Re: Status of Maine 1649 Connies?

From: (Tim Takahashi)
Organization: University of Rochester, School of Engineering
Date:         07 Jul 96 14:16:00 
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John Liebson <> wrote:
>>     As far as their being a "flop", Alaska Airlines flew them into the
>>middle '60's and didn't consider them to be "flops".
>That does not make the aircraft a commercial success, which is was
>not. Only a very few were built, Lockheed lost a lot of money on the
>project, most of the original buyers quickly disposed of them.

A point of curiosity for me concerns Lockheeds motivation in the mid
to late 1950's. The 1649 Starliner is a rather significant upgrade
to the Constellation airframe; clearly the Electra was in
development at the same time. When you look at the two side
by side and in comparision with an earlier Constellation
some interesting things are noted.

The earlier Connies all subscribed to the elliptical planform
wing paradigm. The Starliner had a more conventional linear
taper wing. Presumably, the Starliner had additional
twist for induced drag reasons... were the high lift
systems different?

It seems that all Connies were fitted with three-bladed
propellors, where as the Electra has those enormous
four-bladed jobs that fan virtually the enitre flapped
span of the wing. The arrangement of engines is rather
different, with the Connies having the engines grouped
inboard. The Electra has pretty good short field
performance, what were the Connies like?

The Hercules was well under way by 1955; there was no
serious attempt at making a turboprop Starliner..
It seems that turbo-compound piston engines were
maintenence headaches - any ideas for the popularity
of piston engines?

The Electra was a short/mid range airplane, the
Connie/Starliner a mid-longer range airplane. Yet
the Electra has a noticably higher top speed.
Any rationale? By visual aesthetics alone,
the COnnie would appear the cleaner design