View Full Version : Lufthansa starts work on Starliner restoration

21st Nov 2008, 10:39
Lockheed L-1649 ?Super Star?: Restoration is taking off: Lufthansa Technik AG (http://www.lufthansa-technik.com/applications/portal/lhtportal/lhtportal.portal?requestednode=4221&_pageLabel=Template7_8&_nfpb=true&webcacheURL=TV_I/Media-Relations/Media-Archive/Archive-Press-Releases/Press-Releases-2008/Auburn_Rollin_SuperStar_US.xml)

Time to start thinking how I can blag a ride

22nd Nov 2008, 11:20
Hopefully the Super Star will join the Ju52 in offering revenue flights around Germany. See https://www.dlbs.de/superstar/engl/index-e.htm

I've seen the Ju52 at Frankfurt on several occasions - it looks tiny compared to even mini-jets like the 737.

Had a good look round it at Fuhlsbuttel once, thanks to the kind generosity of the LH historic guys. They also have a Me 108 which I've also had a look around - a lovely old aeroplane built before cost mattered, it seems.

28th Nov 2008, 13:18
I recently spent a very pleasant weekend in Prague in the company of several of these LBS chaps, past and present, and I can tell you, they are over the moon about it.

I was always very chuffed to have one as a namessake, and I wonder if they are going to get special dispensation to carry a retro-registration, as they do with the JU-52....:D

I'll try and keep you up to date on the project.


English-for-Flyaways - Home (http://www.english-for-flyaways.de)

30th Nov 2008, 20:30
Having flown the 1649 Constellation for about 300 hours, it was quite a nice aeroplane.
310 KTAS cruise at an optimum altitude of FL210 (or, as it was then, 21,000 feet) consumed about 400 gals/hour fuel and 4 gal/hour of 60 weight oil.
Fully powered flight controls (hydraulic boosted) and was quieter than the DC-7. due to the engines being further out on the (brand new, for the type) long tapered wing.
A very complicated systems airplane...typical Lockheed-style.

5th Dec 2008, 10:28
Congratulations to Lufthansa in restoring their Star-Liner.
Pity British Airways wouldn't admit to flying aeroplanes. Big chance lost to restore a Comet or VC10.
Too busy in the 60s, 70s and 80s pandering to the Yanks and the Middle East , to indulge in nostalgia.

10th Dec 2008, 08:09
To anyone else out there, The Undercarriage is now off the aircraft and will be on its way to Germany tomorrow for refurb. The wing tips took some persuading and weighing in at 250 lbs + were tricky to get off. Around 80% of the wiring loom is out and will be totally replaced by one built in Hamburg. Some of the U/C support structure is proving troublesome and several close tollerance bolts are corroded into bushings. Much scratching of heads is going on. The old bird is looking better after a good pressure washing but needs a few more to get the thick grime off of it.

Sounds to me that these folks doing the 'restoration' need a Constellation expert.
Frank Lang is still available in Arizona (I think) but from the looks of it, may well not not have a 'friendly' reception.
One must remember that this is a Lockheed designed aeroplane, not a German one.:}

10th Dec 2008, 13:41
One must remember that this is a Lockheed designed aeroplane, not a German one.

Given the period in which it was designed, is there a significant difference?

10th Dec 2008, 14:40
Given the period in which it was designed, is there a significant difference?
Oh yeah....lots.:}

12th Dec 2008, 05:45
I worked the L-1649A when I was at Lockheed Air Service in New York. We handled Lufthansa and later Transatlantic Argentina. Aircraft originally had hollow aluminum prop blades. They were real paddleblade type as engine model were peculiar to the L-1649A aircraft with a greater prop reduction ratio. Made for a slow turning prop. A problem with the prop blades developed.

An Air France L-1649 was parked outside our line maintenance office at Idlewild when we heard a big commotion. Came outside and found that one of the prop blades had split open down its leading edge - stuffing inside prop was hanging out. Shortly thereafter they went to solid dural blades.

Starliner was a complicated beast indeed - some of the hydraulics were from the L-188 Electra - 3000-psi and dual all the way around. Had Ermato "leakproof" hydraulic fittings - hah!

