Qan­tas Founders Mu­seum spreads its wings

Pilot - - OLD TIMERS -

The Qan­tas Founders Mu­seum (QFM) es­tab­lished at Lon­greach, Queens­land in 1996, presents the story of Aus­tralia’s na­tional air­line, Qan­tas Airways, and how it be­gan in West­ern Queens­land in 1920. It has a num­ber of air­craft on dis­play in­clud­ing an orig­i­nal Qan­tas Boe­ing 747, Qan­tas’s first Boe­ing 707, a DC-3 and a Catalina, to­gether with full-scale repli­cas of some of the most im­por­tant air­craft in the early Qan­tas fleet – DH61 Gi­ant Moth, DH50 and Avro 504K Dyak, the air­line’s first air­craft.

In Septem­ber 2014, the mu­seum made a suc­cess­ful bid for Super Con­stel­la­tion N4247K, in an auc­tion held by the Manila In­ter­na­tional Air­port Author­ity. The air­craft, which had been grounded in Manila for 25 years, had been used to trans­port fish cargo from 1981 to 1988. Orig­i­nally de­liv­ered to the US Navy as R7V-1 Buno 131643 on 8 De­cem­ber 1953, it was mod­i­fied for Air­borne Early Warn­ing du­ties as a C-121J and op­er­ated by the Pa­cific Mis­sile Range, Point Mugu from 1962 to 1974. Af­ter stor­age at Davis Mon­than it was reg­is­tered N4247K to North­ern Penin­sula Fish­eries in May 1981. QFM’S Super Con­stel­la­tion Project re­ally got un­der way in De­cem­ber 2016 when N4247K was moved to the Port of Manila to be pre­pared for the sea jour­ney to Aus­tralia by mid-2017. Once at Lon­greach it will be re­stored to ap­pear as a late 1950s Qan­tas Super Con­stel­la­tion and will be fit­ted with in­no­va­tive in­te­rior dis­plays.

The QFM re­cently com­mis­sioned a tech­ni­cal sur­vey of the Dou­glas DC-4 N44914 that has been parked at North Weald since 2005. Speak­ing to Pi­lot at Avalon on 2 March a di­rec­tor of QFM said “It’s not a done deal, we are look­ing at it and have had a sur­vey done but not yet seen the re­port. It needs to be dis­cussed fur­ther and of course we will have to raise the money to buy it and get it back. Cur­rently the Super Con­nie is our num­ber one pri­or­ity.” Painted in Air Trans­port Com­mand At­lantic Divi­sion colours and mark­ings as C-54 Sky­mas­ter 56498 for its transat­lantic jour­ney with an­other sim­i­lar DC-4 N31356, it was to have been flown for a film about the Ber­lin Air­lift, but this did not hap­pen. While the sec­ond air­craft was bro­ken up in 2013 with the nose sec­tion go­ing on dis­play at Bur­ton­wood, N44914 was kept in rea­son­able con­di­tion by Aces High. Si­mon Mur­doch re­ports that the DC-4, that has a price tag of £60,000, was in­spected by His­toric and Clas­sic Air­craft Sales in Fe­bru­ary 2017 and the com­pany is con­fi­dent that it could be re­stored to fly­ing con­di­tion.

Dou­glas DC-4 N44914 parked at North Weald since 2005 is for sale

Super Con­stel­la­tion N4247K was moved to the Port of Manila in De­cem­ber 2016 PHOTO: QFM

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