A revolutionary commercial propeller transport, the Lockheed Constellation burst on the aviation scene in the early 1940s. Unheralded for the most part, due to wartime secrecy, it finally entered commercial service in 1946, and promptly set new standards for speed, range, reliability, and passenger comfort. The Connie, as it was affectionately known, pioneered new flight paths in many parts of the globe. Connies ultimately flew commercially for more than thirty years, and underwent countless modifications and upgrades during that time. They continued to be utilised by the military as well; in fact, Connies were involved in a number of endeavours that remain shrouded in secrecy to this day. This, then, is the story of a remarkable and distinctive airplane. It is also the story of the people who made the Constellation great, including aviation legends like Howard Hughes and Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. Most importantly, however, it is a story that sheds light on the dynamics of technology, politics, and society in the years 1940 to 1980. This revised edition contains an additional chapter on Constellations that are still flying today, as well as an additional appendix of the Constellation's operations manual.
Claude G. Luisada is a life-long aviation enthusiast, a past student pilot, and a freelance contributor to the first aerospace encyclopedia, Above and Beyond. He is also a long-time member of the Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, where he holds the rank of Lt. Colonel and an aero nautical rating of Master Observer. During his many years in the Civil Air Patrol, he has held numerous staff and command positions. Mr. Luisada currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico.