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C-69 Constellation

Toward the end of the war, C-54 transports were joined by a different four-engine civil airliner equipped with tricycle landing gear and built by Lockheed. In its prewar development as the Lockheed Model 49, the Constellation emerged as a large pressurized aircraft, a feature that permitted flights at higher altitudes where there were fewer weather problems and where lower atmospheric drag conditions allowed for higher speeds. From the start, the Constellation represented outstanding performance, being capable of cruising at 300 mph, carrying more than thirty-two thousand pounds of cargo, and transporting sixty-four passengers over intercontinental distances. Military versions of the C-69 saw limited service, with just twenty-two produced for the AAF and only a few available for operations by the end of the war. But the C-69 heralded the kind of speeds and operating altitudes that became commonplace after the war. Dozens of Constellation variants joined the service through the following years, re-maining on active duty into the Vietnam War era in a variety of roles, in-cluding electronic surveillance and countermeasures.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:28:48 ZULU