Fly Connie Fly! Lufthansa CEO C. Spohr: Complete the 1957 Lockheed Super Constellation.
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"Return of a Legend" (<--click link) wrote Lufthansa when in December 2007, they made a bold decision to restore a 1957 Lockheed Super Constellation. This marked the beginning of a worldwide unique project to restore this historic aircraft. An aircraft not destined to be parked in a museum but rather an aircraft which would become a flying monument to honor its legacy.
The L-1649 “Starliner” was the passenger plane that had mastered the North Atlantic in regular non-stop service between the United States and Europe until eventually being replaced by the jet age. With its unique triple-tail and four Wright R-3350 Turbo-Compound radial engines, it was the most advanced propliner ever built.
Only 44 of the “Super Stars” rolled out of the Lockheed factory and took-off from the Burbank Airport in California and there's not a single airworthy example of this aircraft flying anywhere in the world today.
Since 2008 hundreds of professionals, both paid and volunteer, have been doing the restoration work at the Auburn-Lewiston Airport purpose built hanger in Auburn, Maine, USA. The aircraft structure has been completely overhauled from the ground up. Aircraft systems and components have been inspected and overhauled by FAA certified specialist workshops, both in-house and off-site. The engines and nacelles, propellers, and landing gear are all overhauled and ready to be installed and flown.
This particular airframe, formerly owned and operated by American companies such as Trans World Airlines and Alaska Airlines, among others, was last flown as a cargo plane and needed original passenger doors re-fitted. So Lufthansa installed the “Konrad Adenauer Door” from a former Lufthansa Super Connie located down in South Africa. German Chancellor Adenauer used that aircraft (and that door!) in his journeys to foreign countries.
As of 2017, the Starliner project was about 85% complete. It could fly once again about a year from now if the work in Auburn is allowed to continue. She would be available to the world public as the only surviving example of the Lockheed L-1649 Super Constellation in existence.
For nearly 10 years, aviation professionals and enthusiasts, and former and future passengers, have accompanied the prosperity of this project, eagerly awaiting the maiden flight of, what has been referred to as, the most beautiful passenger aircraft ever built.
On March 15, an article in the Lewiston-Auburn Newspaper “Sun Journal” announced that the project in Auburn would be shutdown. Lufthansa Technik wants to separate the wings from the fuselage, box up all of the parts and ship everything to Germany.
Aviation experts agree that stopping the project now and separating the fuselage and wing will most likely mean that the most elaborate aircraft restoration project in the world will never take flight again. Dismantling and moving the project would entail costs that could otherwise be used to complete the restoration.
Aviation enthusiasts all over the world! Please support this call to the Lufthansa management to complete this project in Auburn and make this unique flying monument available for the public to enjoy.
Dear Mr. Spohr (Chairman Deutsche Lufthansa AG),
Dear Doctor. Kley (Chairman Supervisory Board Deutsche Lufthansa AG)
We the undersigned ask you to please reconsider your "stop work" decision and to leave the Lufthansa Starliner Project in Auburn, Maine to be made airworthy again.
Your commitment and that of the many participants and sponsors to this globally unique project has earned the highest respect of the aviation community worldwide. Both Lufthansa and Lufthansa Technik have again proved their dedication to uphold the highest standards within the industry.
Finish the Super Star Constellation in Auburn.
Your experts are there.
Preserve this unique cultural asset of aviation and associated aviation companies, especially that of Deutsche Lufthansa.
Let the public enjoy viewing and possibly flying on the the only airworthy “Starliner” Constellation in the world.
Please don't clip her wings.
Let this bird fly!
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