Qantas Founders Museum Fundraising Appeal for Iconic Super Constellation Project

The fuselage of the "Connie" moved to the storage facility.
The fuselage of the "Connie" moved to the storage facility.
The Connie’s fuselage in Manila during its move to the storage facility. It’s US Navy markings are still visible, as are its last commercial carrier logos for Winky’s Fish! (photo via Qantas Founders Museum) 

In September, 2014, WarbirdsNews reported that the Qantas Founders Museum had acquired a derelict Lockheed Super Constellation at auction for their burgeoning museum at Longreach in Queensland, Australia. The aircraft had sat, more or less abandoned, for the past quarter century in a muddy field within the grounds of Manila International Airport in the Philippines. Since their purchase, the Qantas Founders Museum has had the aircraft carefully dismantled and moved to a more secure storage area. Now, with the Connie’s immediate future looking more secure, the museum must raise additional capital to bring the aircraft home and prepare it for display. They are in the process of raising AU$1.5 million to accomplish these aims.

The museum’s press release continues as follows…

Qantas Founders Museum is a not for profit organization which tells the story of Australia’s national airline, Qantas Airways, and how it began in Western Queensland in 1920. The museum has a variety of exhibits, interactive displays, artifacts and aircraft including an original Qantas Boeing 747, Boeing 707, DC-3 and a Catalina flying boat. 

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The Connie’s empenage during the move. It’s original US Navy markings are showing through the worn paint, from the days of its service as R7V-1 (later C-121J) Bu.131643 on the Pacific Missile Range. (photo via Qantas Founders Museum)

The Super Constellation Project’s goal is to transport the aircraft to Longreach where it will be restored to appear as a late 1950’s Qantas Super Constellation and be included in the museum’s aircraft collection, with innovative interior displays which will form the basis of another aircraft tour experience for visitors. Due to the condition of the aircraft, the museum is investigating transport options to Australia, including by ship or even possibly in an Antonov aircraft. The aircraft will then be transported by road to Longreach. Since the aircraft’s purchase, the museum has funded and completed the early stages of the project including extracting the aircraft from its mud encrusted position, lifting it and conducting extensive work to make the aircraft safe, secure and towable, disassembling and storage of the aircraft ready for transportation by ship.

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A period photo of a Qantas Super Constellation in its element. (photo via Qantas Founders Museum)

CEO of Qantas Founders Museum Tony Martin said the inclusion of the Super Constellation would increase visitor numbers to the museum and Outback Queensland region and appealed to businesses and individuals to assist the Super Constellation Project through financial and in-kind support. “Qantas Founders Museum has always seen an increase in visitors when a new aircraft exhibit is introduced to our collection such as the Boeing 747 in 2002 or the Boeing 707 in 2007. An iconic aircraft such as the Super Constellation will no doubt bring new and repeat customers to our museum and region. Longreach, like much of Western Queensland, is enduring one of the worst droughts in its history. The restoration and launch of Super Constellation will create jobs directly through the museum and indirectly through museum visitors staying in the region and requiring local services. Qantas Founders Museum is a not for profit organization. We are a fully sustainable museum, with all profits going back into the museum and its exhibits. However with a project of this size, we need all the help we can get whether it is in kind or financial support,” said Mr. Martin.

To donate to the museum and its projects, go to the Qantas Founders Museum website donation page at: www.qfom.com.au and follow the links or contact the museum by phone on: 07 4658 3737 or email: info@qfom.com.au.

 

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