Lockheed C-69 Constellation

Steve Pace

Aviation History Writer
6 January 2013
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I believe this is an image of the premier Constellation. Does anyone have a higher res than this?


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I wish everyone would answer their own questions with even better photos, like these!
Oh wow... the second photo is amazing! It shows a C-69 Connie with the sole UC-101, a Vega drafted in 1942!
The serial indicates that this is the very first C-69-1-LO for 1943, but there had already been 180 examples of the C-69, -1-LO and -5-LO ordered in 1942. In fact it's the first in a batch of nine, the last batch of C-69 ordered. According to Joe Baugher's site, it was c/n 049-1961, which appeared on civil registry as NX25600. It was later converted to XC-69E. Sold to Hughes Aircraft Co after the war as NX67900, it was repurchased by Lockheed and converted to prototype L.1049 Super Constellation... and as if this wasn't enough, it was later purchased by California Airmotive and broken up!!!

What an interesting story this Connie had!
As for the UC-101 (serial 42-94148), it was originally a commercial Vega 5C (c/n 210), registered as NC14236 and acquired from Don Marshall for use by Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. It was then sold back to Don Marshall as NC48610 in 1944. Struck off-charge on June 9, 1945.
Here's a closer view of the Vega 5C (UC-101).


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Wow. What a beauty! Thank you so much for this beautiful image!
You're welcome. Here's the original Connie at Muroc - first landing after first flight, 9 January 1943.


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The original C-69 prototype was known at Lockheed as the "Beast of Burbank" and was used for many years as a test-bed and was even stretched to Super Constellation length, as can be seen in this 1953 article from Aviation Week:


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Skyblazer said:
The original C-69 prototype was known at Lockheed as the "Beast of Burbank" and was used for many years as a test-bed and was even stretched to Super Constellation length, as can be seen in this 1953 article from Aviation Week:
...and here's how she started out. -SP


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December 9, 1942


SUBJECT: Installation of R-2800 engines in C-69 Airplane

TO: Commanding General
AAF Material Center
Wright Field
Dayton, Ohio

ATTENTION: Chief, Experimental Engineering Section

THROUGH: AAF Resident Representative

1. The Lockheed Aircraft Corporation has been running a large number of engine tests on the Wright 3350 engine being installed in the C-69 airplane. Our experience with this engine to date has been very poor. Continual difficulties have developed due to the undeveloped state of the 3350 engine, resulting in high oil consumption and increased specific fuel consumption over the original Wright guarantees to Lockheed, nose gear case cracking and some ten to fifteen other difficulties with which the Air Force is, no doubt, familiar.

2. It is the intention of Lockheed to continue working with the Wright Company towards the development of the subject engine for installation in the C-69 aircraft. However, should the engine problems prove insurmountable without major redesign, the contractor feels that he should make a study of the installation of Pratt & Whitney R-2800 in the C-69. This would be only of a preliminary nature to guide our thinking in the future should other unforeseen difficulties arise.

3. Should we be caught with such a problem, the Lockheed Corporation would desire to purchase from some other manufacturer, or possibly our subsidiary, the Vega Aircraft Corporation, the 2800 Pratt & Whitney engine installation to be adapted to the C-69 as simply as possible. In this connection, we request the Air Forces to provide us with installation drawings and photographs of available R-2800 engine installations such as on the Curtiss Commando, the Douglas XA-26 or any others which might be suitable for installation in the C-69.


Hall L. Hibbard
Vice President & Chief Engineer
DEC 24 1942

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