Sunday, February 24, 2019

Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) Lockheed C-121C Super Constellation 'Connie' VH-EAG.

The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) based at Illawarra Regional Airport, south of Sydney, was formed in the late 1970's by a group of aviation enthusiasts interested in the preservation of Australian aviation history.

The mission at HARS is to recover, and where possible, restore to flying condition aircraft that have played a significant part in Australian aviation history.

Among the growing collection at Historical Aviation Restoration Society is Lockheed L-121C Super Constellation VH-EAG, and although this particular airframe (#4176) did not flying for the flying kangaroo, was however painted in a retro Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) livery after acquired by HARS.

Manufactured in 1955, VH-EAG aka 'Connie' commenced it's flying career with the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) section of the United States Air Force (USAF) but transferred to the Air National Guard in the early 1960's where it served until 1977.

Upon retirement, the aircraft was mothballed at Davis Montham Air Base, or more commonly known as the 'Bone Yard' in Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Unfortunately, 'Connie' was left to deteriorate in open storage until the early 1990's when HARS successfully negotiated acquisition of the aircraft from the USAF. As this point, HARS volunteers commenced restoring the aircraft at Pima Air & Space Museum adjacent to the Bone Yard.

During this time, Qantas provided assistance by offering cheap airfares for the many journeys back and forth. Connie' was test flown for the first time in nearly 18yrs in September 1994 however was not ready for it's journey across the Pacific Ocean.

Ongoing restoration and testing continued for sometime followed by the application of a fresh coat of paint donated by Lockheed before eventually making the long flight to Sydney in February 1996.

Designed by Lockheed Aircraft in the late 1930's / early 1940's, the Constellation first flew in 1943 however World War II meant all aircraft production was used by the US for transport purposes. Production of the Constellation continued until the late 1950's in which several variants (civil and military) including the Super Constellation were developed.

Qantas Empire Airways (QEA) was a number of airlines that purchased the Super Constellation for long haul flights and operated a total of 16 examples from the late 1940's until the late 1950's when it was replaced by the Boeing 707-100.

Air Queensland.blogspot would like to sincerely thank Aussie Aviation Photography for allowing us to share these truly wonderful photos of  "Connie" captured during 'Wings Over Illawarra 2016'

Of interest, more superb photo's by Aussie Aviation Photography can be found on Flickr :


Saturday, February 16, 2019

A quick look at the ICP Savannah

The ICP Savannah is a high wing, single engine, recreational sport aircraft with side-by-side seating for two. Produced in Italy, the Savannah can be supplied to customers or importers / representatives as a ready-to-fly aircraft, or kit-form to be assembled by an amateur builder.

The Savannah can be flown by recreational pilots as a basic aircraft, or if owners are prepared to spend additional money, can be improved. Current available variants are the S and XL.

Improvement options can include (but not limited too) the addition of a digital cockpit to provide the pilot with more information, communication upgrades, enhancements to the engine or undercarriage which can include the fitment of larger, more rugged tyres, as well as a variable-pitch propeller instead of the standard fixed-type propeller.

If obtained in kit-form to be assembled privately - an engine, propeller, VHF / UHF radio and paint are not included therefore need to be sourced to complete the aircraft. The Savannah is generally powered by either a 80hp or 100hp Rotax engine, although there are other engine suppliers available such as Jabiru. 

Information from the manufacturer suggests the general cruise speed of a 100hp Rotax powered Savannah complete with vortex generators (VG) to the upper-front section of the wings, designed to improve the angle-of-attack before stalling, is 90 knots, with a maximum speed of 95 knots. It is recommended for the speed to never exceed 108 knots though. Stall speed with full flaps is a very slow 26 knots, although approach speed is about 35 knots.  

The maximum range of the Savannah with standard fuel tanks is listed as approximately 355nm / 657km. 

In Australia, the importer / supplier of ICP Savannah light sport aircraft is Aerokits :