It was an interesting aircraft to taxi with the 150-ft wingspan. Needed lots of room. But the most beautiful of the Connies in the air.

His dudeness
12th Dec 2008, 15:17
One must remember that this is a Lockheed designed aeroplane, not a German one.

Yeah an LH is not used to american planes. They still operate the Junkers 737 and the Messerschmidt 747. They have not been clients at Boeing and McD since ages, let alone Lookheed and Convair.... :ugh:

12th Dec 2008, 18:10
C17 thanks for your posts very interesting keep up the good work, is there any chance of some photos,

It must be heaven to be working on such a beauty, I envy you mate.


Amos Keeto
13th Dec 2008, 15:27
Thanks very much for those pics. It actually looks in better shape than I expected...almost ready for the blue and yellow cheatlines to be sprayed on.....:cool:

13th Dec 2008, 16:26
Thanks for the photos amazing what a complex machine, the shot of the pistons, are the shiny ones new or just cleaned up.


13th Dec 2008, 18:59
Gerby: Unfortunately since the arrival of Marshall nobody at the top end of BA has had an interest in aircraft as such. Ayling is reported to have said he positively disliked them! As result in Marshalls time the last Argonaut followed by a Comet 4 were sent to the fire training unit at Heathrow for eventual destruction. More recently the wanton destruction of the Cosford collection followed the pattern. Showing an interest in aircraft or aviation as such are both taboo in Waterside and likely to be career threatening.

13th Dec 2008, 22:30
Well done Lufthansa in recognising the importance of the heritage of Commercial Aviation. The Aussies too have recognised this fact. In the majority of cases, the Brits aren't quite the same. It appears that to be preserved in the UK in most cases an aircaft has to have had the ability to shoot or drop bombs.
My father was a Flight Engineer on the Constellation with TCA. I still have some of his manuals and pitcures of the aircraft in which he flew. His log book shows he had 1870 hours on type out of his total of 20 337 hours. Indeed, one of the L1049 in which he flew is being preserved in TCA colours as we speak. As a young lad, I was fortunate to have had many trips on the
L1049 and remember it with great affection. Indeed, it was experiences such as those with the Constellation that prompted me to work in the Commercial Airline environment. IMHO the Constellation is one of the most graceful looking aircraft ever built.
Please keep this thread alive as it will be great to see the progress on this excellent project.


17th Dec 2008, 19:41
What are the plans for the instrument panels? Earlier articles that I have seen stated, that the aircraft will be fitted with electronic (efis???) instruments but I see that the Lufthansa Tek page says only that the cockpit will keep its historic appearance using modern instruments.

I am interested in how this is being done because I am an avionics tech on an airworthy C121. and some parts are getting a bit hard to source.

18th Dec 2008, 10:04
Gerby: Unfortunately since the arrival of Marshall nobody at the top end of BA has had an interest in aircraft as such. Ayling is reported to have said he positively disliked them! As result in Marshalls time the last Argonaut followed by a Comet 4 were sent to the fire training unit at Heathrow for eventual destruction. More recently the wanton destruction of the Cosford collection followed the pattern. Showing an interest in aircraft or aviation as such are both taboo in Waterside and likely to be career threatening.

Indeed, Skylion. Which is why none of the 469 business flights I've had over the past 5 years have been with ba! Instead I've flown whenever possible with Lufthansa.

Great to see such dedication with this restoration project!!

19th Dec 2008, 18:40
Skylion and BEagle
Thank you for your comments on my blog congratulating Lufthansa on their preservation record compared to B.As.
There are many photographs of airliners from around the world on the net decorated in joyous colours and designs. J.A.Ls Disney 747s for example.
What did B.A. do ? Painted the nose cone of a 747 gold when bringing home the Olympic team.
An embaressing British national carrier lacking guts and whimsy and an almost Imperial Airways arrogance.:=
Once again congratulations to Lufthansa, Qantas and all the other world airlines who have preserved aircraft from the former fleets.
BEagle. My wife flys on business trips to India, and I will only let her fly on Emirates.

