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Qantas Founders Museum finishes Connie external restoration

written by WOFA | July 13, 2018

The Qantas Founders Museum’s restoration of a Lockheed Super Constellation it purchased more than three years ago has reached a significant milestone with the external restoration of the aircraft fully complete.

The aircraft has been painted in what the museum described as “Qantas Super Constellation” livery featuring the name Southern Spray on the nose, a red cheatline along the passenger windows and the word Qantas on the fuselage.

Meanwhile, the Australian flag, a Flying Kangaroo and registration VH-EAM are on the tailplane.

“The livery details were provided from original Qantas 1950’s drawings, sourced and reproduced by Qantas’ Curator and Engineering technical staff,” the Qantas Founders Museum said in a statement.

The Qantas Founders Museum purchased the Super Constellation, which had been grounded for 25 years, at an auction of old aircraft organised by the Manila International Airport Authority in September 2014.

The Super Constellation was previously operated by World Fish and Agriculture Inc to transport fish cargo and the United States Air Force. It was similar to those flown by Qantas in the 1940s and 1950s.

Since being purchased, the aircraft, N4247X, has been raised out of the mud, had its engines/propellers, tails, wings and landing gear removed and made safe for moving.


It was transported to Australia in 2017, first on a ship from Manilla and then by road from Townsville to the home of the museum in Longreach.

Another look at the Super Constellation. (Qantas Founders Museum)
A 2014 file image of the Super Constellation when it was at Manila Airport. (Qantas Founders Museum)

The wings, landing gear and engines were attached in May.

“The Super Constellation Project has been a long and at times trying project but the end result with a beautiful aircraft externally restored, is well worth it,” Qantas Founders Museum chief executive Tony Martin said.

“This project would not have been completed without the hard work and dedication of our Project Manager Rodney Seccombe, Qantas Engineering, our contractors and volunteers and the support of our sponsors and community, thank you to everyone who assisted us.

“The new aircraft is an important addition to our aircraft collection and enables us to tell a significant part in the history of Qantas while featuring one of the most iconic aircraft in commercial aviation history.”

Highlights of the Constellation in Qantas colours

  • Constellations operated Qantas’s Kangaroo route air services between London and Sydney from 1947
  • The Constellation was the first Qantas aircraft to feature flight hostesses, and the first pressurised aircraft operated by Qantas.
  • The Super Constellation operated the first Qantas trans-Pacific air service in 1954
  • The Super Constellations in Qantas colours operated first ever regular round-the-world air services via both hemispheres in 1958

(Source: Qantas Founders Museum)

Attention now turns to the cabin interior.

“The next stage of the project will be the internal restoration and display creation which the Qantas Founders Museum hopes to be completed by the Qantas Centenary year of 2020,” the museum said.

Further, it was expected the Super Constellation would be available for display to museum visitors later in 2018.

VIDEO: A look at the external restoration of the Super Constellation from the Qantas Founders Museum YouTube channel.


  • John Reid


    Well done to the Qantas Founders Museum! I enjoyed my visit there last year, looks like I will have to go back in a couple of years to see this Super Connie in her glory. I wonder if any of the engines will eventually be operable? The sound should be amazing

    • Ray Klett


      Absolutely agree. Go back and would also love to hear the big radials fire up.

  • Rick Hawthorne


    This a fantastic update and congratulations to Chief Executive Tony Martin and his team for initiating this project. As a resident of the Philippines I know this old bird well. I walked through and around ‘Winky’s Fish, the aircraft, many times in the late 1980s after it was abandoned in Manila. Negotiating the purchase and subsequent shipping wasn’t an easy task but success eventual came. Critically I didn’t read any Qantas management involvement unfortunately. I still look at my photos of this Connie in awe. Now it’s sporting Qantas colours and it looks really smart.

  • Kenneth


    Job well done.
    It’s a beauty to watch fly, have seen the one in Switzerland circling the alps many times.

  • Murray


    Should be good to see at QANTAS’s Centenary.

  • Desert Storm


    It has not cropped up in any of the updates regarding the restoration project but these birds also used to drop into the Cocos (Keeling) Islands as I recall?

  • Stephen Marshall


    This Australian Aviation article reminded me of my Christmas 1957 school holidays!

    Mum and dad and my sister lived in Lagos, Nigeria; I was a boarder at Shore School, North Sydney; my dad was in the Colonial Service and when I started boarding school we lived in Fiji, and then dad chose a transfer to Nigeria. I used to go home for holidays once a year.

    I can’t imagine it happening today but I flew there and back on my own; I was 11 years of age. I can recall aspects of it very clearly. Sleeping in a pull-down bunk in the Connie; the refuelling at Cocos Keeling; overnighting at Mauritius and being taken by a Swiss couple who were on the flight on a private tour of the island; sleeping in in the morning!

    I still have the Dalgetys intineray and a QF Junior Flyers Certificate. The cost of the return trip was AU 420 pounds and 5 shillings!

    After a layover in Jo’burg with friends of my fathers from Cambridge University days, Dr Malherb, I flew Sabena World Airways (altho the itinerary says British Overseas Airways to Kano, and Sabena for the return) in a DC6 (part cargo as I recall) to Kano in Nigeria, overnighted with the British Airways manager and his wife, and then flew to Lagos in a West African Airways de Haviiland Heron via Jos and Ibaden. The return trip was a mirror of the journey over.

    What an adventure for a young one!

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