The Lockheed Constellation’s first flight was on 9th jan 1943. To mark the 60th anniversary, Constellation historian Peter Marson raises a few questions about one of the most popular airliners to be illustrated on postcards…………..

The only postcard I have which shows the prototype C-69 in its original military markings is a card issued by the former Kingman Armt Air Force Base in Arizona, probably in the early 40s, although the other images of AT-6 Harvards, B-17s and the Douglas B-19 display colour schemes from pre-1943. Are any others known ?

Picking up on the article on Real Photographs Ltd, I have so far found 8 Connies in their series

No ID Description Approx date
3305 NX6700 +N6014C 1049  prototype + TWA 749A Nov 50
3371 N6201C 1st production 1049 (later to Eastern) Aug 51
4303 F-BHBB 1049G Air France Jul 55

4305 128434 First US Navy R7V-1 Oct 52
? 294558 First Connie with Speedpack cargo holder Aug 46
A5058 NC108A 649  of Eastern Jul 47
A5128 EI-ADO 749 of Aerlinte Irish Air Lines Sep 47
A5152 NC86520 749 Pan Am “First round the world” Jun 47

The “Speedpack” card has no visible number or PC back – just the Real Photographs copyright statement on the back. There appear to be two number series with the A prefix having higher numbers but earlier images. Now do readers know of any more ?

Thirdly, a lesser known publisher of Constellation cards was Swissair, despite never operating the type. I visited their archives in the early 1960s and bought a copy of all they could find of their black and white cards published in the 1950s. All appear to have been phpotographed at Zurich, which is logical as the photo section was based there. I wonder how many more there were and what has happened to their archives since their collapse. Those I have are :-

TWA 049 NC90815
TWA 749A N6011C (close up nose + engines): N6012C (Take off from below); N6022C 3/4 front taxying – my favorite, see overpage)
Air France 749 F-BAZR taxying
KLM 1049C PH-LKS ¾ front parked
KLM 1049G PH-LKF side parked

The next question is passed on from the Journal of the Australian Aviation Postcard Society. The trigger for a it was an Internet auction which raised $38US (= £23) for the following card of a Link blind-flying trainer. One of the relatively rare number of airline cards showing “behind the scenes” activity, this card is numbered 9 in a series.

Now if there is one thing collectors love it is numbered series because you have some idea what is yet to be found. So the question asked is what other cards were issued by Ansett Airlines in this series? Two ground shots are known, one of a “real” DC-3 with small passenger door and another of a C-47 with freight type door. The former, shown, actually promotes another back-room activity, namely the supply of airline food with a title No 6 of a series: Hygienic handling of food for Ansett Airways passengers. The C-47, with disembarking passengers, is VH-RMA on No 7. As these are both one is in colour it is assumed that this is also true of the Link original.

Staying with things Australian, a set of cards was recently auctioned on the Internet which appear to be the Australian equivalent of the the “Flight” series in that they are all Black and White photographic and show airliners of various vintages from the 1940s to the 1960s. The oldest type was a 1930s British Airways Lockheed 14 and the latest an HS.748 of Air Botswana. Some cards prominently display airline titles and logos and could be mistaken for Airline issues. The most successful at auction was this card of a Viking of the airline of the then-Portuguese Indian possession of Goa. This Viking CR-IAC had previously been with BEA. The card went to Portugal for $50 (US not Australian).

Some but not all of the series carry the imprint “Empire Day Cards” and a seven digit number.  Those offered included no Australian airliners and included, apart from those mentioned above :-

PanAm Stratocruiser, Scottish Aviation Liberator, SAIDE-Egypt SM.95, BEA Viking, Airnautic Stratoliner, Airwork India DC-4, Araiana Afghan DC-6B, Southwest (Japan) CV240, AVENSA CV-580, Catair Caravelle.

So, Australian member and AAPSOC members, anything known ? Lastly, to AAPSOC, we seem to have an old E-address, so, if you have any answers, please kill two birds by E-mailing from your current address.

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