19th Dec 2008, 23:56
In the Qantas case they haven't actually done any preserving. The Longreach aircraft are owned by the QFM while the Connie is owned by HARS. THe DC3, Hawdon was preserved by TAA,now part of Qantas. However Qantas has helped in all these efforts by providing transport and engineering support.They also donated the B747 200 but probably got a good tax deduction from the donation.

The current HARS DC4 and Convair 340 projects don't seem to be sponsored by any airlines and I don't think that the recent Catalina arrival was either.

I suppose the results in Australia are a team efforts of individuals setting up organisations which are in turn supported by business, Government and the public.Probably a good way to go as everyone has an interest, so the projects should have a good life span.

The Real Slim Shady
20th Dec 2008, 09:32
Just as a slight aside, at Schonefeld 2 days ago, parked on the south western side of the main apron was a rather splendid DC 3.

20th Dec 2008, 12:08
Another restoration coming to fruition.

Home ?(Historical Flight Foundation?) (http://www.historicalflightfoundation.com/)


25th Dec 2008, 07:58
What is happening to the removed instrumentation? If it is being disposed of with the installation of the new instrumentaion I know a very good home for it backing up spares for the OZ Connie.

1st Jan 2009, 16:06
Hi there,
I maybe wrong, but I seem to remember seeing a Starliner MX Man at SAC @ MKC
Airline History Museum at Kansas City (http://www.airlinehistorymuseum.com) for the ctcs etc. Worth a shout me thinks, if already done, excellent:ok:

2nd Jan 2009, 02:16
In the same part of the country, the Combat Air Museum ( Combat Air Museum Home Page (http://www.combatairmuseum.org/) )at Forbes Field (FOE) has several displays on various aspects of C-131/Connie operation including what looks suspiciously like training aids etc. You might want to contact them.

A. Le Rhone
5th Jan 2009, 23:49
What a fantastic and inspiring project. Looking at that immaculate hangar floor and those Lufthansa Technik tooling cabinets makes me realise what good hands the old girl is in.

Good luck to you.

7th Jan 2009, 05:34
Please check your PMs. Sorry for the delay in getting back but its holiday season here and the beach is too good to resist.

2nd Feb 2009, 18:03
Congratulations to all involved in the project to get this this magnificent aircraft back in the air.

The Connie was always my favourite aircraft and the Starliner was the best-looking of the line. I remember seeing the Lufthansa L1649A's in service. In about 1960 I saw one at Athens when we landed there, and another at Khartoum in the same year. Presumably the aircraft were operating FRA-JNB.

I also remember these aircraft overflying our home (near the BPK VOR) at around 12000-16000ft in the early 1960's, presumably en-route from FRA to IDL. The muffled growl of the R3350's in cruise flight, same as for the DC7 and Super Connie, was a memorable sound; it seemed to reverberate to my very bones.

Can't wait to see the big bird back in the air again. Yes, I agree with previous postings re-the lack of interest by airlines in the UK in preserving classic airliners, with the notable exception of Air Antique in Coventry.

2nd Feb 2009, 18:52
I have just retired from NATS (UK ATC) and it is the same there. If you have any interest in aeroplanes and aviation generally you are considered to be some kind of freak!!
They only want you to have an interest in share prices, dividends, money "stuff", and the latest management fads.

Super Connie
5th Feb 2009, 14:21
How is the STARLINER rebuilding/restoration progressing? What happened to all the nice pictures on this thread? Please keep em coming or are you just too busy with the Queen of the skies?

5th Feb 2009, 15:59
Thanks for all your updates C17 - please could we have some photos of the ongoing work. :)

The beautiful Starliner has been my favourite airliner for as long as I can remember, with my first actual encounter with one being in June '83 in Fort Lauderdale on my first US visit - it was N974R under going a very slow restoration. The next time I saw her was in June '07 at The Fantasy Of Flight Museum looking to be in fairly good condition, and in her old Lufthansa colours, of course!

