The creation of a flying legend

The story of the legendary Lockheed Constellation series, to which the L1649A belongs, began on a hot summer’s day in 1939 when charismatic entrepreneur, Howard Hughes, unveiled his plan for a fast passenger aircraft at the Lockheed aircraft works.
The “Connie” would enable his TWA airline to fly non-stop between the east and west coasts of the USA for the first time.

Lockheed took the bait and, from the first rough sketches produced by Howard Hughes, created what was probably the most elegant and most famous passenger aircraft of all time. As the final model of the long Constellation series the L1649A Super Star, which went into production in 1956, is the technological high-point while at the same time signifying the grand finale of the era of long-range, piston-powered air travel.

At a time, proving to be the dawn of jet travel, the full state of aircraft art went into the design. And Super Star pilots still confirm: If ever the industry saying that aircraft with a beautiful form also fly well applied to any aircraft type, then it was the Lockheed L1649A!

Earlier models in the Constellation series may already have been pioneers in world air travel, but the 44 L1649As that were built opened up new horizons with their extreme range of up to 11,300 km. With these aircraft it was now possible for the first time to fly long distances, such as Hamburg to New York, with a full payload, yet without having to make the refueling stop which had been inevitable up to then.

A successor to the L1649A was never developed because with the jet age, long-haul flights needed to be covered in ever shorter times. Production of the Constellation series' only model built specifically for civil aviation came to an end in February 1958.
"Starliner" was actually the name given to the L1649A by its manufacturer
Cross-sectional drawing of a "Super Star" from 1957