After our most recent report from Constellation connoisseur Ralph Pettersen concerning the status of President Eisenhower’s executive VC-121 Constellation transport, Columbine II, presently under rebuild with Dynamic Aviation in Bridgewater, Virginia, a number of questions arose regarding what happened to Lockheed L-1649A Starliner N7361C which Lufthansa spent vast sums restoring, only to cancel the project at the last hurdle. Oddly enough, breaking news emerged about this airframe just a short while later, and Pettersen kindly gave us permission to republish his report here…
Lufthansa Lockheed Starliner Moves to Paderborn Airport in Germany
by Ralph M. Pettersen
Austrian Wings reports that Lufthansa moved the main fuselage of Starliner N7316C from a warehouse in Bremen to the airport at Paderborn, Germany during the evening hours of 22-23 February 2021. Here is an English translation of that report.
The Lufthansa Super Star is currently being secretly transferred from Bremen to Paderborn. A spokesman confirmed the transport to “Austrian Wings”.
Almost three years ago Lufthansa announced the end of its Super Star project. The largely restored aircraft was brought to Germany by the USA shortly afterwards and has since been stored in a hangar in Bremen.
On February 23, 2021, tthe historic airplane was transported from Bremen. The destination of the heavy transport is Paderborn Airport. The transport is currently paused at a motorway rest area about 12 kilometers from Paderborn.
A Lufthansa spokesman confirmed the relocation of the aircraft to Paderborn at the request of Austrian Wings: “The transport started shortly before midnight on Monday evening. The Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin Foundation would like to accommodate the Super Star in an aircraft hangar instead of in a port hall in order to ensure that the aircraft maintains its value.”
DLH Berlin-Stiftung (DLHBS) issued the following statement on February 22, 2021: “Since shipment of the airplane to Germany in late 2019, it was planned to work out a concept for the exhibition of the Starliner by the end of 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic delayed everything. One element of the concept already in place is that the plane would not be sold but remain with DLHBS. Future plans for the Starliner will therefore be worked out togther with LH. As the pandemic affected the financial situation, further developments cannot be expected until these financial problems are finally resolved. Therefore, the Starliner will probably remain disassembled for a longer period and another and better suited storage place was found in a hangar at Paderborn Airport. As stated by DLHBS, this decision has nothing to do with the presence of the Quax-Community at Paderborn Ap., responsible for the former DLH JU52, a Me108 and a Do27. The transport of the Starliner will be done in several steps – mostly during nighttime – between the February, 22nd and March 2021. But this schedule is preliminary and depends on several different parameters.”
The good news is that the airplane is being protected…the bad news is that reassembly and completion of the static display restoration will be delayed. I will post updates and hopefully some additional photos as I receive them. Thanks much to Volker Schreiner for passing on the Austrian Wings report.
We wish to thank Ralph Pettersen for permission to reproduce his report here. For those with an equal fascination for the status and history of every surviving Lockheed Constellation, please do visit his remarkable website HERE… it is an extraordinary resource for detailed information on these magnificent survivors!