When I heard of Lufthansa's purchase of the three Starliners in the US, I was quite surprised that they had decided on N7316C, an ex- TWA machine, to be the one to be restored to flying condition. N974R is an ex-Lufthansa machine (D-ALAN) and only flew last in 2001 so I had assumed that this was the aircraft that would be the one chosen. Lufthansa Technik state on their website that N7316C was chosen as it was "the technically sturdiest of the three".

Anyway, I can't wait to see her take to the skies again in Europe in the next year or two. Good luck to all those involved in this fantastic project. It puts the UK's classic airliner preservation efforts to shame. :(


Super Connie
8th Feb 2009, 10:32
Connie "Auburn" hangar live cam:
use MS internet explorer and type: http://online.wilife.com
email address is: [email protected]
password: constellation
Have fun!

23rd Feb 2009, 16:49
Any chance of getting a tour of the hanger? I'm only an hour away.

24th Feb 2009, 14:46
Thanks for that link, Super Connie. She's looking very bare!


Kerosene Kraut
9th Apr 2009, 11:27
Lufthansa now came up with the cockpit layout. A touch of glass included.

check their plan and pic gallery (german text)
Basiskonfiguration für Cockpit der Lufthansa L-1649A Super Star steht - FLUG REVUE (http://www.flugrevue.de/de/technik/technik/basiskonfiguration-fuer-cockpit-der-lufthansa-l-1649a-super-star-steht.9701.htm)

13th Apr 2009, 16:55
Thanks for that link KK - it looks a very neat solution, although not exactly a 1950's vintage look. :ooh:

Kerosene Kraut
14th Apr 2009, 10:06
I've heard they might still switch VOR RMI and the clock's positions. The whole point is they want a transport aircraft certification for it. This a/c is intended to fly with special pax in a very reliable almost scheduled way. And over longer distances too.

What a fantastic project.

14th Apr 2009, 13:19
At least she will be easily kept in a serviceable condition with better reliability.

14th Apr 2009, 22:04
As a current Connie LAME and E/O, the instrumentation of the aircraft is very reliable.What few instrument problems we have had ( mainly fuel and oil quantity) were caused by the valve technology amplifiers which could easily be replaced by solid state units.

The ongoing problems are and always will be with the 3350s and they are staying on the Starliner.However without the 3350s she wouldn't be a Connie/Starliner.

Whatever is installed in the cockpit, I'm looking fwd to seeing her fly.Another set of 3350s in the air is a great idea


Kerosene Kraut
13th May 2009, 12:48
Now this is great news: The SAA museum at Jo'burg will donate a set of original Connie-doors to reconvert LH's Connie freighter to airworthy pax standard. Jo'burg will receive a newly build set of doors built by Lufthansa Technik instead.

Source (german) n'pics:
Südafrikanisches Museum stiftet Connie-Originaltüren der D-ALOL für Lufthansa Super Star Restaurierung - Klassiker der Luftfahrt (http://www.klassiker-der-luftfahrt.de/de/historie/news/suedafrikanisches-museum-stiftet-connie-originaltueren-der-d-alol-fuer-lufthansa-super-star-restaurierung.10535.htm)

13th May 2009, 17:16
Major thread-drift, but another article on the Klassiker der Luftfahrt website tells of how a Luftwaffe Transall was chartered by the RAF to airlift a RR Merlin from Coningsby to Amsterdam where the B.o.B Flight Lancaster was stranded after problems with No.4 engine.

Apparently the RAF were a bit stretched in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Interesting article, and a touch ironic. :ok:

17th May 2009, 16:14
Great news regarding the passenger doors, C17. She's going to look fantastic as no expense seems to be being spared on this superb project. :ok:


12th Oct 2009, 10:37

Please keep the updates coming - we do care and many good people are really impressed with the enthusiastic team and the enthusiastic airline that owns her, Lufthansa.


Kerosene Kraut
12th Oct 2009, 14:18
Lufthansa-Connie-Restaurierung: Motoren der Super Star werden überholt - Klassiker der Luftfahrt (http://www.klassiker-der-luftfahrt.de/de/historie/news/lufthansa-connie-restaurierung-motoren-der-super-star-werden-ueberholt.14536.htm)

Another update on Klassiker. They refurb six engines using plenty of new parts!
And flight crews got german CAA-qualified (LBA) on the Breitling connie this september.

