths available on both Europe and US transcon flights.

I love that gold and mint green interior. The Save-a-Connie 1049H has that interior in it, and it is impressive in person.

I also love the brochure that touts the R-3350's reliability. Must have printed that before they actually tried to operate the engine. They called the 1649s "Jetstreams" because they could fly high and take advantage of the jetstream. But the R-3350 was so unreliable that they figured out that flying low and slow was the only way to keep them running. So no jetstreams to be had on the Jetsteams! In all eras of aviation, there has been a wide gap between the ideal and the real.
 
wernerga3
Posts: 345
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:42 pm

TW870 wrote:
wernerga3 wrote:
Figured I'd share this since it is relevant to the thread


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Thanks for sharing! Do you know what year that brochure is from? I am guessing it must have been right after the Super-Gs came in. They eventually got the fold-down sleeping berths from the ceilings I believe, whereas these images just show the sleeper seats. By the 1957 schedule I referenced above, it showed the Super-G Ambassador having berths available on both Europe and US transcon flights.

I love that gold and mint green interior. The Save-a-Connie 1049H has that interior in it, and it is impressive in person.

I also love the brochure that touts the R-3350's reliability. Must have printed that before they actually tried to operate the engine. They called the 1649s "Jetstreams" because they could fly high and take advantage of the jetstream. But the R-3350 was so unreliable that they figured out that flying low and slow was the only way to keep them running. So no jetstreams to be had on the Jetsteams! In all eras of aviation, there has been a wide gap between the ideal and the real.



The brochure was printed in 1955. I believe it was a promo brochure to introduce the super-g for TWA. It's my only TWA piece. So a coincidence to this thread.

If you read the second to last photo, it references upcharges for berths including upper berths. Yet the brochure itself only references sleeper seats and lower berths in the first class photos which I didn't know was a thing on super-gs (lower berths).

On PAA stratocruiser, some had a lower/upper berth setup, and some had the sleeper seats with upper berth setup. The sleeperette models came later and were for different routes. The berth models seemed to be used on shorter flights for some reason, and that coincides with what I'm reading in the TWA brochure.

If you read the text in the TWA brochure, it seems the longer flights offered one type of sleeper seat option which was $50 (most likely the siesta sleeper seats in the brochure) and the US flights offered lower or an upper berth. $70 for lower and $35 for upper because lower could technically fit two people whereas upper could only fit one. There's a big discussion in the 377 thread about capacity issues re: the seat count versus berth sleeping amount. You can see that thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1447743&hilit=377

Also that mint green interior is similar to BOACs comet 4. The brochure I have for that from 1958 shows very similar yet different sleeper seats in nearly the same green.
Last edited by wernerga3 on Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:08 pm, edited 5 times in total.
 
highflier92660
Posts: 722
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:53 pm

TW870 wrote:
ss278 wrote:
TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.


Wow great detail. Can you imagine grinding along on that 1649 for 16 hours when there were 707s rocketing across the pond from Rome in nine hours! Although I sure as hell would love to have been on the 1649.

Interesting also that I don't think that TWA ever had a fatality on a trans-Atlantic Connie flight, in spite of how unreliable the turbo-compound R-3350s were. They lost a 1649 in Europe in the late-1950s, but I don't think they ever had a loss on the crossing. Clearly, they learned how to control temperature on the R-3350 well enough to improve reliability and safety at the expense of performance. I highly respect the flight engineers that worked that fleet, as the engines were so tough but responded well to expertise.


Unfortunately a vast majority of TWA Constellation air crews have passed away. Some years ago I did hear (first hand) in-order to keep those Wright R-3350s turning, TWA operated them in low blower for a good portion of the transatlantic flight. Eastbound out of New York's Idlewild they would file 11,000' for the first few hours before climbing to 19,000 feet. The 1049G-- and obviously the 1649As-- were larger, heavier and slower A/C than their Douglas counterparts, the DC-7B and DC-7C. Consequently at TWA 19,000 was normally the "highest" high blower altitude flown. The lighter DC-7 was happy at 21,000 feet.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:35 pm

wernerga3 wrote:
The brochure was printed in 1955.


