Lockheed Super Constellation

By Keith Mitchell and Peter Johnson

Now here's something a bit different!! - Club and LMA Member Keith Mitchell's Super Constellation currently being built by fellow club Member Peter Johnson. The aircraft being modelled is N6937C 'Star of America' in TWA livery

Obviously the sheer size and weight of this model will mean we sadly wont see it flying at Blyth (due to our weight restrictions on model aircraft) but we are sure it will be a show stopper around the country at the LMA shows and not one to be missed!

Here is Keith's story.

The model was purchased in Jan' 2012 from Tony Nijhuis and was advertised as '70% finished' which was somewhat of an overstatement as we found out when we went to collect it. This necessitated a round trip of some 750 miles to Hastings towing a trailer, which we managed in some 14 hours or so.

When we got the model back and began to examine it more closely we were aghast at what we found. It was so poorly built that it would have broken up - not in flight - but on the first bumpy taxi on a grass strip!! We knew that there would have to be major structural rebuilding and strengthening across the entire airframe and, to boot, there were major scale inaccuracies if it were to represent a 'Super' Constellation. The issues were confirmed when LMA Over 20kg Inspector, Phil Clarke of Fighter Aces made his initial inspection.

At the outset, it is important to state that Peter had agreed to take construction of the project on as I have my own - a 1/4-scale Vampire - that I'm trying to progress. My part was to support him and pay the bills.

As you will see from the photo's, the model already looks magnificent and is testimony to Peter's fine building skills (I can tell you it's even more impressive in the flesh. Peter's garden was just big enough!). A second inspection by Phil earlier in the year confirmed that the model was now adequately strong and proceeding satisfactorily.

We displayed it recently at the LMA's close of season static display at Gaydon Heritage Motor Museum, where there was much interest. I let Peter respond to the many enquirers resulting in him losing his voice by the end of the day!

As to completion date, probably the end of 2014, so hopefully after it's full test schedule of 12 flights it should appear in 2015 - fingers crossed.....

Anyway, below are some photos of the work so far. Here, Peter is making the first of 4 engine cowling's from fibre glass

Peter makes good progress on the tail section with a lot of strengthening work on the fundamental structure. Sheeted with vast quantities of 3mm balsa

Considerable strengthening of the centre-section. The fuselage and wing required internal spar strengthening, much ply doubling and cross-bracing at the mounting points. The wing centre section is sheeted with 2mm lite ply. The model has passed an inspection at this point by LMA Inspector Phil Clarke

The centre section and tail together. Here we find Peter with his long suffering wife, Val.

Peter begins to skin the model with fibre glass. Here Peter has started the wing centre section and is now rubbing it down.

The first dry assembly of the model on October the 21st 2013. Impressive stuff!!!.

The finished model at the October 2014 LMA event at Gaydon, simply stunning. The paint job was undertaken by Phil Noel of Pinnacle Aviation.

Here are the specifications:

Scale: 1/6th

Wingspan: 21'

Length: 19'

Wing Area: 46 sq ft

Projected Weight: 200lb

Wing Loading: 3.9lb/sq ft

Engines: 4 x ZDZ 90cc singles

Prop's: 28x10 (2-blade) or 26x10 (3-blade)

Radio: Futaba 12MG 14 Channel transmitter & 5 x 6014 Rx's,

5 x 6V battery packs

13 Channels: Aileron, Elevator, Rudder, Flaps (4), Throttles (4), Retracts, landing lights.