Lockheed 89 Constitution
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Win Bryson, e-mail, 26.11.2020 06:20

Hi James,
I (sort of) saw the Constitution t/o from Allegheny County Airport. As a kid and short, with Dad, from behind the crowd at the fence all I saw was the top of the tail go-by and then the JATO clouds as it rose. WOW!
Can you tell me the date of that event?

Ned, e-mail, 05.06.2020 20:02

Buddy and I were aircraft nuts in the mid '60s. We dove down to South Florida to check over some of the airports for interesting sights. At Ops Locka? we came across a parked Constitution which had seen better days. It was open so we climbed inside to look around. Most interesting were passages into the wings. Still have a picture o r two I took.

Barry, 10.11.2016 16:55

Identified here by the Lockheed model number it was probably better known by the U.S.N. model number R6V. There was, as noted, only two built with the first flying on 9th November 1946. The second (Bu. No. 85164) took to the air on 9th June 1948. This model had a complete luxury top deck cabin which also featured a spiral staircase down to the cargo compartment. On 3rd February 1949 this aircraft flew 74 members of the press across the USA from Moffet Field to Washington International Airport; the first time that any passenger plane had flown non-stop across the country.

Crew 12 Passengers 168
Power plant 4 x 3,000 h.p Pratt & Whitney R-4360 radials

Span 189'1" Length 156'1" Height 50'4" Wing area 3,610 sq ft
Empty weight 113,780 lb Loaded weight 160,000 lb
Maximum take off weight 184,000 lb

Maximum speed 303 mph Cruising speed 260 mph
Range 5,390 miles Service ceiling 28,600 ft

P Meachen, e-mail, 11.07.2016 10:51

According to a film on the superb `BOMBERGUY` Youtube channel,the wheels on the plane were spun prior to landing,so that they were ready for touch down,

JOE HANCHEY AD3, e-mail, 18.11.2015 20:22

I was stationed with VR-5 DET USNAS SAND DIEGO. 1950 thru 1953. started out loading cargo on R4DS R5DS and yes the R6O which was a big deal then. It took a lot of cargo and people. If it had to stay overnight because of mechanical problems, we had to unload and reload the next day. one thing was engine problems, to much aircraft for engines, when flying back to Frisco, if had engine problems it would return to S D and dump fuel over Point Loma.
We also loaded the MARS FLYING BOATS When they came down.
after a year I moved up to providing weight and balance for all our aircraft but the R60.
I remember the finest well trained people and how they did their work. (we would bitch about each other but would not let anyone else).

Klaatu83, e-mail, 28.10.2015 04:48

As was the case with the contemporary Convair XC-99 and Bristol Brabizon, the Lockheed Constitution was a great technical achievement, but the customers simply weren't interested.

Michael, e-mail, 16.08.2015 08:35

My Grandfather, LCDR John Doherty was on the crew at a offer that serviced the Constitution. My father recently gave me the complete service manual for the planes along with a scrap book. I wish that we could have saved one of those amazing aircraft for people to see.

Larry Thomas, e-mail, 24.05.2015 00:33

I saw one of the R60 in Las Vegas I think in 1961 and also I think in late 50's or early 60's I saw one of them in Gulfport airport being refueled. Don't know which direction it was heading. Correct me if I'm wrong.

James J. Fry, e-mail, 27.01.2014 02:58

My Uncle, Charles William "Bill" Fry,12/5/15 to 5/4/2001--rank on tombstone is ADC---I remember him telling me about going out in wings to work on engines..He had a duty station at the Lockheed Factory while they were building the second plane and did all of the test flig-hts, etc...I remember going to Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh to see him on the plane during the 19 city tour-1950-He loved the duty on that airplane,very professional.

capt. frank sosa, miami,fla., e-mail, 26.09.2013 08:51

Thank you for all comments about R 6 constitution. I need more information for constitution Navy 164, I writing a book. I was the last owner of constitution aircraft.

frank sosa last owner, e-mail, 12.08.2013 10:11

constitution was the real procursort of the big commecial aviation or airlines today if was the constitution abande I will try to save agaim

capt. frank sosa, e-mail, 04.01.2013 09:37

Iwas last owner of constitution navy 164 I try to save i but no was possible to many stupit people in this world was in my way and destroy the the plane. I workingin my book. and keek america free, miami fl.