A fare of $600/person was a lot of money in 1955. Price of a full-size 1955 Ford was about $1,800.
 
tnair1974
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:48 am

PhilMcCrackin wrote:
They were gone from TWA by 1967, so, sometime before then.

Yes, the last TWA Constellation passenger flight was in April 1967 JFK-PHL-PIT-SDF-STL-KCI (MCI existed but didn't take over passenger flights from KCI for a couple more years). A month or two later was the final TWA Connie flight period which was a freighter.

I don't know when TWA L1649s flew their final passenger services (likely domestic hops, for as pointed out earlier L1649s stopped flying passengers to/from Europe in 1961). But perhaps not too surprising an older L749, with its more reliable engines, performed that last TWA Connie passenger flight. A converted L1649 later flew that last cargo service. Maybe somewhat like how American (and perhaps Northwest Orient?) retired their newer DC-7s from passenger service before the DC-6s.

Cargo doesn't really care that DC-7s and L1649s were such great three engined planes. :duck:
 
PANAMsterdam
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:30 am

MIflyer12 wrote:
wernerga3 wrote:
The brochure was printed in 1955.


A fare of $600/person was a lot of money in 1955. Price of a full-size 1955 Ford was about $1,800.



Air travel has become so much cheaper. It's not unusual to see exactly the same transatlantic fares that were printed in that brochure today! I've flown for $500 from AMS to JFK and back.
But between 1955 and 2020 there has been over 860% inflation, so a $600 flight then is the equivalent of $5700 in 2020's money!
Every country has an airline. The world has Pan Am.
 
iRISH251
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:07 am

TW870 wrote:
ss278 wrote:
TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.


Wow great detail. Can you imagine grinding along on that 1649 for 16 hours when there were 707s rocketing across the pond from Rome in nine hours! Although I sure as hell would love to have been on the 1649.

Interesting also that I don't think that TWA ever had a fatality on a trans-Atlantic Connie flight, in spite of how unreliable the turbo-compound R-3350s were. They lost a 1649 in Europe in the late-1950s, but I don't think they ever had a loss on the crossing. Clearly, they learned how to control temperature on the R-3350 well enough to improve reliability and safety at the expense of performance. I highly respect the flight engineers that worked that fleet, as the engines were so tough but responded well to expertise.


Not a loss on the crossing itself but in 1946 an L-049 crashed close to Shannon Airport. https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 19461228-1
 
superjeff
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:04 pm

tnair1974 wrote:
PhilMcCrackin wrote:
I don't know when TWA L1649s flew their final passenger services (likely domestic hops, for as pointed out earlier L1649s stopped flying passengers to/from Europe in 1961). But perhaps not too surprising an older L749, with its more reliable engines, performed that last TWA Connie passenger flight. A converted L1649 later flew that last cargo service. Maybe somewhat like how American (and perhaps Northwest Orient?) retired their newer DC-7s from passenger service before the DC-6s.

Cargo doesn't really care that DC-7s and L1649s were such great three engined planes. :duck:


A bit off topic, but Northwest operated their DC7's on government (military) charter work as late as 1967, in a combi passenger/cargo configuration. My Dad worked for a year on Eniwetok Atoll in the Western Pacific and Northwest operated that contract once or twice a week, using a DC7. He told me that the Northwest crew said the engines were leased from Eastern, but the airframe was Northwest's.
 
superjeff
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Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:05 pm

PANAMsterdam wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:
wernerga3 wrote:
The brochure was printed in 1955.


A fare of $600/person was a lot of money in 1955. Price of a full-size 1955 Ford was about $1,800.



