Qantas Founders Museum (QFM) has made some significant progress with their Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation Bu.131643. As many of our readers will be well aware, this aircraft has sat outside at Manila International Airport in the Philippines for the best part of 30 years. The Australian museum acquired her at auction back in September, 2014, probably saving the iconic aircraft from destruction. Being so far from her new home and having a limited budget has presented many logistical challenges to the project team. The first hurdle was to safely disassemble the massive airliner into manageable subsections and store them nearby. This they completed successfully in April, 2015, with Cebu Pacific Air generously donating the secure storage site. But on Monday, December 12th, QFM was finally able to move their prize to the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) facility at the Manila International Container Port, where she now awaits a seaborne passage to Australia.
The nine mile journey on seven low-loader trucks took about four and half hours in the early morning. It was a complicated affair, as one might imagine, and required the close cooperation of a number regional agencies, including the police. The massive move required them to lift power lines and temporarily close sections of a major Manila highway to allow the oversized load to pass over some of the opposing lanes. The journey seems to have gone smoothly though, thanks to the professionalism of the transportation crew and local support.
In their press release, Qantas Founders Museum Chairman John Vincent said “Moving a 60 plus year old disassembled, very large aircraft is no easy feat so we are delighted that this stage of the project has been completed and the aircraft is one step closer to its final home of Longreach. Qantas Founders Museum has spent over two years fundraising and working on this project and we look forward to having this iconic aircraft in our museum collection soon. I want to sincerely thank and to acknowledge all the support, assistance and advice we have received from Qantas Airways and Qantas Engineering, retired aviation engineers, Lufthansa Technik Philippines, MIAA, Cebu Pacific Air, our contractors and advisers in Manila and Australia and now ICTSI. I want to particularly acknowledge the hard work that our Project Manager Rodney Seccombe has contributed to get the project to this stage.”
QFM hope to have the Connie on her way to their base in Longreach, Queensland in mid-2017. They are still very much in need of funding to help finance both the aircraft’s move, and her restoration. Anyone wishing to help with this important task or to help the museum in general should click HERE to find out how they can contribute.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM AND THE SUPER CONSTELLATION AIRCRAFT
Qantas Founders Museum is a non-profit organization which tells the story of Australia’s national airline, Qantas Airways, and how it began in Western Queensland in 1920. The museum, which has an annual visitation of 40,000 people a year, has a variety of exhibits, interactive displays, artefacts and aircraft including an original Qantas Boeing 747, Qantas’ first Boeing 707, a DC3 and a Catalina flying boat together with replicas of early-era aircraft.