Dave Paulley, e-mail, 23.06.2012 22:11

I was attached to Air Transport Squadron Five (VR-5) from 1952-1955. I held the rating of Machinest Mate AD-3. We had the two Lockheed R60's in our squadron for two or three of those years. I would fly as second mechanic on them from time to time. Never recorded the hours I flew on them but was substantial. I thought they were a great aircraft and would have been really great had they had the right powerplants but of course they were not available at the time. I paint aviation art, check my web site

Dave Paulley
PO Box 415
Osage, WY 82723

Roger Michael Milnr, e-mail, 26.03.2012 21:41

Sorry, made an error,In my last comment about my dad, Roger Maddy Milner, PO 1, I said he was with vf-1, that could have been vr-1 since he workd on Prop. planes, but, during the war he did work on fighter planes.

Roger Michael Milner, e-mail, 26.03.2012 21:26

Another thing that my Momtold me about Dad, was the planes the Navy bought, as she said, was from boeing, and that, " every time he turned around something was wrong" don't know if it was this planeor some other plane, but, he's squdern,VF-7, was the death of him an some other membrs, there names are unknown or if Mom ever said I forgotten.

Sydney Bingman, e-mail, 26.03.2012 01:42

My mother was part of the history of the Navy R60 from 1947-48 (Mary E. Welch) where Frank Powers interviewed with her in New Hampshire. Sad to day, but there was no mention of the women crew in the book. My dad is wondering why?

John B Doughton CTMC USN Ret, e-mail, 25.01.2012 20:20

My first duty station was at NAF Litchfield Park Ariz . It was the Navys storage facility then and had about 2500 WWII up planes pickled there. We had both both R6's stored there . this was 56/57. Both planes had been runup regularly until just before i got there.Someone had accidently shut off oil pumps during runup and ruined several engines. Had several pictures of interior but over the years lost them . Remember the spiral staircase to the lower deck and the phone switchboard.If i remember correctly top deck had 7 seats across and lower deck was cargo only.Had your hatches to wings so you could go out into the wing to the engines. The instrument panel had a indicator light to come on when you touched down on runway. We had some scenes for a movie taken their in 57. Was "LADY TAKES A FLIER" with Lana Turner and Jeff Chandler. You can see it once in a while on Turner Classic Movies.It has a short shot from the air Showing lots of the planes we had stored their showing (i think also) the two R6's John D

W R Bill Wilkins, e-mail, 06.12.2011 21:52

Was at NAS Sandpoint Seattle in1954 or 5 was very surprised when this huge planed (very short runway) and parked very close to the control tower .I informed the pilot we did not have tow bar I didn't know how we could back him up not to worry he said the next day he cranked up and preceded to back out..I was amazed as I had never heard of revers props


Shel Simonovich, e-mail, 13.11.2011 19:56

My correct E-mail address is vmfaw-531@wvisp.com and I apologize for the error.
Due to the small space here, I apparently made some errors so here are my correct comments, at least for this time:
The correct designation is R6O, not R60. That is the letter 'O' not the number zero. Naval aircraft type/model designations used a letter to tell the class or type (fighter, transport, etc) then a number for the model of that class by that manufacturer (FF, F2F, F3F, F4F, F5F, F6F, etc. Note the first one has no number, just as in algebra you don't use the expression 1X but only the X, so this was the sixth transport by Lockheed, not the sixth design). This number was followed a letter for the manufacturer, followed by a number for series variations on the basic design (used like the D in P-51D) and any modifications such as night, photo recon or such (again, letters).
Harry Truman was president from 1945-52 and used a C-54 called the Sacred Cow, as I recall. Ike used a VC-121 Constellation called the Columbine. No president used the R6O/R6V Constitution. After Eisenhower, the executive transport has been known as 'Air Force One' whenever the president is aboard but not otherwise.

