Columbine II – mid-April Update

Engine starts on Columbine II. Three of the four R-3350s have run on the Constellation, though only at low power at present. (photo by Scott Glover via Dynamic Aviation)
Engine starts on Columbine II. Three of the four R-3350s have run on the Constellation, though only at low power at present. (photo by Scott Glover via Dynamic Aviation)
Engine starts on Columbine II. Three of the four R-3350s have run on the Constellation, though only at low power at present. (photo by Scott Glover via Dynamic Aviation)

WarbirdsNews has been reporting regularly on Dynamic Aviation’s efforts to resuscitate the former presidential VC-121A Constellation known as ‘Columbine II’ in Marana, Arizona. The team of engineers have been hard at work on the aircraft for the past month, and while they have achieved much, there is still some way to go before the company decides whether it can get the aircraft flying again for a ferry hop to Bridgewater, Virginia. One big piece of news is that they have successfully run three of the four engines, though only at low power settings for the moment. The #4 engine is still dormant due to a recalcitrant fuel injection system. Dynamic Aviation’s head, Karl Stoltzfus,”is in the process of sending many engine components out for overhaul including leaking or otherwise malfunctioning fuel master controls, fuel injector pumps, engine driven fuel pumps, fuel flow transmitters and more.” This will help get the engines running smoothly again, and at full power.

The aircraft’s Curtiss Electric propellers are also proving to be troublesome, but not impossibly so. Before flying again, the aircraft also needs to be fully in compliance with all Airworthiness Directives for the type as well. Karl Stoltzfus and his crew are working hard to get the aircraft through all of these hurdles.

According to Ken Stoltzfus, Karl’s twin brother, “They have made progress with the aircraft hydraulic system and have run the flaps, but there are a lot of hydraulics on the Connie and they need to go through the whole system. They need a hydraulic mule for the project.

They have serviced one of the four brakes and now know what is required there, but they need to do the remaining three.” Stoltzfus continued, “Please let us know if you have or know of brakes and parts, as per Goodyear Brake (click HERE) – Goodyear Wheel Drawing (click HERE)- Goodyear Wheel (Click HERE)

There is still a need for sources for R-3350-75 or 749C18BD-1 engines or parts, and engine cowling, especially the lower cowl/oil cooler scoop, and exhaust systems, either short stacks or with the collector – – anywhere in the world. [Ed. If anyone has leads on these or other vital Connie parts mentioned, please contact Ken Stoltzfus by phone: +1-330-464-5817 or e-mail: columbine@flyinghigher.net]

I’m sure you are looking for “the final word” on the purchase, but that is still to come. It should be clear to all that there is a lot of commitment on Karl/Dynamic’s part, and that others such as Scott Glover and his guys have contributed immensely. And Dynamic’s Brian Miklos has been an incredible leader and pace-setter for others. The friendship and support of Columbine’s neighbor Bill Muszala and his ATW Aviation means a lot too. It really is quite a team effort! Nevertheless, it’s a huge and complex project and there are still some significant challenges – – so we’ll all have to wait a while longer!”

WarbirdsNews greatly appreciates the input from Ken Stoltzfus, and we will be sure to report on any new developments as they happen!

Columbine II in Marana, Arizona during Ken Stoltzfus's visit in November, 2014. (Ken Stoltzfus photo)
Columbine II in Marana, Arizona. (Ken Stoltzfus photo)

1 Comment

  1. Hi, Please contact the following for information on parts as they have an operational restored Civil Connie flying & they would have more knowledge of access to parts;

    Illawarra Regional Airport, Corner of Boomerang and Airport Roads, Albion Park Rail NSW 2527
    +612 4257 4333

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