Four turning

Grand circle route Back in the day, Qantas crews referred to their long-haul Super Constellations as ‘the best three-engined airliners in the world’.  The complicated, 18 cylinder turbo-compound Wright R-3350-972-TC18DA ‘Duplex Cyclone’ engines arrayed along the wings paid for their incredible 3,250 HP output (each) with a propensity to failure. In fact, Qantas had spare engines stored at every stop along its Kangaroo Route from … Continue reading Four turning

addio, Spillone

Italian F-104S It’s been a long while since I indulged my affection for the US ‘Century Series’ fighters, and Kelly Johnson’s superb ‘Zipper’ in particular. Time to address that now, with a long look at the last of the line. F-104 Starfighter: History of a myth This is the English-language release of Aeronautica Militare’s F-104 Starfighter: Storia di un mito. The translation is fairly obvious, but I’d … Continue reading addio, Spillone

‘Nose Art’ by Manolo Chrétien

Picture this You’re still a child, asleep in your upstairs bedroom. You’re probably dreaming you can fly… but the tranquility is suddenly ripped apart by a thundering roar outside your window. You draw back the curtain to look out and, right there, literally metres away, is the nose of an Aérospatiale Alouette helicopter with your father inside motioning that it’s time you got up. Beyond, … Continue reading ‘Nose Art’ by Manolo Chrétien

Triple Tale

Feature image courtesy of Zoggavia.com Every airplane has a life story. I couldn’t possibly tell them all, but I can trace the star of my Connie Crossing article, G-AJEL Bangor II, thanks largely to the remarkable research and image collecting of Paul Zogg at zoggavia.com   A new world order G-AHEL started life on Lockheed’s Burbank production line in 1944, as just the 17th C-69 laid … Continue reading Triple Tale

Constellation crossing

Feature image © Thomas Kirn G-AHEM (cn 1978) ‘Balmoral II’, sister to our story’s aircraft G-AHEL ‘Bangor II’. It’s not widely known that BOAC, forerunner of British Airways, continued to fly global services throughout World War 2 – and by 1945 no airline had more experience crossing the Atlantic. At war’s end, the airline was swift to acquire five Lockheed C-69 transports, completed as L-49 Constellations, … Continue reading Constellation crossing