This article is the second in a series of articles on this website visually documenting the history of individual aircraft with photographs. The AMC Museumís L1049E Super Constellation (c/n 4557) has a long and interesting history, including service with a number of airlines and a 30-year stint as a cocktail lounge in Penndel, Pennsylvania. It was donated to the AMC Museum at Dover AFB, Delaware in 1997.
Having lived in the Penndel area back in the early 1970ís and remembering the airplane atop Jim Flanneryís restaurant, I was somewhat concerned when I read that Amoco had purchased the site and planned on building a gas station. I was relieved when I heard that the aircraft had been donated to the AMC Museum and made my first visit to the museum in January 2001. The old girl had been disassembled at Penndel and shipped by truck convoy to Dover AFB in October 1997 and was stored behind the old F-106 alert hangars. The airplane had been extensively modified to suit its role as a cocktail lounge, with thick blue carpeting still covered the walls and a parquet wood dance floor still in place. I saw remnants of the wet bar and two toilets in the rear of the aircraft had been converted from chemical to more suitable flushing models for lounge patrons.
Since she was #3 in the restoration queue, behind the museumís C-133B and KC-97L projects, it would be almost six years before the Connie was reassembled in July 2003. Landing gear, engines, a rear cargo door and other miscellaneous parts had been salvaged from NC-121K BuN 141292 when it was scrapped at Florence, South Carolina in 1999. The original engines and landing gear had been disposed of and a rear access door cut during cocktail lounge conversion in 1967.
Restoration by AMC Museum volunteers proceeded over the next five years with the aircraft being painted to represent a USAF C-121C transport aircraft. She was built with a stubby nose radome and needs an extended nose radome, which was installed on all C-121C aircraft. The museum acquired a radome about a year ago but is still looking for an extension plug, which blends the forward fuselage to the nose radome. Museum volunteer Hank Baker has been given the task to make this happen and, once the plug is found and the modification is made, the museum will have a very nice representation of a C-121C.
Kudoís have to go to the Amoco Oil Company for taking the trouble to find a new home for this historic aircraft, when it would have been so much easier just to sell it for scrap. Iíd also like to thank AMC Museum Director Mike Leister and museum volunteers for allowing me access to the aircraft during its restoration. Iíve written a number of articles about the project on this website and they can be accessed through the following links.