Flying on the ultimate Constellation in 1957

The June 14, 1957 issue of The Aeroplane featured a report of flying on a TWA L-1649A Starliner, which details what it was like to fly on this iconic propliner.

 

The Lockheed Constellation was produced in a number of variants, with the L-1649A the final civil version. US airline TWA was the first carrier to put the Starliner into service on June 1, 1957.

The Lockheed Constellation was produced in a number of variants, with the L-1649A the final civil version. US airline TWA was the first carrier to put the Starliner into service on June 1, 1957.  Impressions of the Starliner  A FLIGHT of one hour and forty minutes is not, perhaps, one of satisfactory duration for the assessment of the characteristics of a transport aircraft which is essentially long-haul. And the Lockheed L-1649A, which Trans World Airlines introduced on the North Atlantic services on June 1, is very much a long-haul aircraft, with, probably, a longer absolute range than any other civil aircraft in service today. Nevertheless, such a flight – duplicated, since it was made in both directions between Frankfurt and London Airport – provided suitable periods at a cruising altitude of 15,000ft. during which the L-1649A could be judged. By piston-engined standards it is smooth and reasonably quiet and the noise level does not vary very much from one end of the fuselage to the other. The quietest part is, as with similar aircraft, aft of the door, lobby and galley area – but, with the fuselage lengthened, in effect, forward of the wing and engines, the seats in the forward of the three main compartments set a fairly high standard. Turbojet aircraft, when they enter service again, will reverse the previous "best-seat" standards, and the first-class areas will be those ahead of the wing and intakes. As put into service with T.W.A., the L-1649A's fuselage is divided into three passenger compartments – or, in the case of mixed-class versions, into four compartments. In the all-tourist version, there is a 15-seat section, just aft of the control cabin area, partially separated from the central main compartment by twin toilets. Aft of the main cabin there is the galley, lobby and entrance area, and behind that an aft compartment, with two toilets ahead of the rear pressure bulkhead. The seats in the central and aft compartment total 59 in the tourist version – making 74 seats in all. With a mixed-class layout
A T.W.A. Starliner, at London Airport. Photographs copyright “The Aeroplane”

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