Kerosene Kraut
8th Dec 2009, 12:28
The assessment of the stripped airplane is almost finished right now. Next spring they will start the restoration itself. Till then they source parts and get the documentation right.

German source with pics from the hangar:
Lufthansa Super Star: Befundung abgeschlossen - Klassiker der Luftfahrt (http://www.klassiker-der-luftfahrt.de/de/historie/news/lufthansa-super-star-befundung-abgeschlossen.16062.htm)

27th Dec 2009, 12:36
Couldn't agree more with comments re BA and Lufthansa's contrasting attitudes to their heritage. The destruction of the Argonaut at LHR was particularly distressing and the abandonment of the BA collection at Cosford unforgiveable. I will make every effort I can in future to fly Lufthansa whenever possible.

15th May 2011, 14:48
1649A on the Auburn/Lewiston ramp (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=auburn+me&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=40.460237,79.013672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Auburn,+Androscoggin,+Maine&ll=44.050017,-70.286394&spn=0.001124,0.002411&t=h&z=19)

Appears to be sans R3350s.

15th May 2011, 16:17
Any chance of an update on the progress of this fantastic project? I can't seem to find any news on the Lufthansa Technik site.

18th May 2011, 09:46
@L1649: Try here:

Fast 500 Jahre geballtes Technik-Know-how | Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin Stiftung (http://www.dlbs.de/en/33/SuperStar-News/2011/Fast-500-Jahre-geballtes-Technik-Know-how)

18th May 2011, 16:47
Thanks for the link.

6th Jun 2011, 23:04
So now that they have 40 mechanics and 10 engineers working on the hanger queen, what kind of time frame are they looking at for first flight?

10th Oct 2011, 19:08
Please keep us updated on progress . It will be nice to see this Connie a unique model back in the air. It takes an awful amount of work and dedication to achieve this .

25th Sep 2012, 23:13
Here a link with some progress reports and the number 3 engine test at Anderson.

Super Star news - Lufthansa Technik AG (http://www.lufthansa-technik.com/super-star-news)

2nd Oct 2012, 22:03
Try this too

3sat.online - Mediathek: Restaurierung einer Luftfahrtlegende (http://www.3sat.de/mediathek/?display=1&mode=play&obj=32329)

2nd Oct 2012, 23:18
That's a great film. They say it's going to cross the Atlantic with passengers, and that it used to take 15 hrs for Hamburg-New York. They said the "Start" was at the latest in 2014. "Start" usually means take-off, and it definitely doesn't mean first flight, so I don't think I quite understood that sentence.

3rd Oct 2012, 00:29
Interesting film. Good to see that there are still lots of crazy people in the world. That is, the ones with the big money give it to the ones who have a dream. In the process, lots of people are employed. :ok:

But I have to say, in the nicest terms, that looking at a seriously broken Connie and saying, "We can make this fly" must class people as crazy!:}

A. Le Rhone
3rd Oct 2012, 23:16
Thank god for crazy people then...

A. Le Rhone
4th Oct 2012, 00:15
And all credit to Lufthansa for having the devotion to this project and attending to it with the German attention to detail and thoroughness that they are famous for and that a machine as beautiful as this deserves.

Right at the tail-end of piston-engine technology the complexity of the machinery is amazing. That it was all conceived by slide-rules and forges without anything like CAD and laser cutting precision tool etc is even more astounding.

If only more purely profit-driven airlines and even manufacturers (i.e. CEO's demanding exorbitant paychecks) had the foresight to tackle such projects.

Other projects worthy of attention:
Boeing 747 s/n 001 N747001 (currently languishing and falling to pieces in Seattle).
Caravelle resplendent in the livery of one of the many European operators
A300B1 or B2 early series painted in early Airbus Industrie livery

24th Aug 2015, 00:50
Saw this on the Connie Survivors page.

Hope Lufthansa doesn't decide to cancel the Starliner project. Looks like it is ready to put all the parts back together.

Constellation News (http://www.conniesurvivors.com/1-connie_news.htm#AUG10)