Air travel has become so much cheaper. It's not unusual to see exactly the same transatlantic fares that were printed in that brochure today! I've flown for $500 from AMS to JFK and back.
But between 1955 and 2020 there has been over 860% inflation, so a $600 flight then is the equivalent of $5700 in 2020's money!



Which is actually pretty cheap for First Class service :-) Even Business class today is probably more than that in "real" money.
 
superjeff
Posts: 1371
Joined: Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:14 am

Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 12:07 pm

iRISH251 wrote:
TW870 wrote:
ss278 wrote:
TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.


Wow great detail. Can you imagine grinding along on that 1649 for 16 hours when there were 707s rocketing across the pond from Rome in nine hours! Although I sure as hell would love to have been on the 1649.

Interesting also that I don't think that TWA ever had a fatality on a trans-Atlantic Connie flight, in spite of how unreliable the turbo-compound R-3350s were. They lost a 1649 in Europe in the late-1950s, but I don't think they ever had a loss on the crossing. Clearly, they learned how to control temperature on the R-3350 well enough to improve reliability and safety at the expense of performance. I highly respect the flight engineers that worked that fleet, as the engines were so tough but responded well to expertise.


Not a loss on the crossing itself but in 1946 an L-049 crashed close to Shannon Airport. https://aviation-safety.net/database/re ... 19461228-1


Yes, on takeoff from Shannon after a stopover on the way from continental Europe to the U.S. The L-049's had a major issue which caused problems when they first started to use them, as did the DC6's. When they figured it out, they were great airplanes.
 
TW870
Posts: 1223
Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:01 am

Re: TWA Constellations to Europe

Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:30 pm

highflier92660 wrote:
TW870 wrote:
ss278 wrote:
TWA's last Constellation international passenger flight was on October 28, 1961. Rome - New York.


Wow great detail. Can you imagine grinding along on that 1649 for 16 hours when there were 707s rocketing across the pond from Rome in nine hours! Although I sure as hell would love to have been on the 1649.

Interesting also that I don't think that TWA ever had a fatality on a trans-Atlantic Connie flight, in spite of how unreliable the turbo-compound R-3350s were. They lost a 1649 in Europe in the late-1950s, but I don't think they ever had a loss on the crossing. Clearly, they learned how to control temperature on the R-3350 well enough to improve reliability and safety at the expense of performance. I highly respect the flight engineers that worked that fleet, as the engines were so tough but responded well to expertise.


Unfortunately a vast majority of TWA Constellation air crews have passed away. Some years ago I did hear (first hand) in-order to keep those Wright R-3350s turning, TWA operated them in low blower for a good portion of the transatlantic flight. Eastbound out of New York's Idlewild they would file 11,000' for the first few hours before climbing to 19,000 feet. The 1049G-- and obviously the 1649As-- were larger, heavier and slower A/C than their Douglas counterparts, the DC-7B and DC-7C. Consequently at TWA 19,000 was normally the "highest" high blower altitude flown. The lighter DC-7 was happy at 21,000 feet.


I heard that too about starting out low in low blower. The rides must have been awful on a lot of nights trying to thread through weather down that low. I assume Pan Am probably did the same thing on the DC-7Cs, as with all large radials, cooling was the number one goal, and if you wound it out in high blower for too long you would eventually be sucking valves through the PRTs on any 3350. Basically the way I think about it, it just wasn't technically possible to build a reliable radial rated at over 3,000 horsepower. You either had the PRT-induced unreliability on the 3350, or the horrible cooling problems on the back rows of cylinders on the 4360. Either way, you did nothing but rebuild the engines.

Do you know if they normally planned non-stop on the Europe-IDL 1049G flights? The airplane could make it from a technical perspective, but obviously the heavier you were the harder you had to work the engines which increased the potential for an inflight shutdown. Did they just plan in an SNN stop normally? Obviously the schedules don't show it, but they are notoriously unreliable for real time ops info.

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