Shel Simonovich, e-mail, 13.11.2011 19:10

The correct designation is R6O, not R60. That is the letter 'O' not the number zero. Naval aircraft type designations used a letter to tell the class (fighter, transport, etc) then a number for the series of that class by that manufacturer (FF, F2F, F3F, F4F, F5F, F6F, etc. Note the first one has no number, just as in algebra you don't use the expression 1X but only the X.) so this was the sixth transport by Lockheed, not the sixth design. This number was followed a letter for the manufacturer, followed by a number (used like the D in P-51D) and any modifications (again, letters).
Harry Truman was president from 1945-52 and used a C-54 called the Sacred Cow, as I recall. Ike used a VC-121 Constellation called the Columbine. No president used the R6O/R6V Constitution. After Eisenhower, the executive transport has been known as Air Force One whenever the president is aboard but not otherwise.

FRANK POWERS, e-mail, 21.04.2011 00:36

I wrote the book

Roger Michael Milner, e-mail, 16.04.2011 05:44

Remember seeing a picture of this airplane or one quite similer asm a child, My Dad, First-Class Petty Officer out of Moffent Field in 54?-58was flight engeer, Roger Maddy Milner.

Jay Bauer, e-mail, 12.02.2011 17:21

My father was one of the pilots on this aircraft and flew both of them. He still has his log books and has the flight manual for it. He has all the stories too.

Ben Beekman, e-mail, 16.01.2011 23:50

If I remember correctly, Harry Truman was president in 1948 (some called him "high-tax Harry") and his personal aircraft was the Lockheed Constitution.

Leroy McVay, e-mail, 12.01.2011 05:37

1953, AN on line crew at North Island. One of these came in, stood fire bottle on port wing for start up. Some how got a stack fire on #2. Signaled for a 2 finger run up to suck the fire out. Took care of that problem!

Bob Duff, e-mail, 29.12.2010 23:35

I was in the fueling crew of VR-21 Barbers Point in 1951. I spent a half day on Stbd wing of one of these. I didn't think I'd ever get it fueled.

Don Safer, e-mail, 18.10.2010 00:06

As can be gathered from the "comments" posted here, the Constitutions were indeed operational.
My supervisor for most of my time with GTE Lenkurt, San Carlos California ('68-'83) was Charles (Charlie) Bell, a former air crewman aboard the Constitutions. He told us several stories about them but the only thing that comes to mind is the unreliability of the engines. They would carry a spare engine on it's regular flights to Hawaii and would often do an engine change there.

Gene Richards, e-mail, 06.10.2010 18:21

I rode in the R6O Dec 26, 1950, NAS North Island to NAS Moffett. My seat was right behind the cockpit bulkhead which housed a beautiful scale model of the USS Constitutiion enclosed in a glass case.

Clem Miller, e-mail, 03.10.2010 05:06

AS a kid in the early fifties we referred to this aircraft as the R SIXTY, which is wrong. It is a R 6 ZERO, R being Navy for transport, 6 being 6th design by Lockheed and 0 (zero) Navy code for Lockheed

Robert B. Stewart, e-mail, 05.01.2010 04:15

While stationed at Alameda with VR2 I caught a hop from Moffit to NAS North Island, San Diego on one of these. If I had realized how underpowered it was, I probably would have hitchhiked like I normally did.

James Pundsack, e-mail, 06.08.2009 01:29

Former Crew Member looking for the specificaion of this aircraft.

Phil van Leeuwen, e-mail, 10.04.2009 00:15

When I was a tyke growing up in Buffalo, NY, my dad took us all out to Buffalo Municipal Airport to view and enter the R60. It was a gargantuan aircraft to such a little kid and I'll never forget it. Sometime later, I bought a bunch of press release photos of the R60 and other aircraft of the same period. I just came from my bedroom after looking for them and found an empty envelope where they had been. I'm scratching my head and most assuredly NOT happy about this. I'll keep looking and ask everyone in the family what the hell happened to them. If I find them, I'll have sharp copies made professionally and send them to you. In the meantime, I'm going to start pulling fingernails out of people here. Best of luck with your book in any case. Phil van Leeuwen, Lawrenceville, NJ

Donald Johnson, e-mail, 21.03.2008 08:04

If still timely, you should contact my father by us mail. He was part of the VR4 detachment sent to Burbank in April 1948 to prepare for Navy acceptance in July. He remained with the project until late 1948. He has some photos and anecdotes that might be of interest to Steve.

Donald K. Johnson ATCM USN Ret.
PO Box 595
Esparto, CA 95627

Frank Powers, e-mail, 26.08.2007 18:22

Hi if anyone has any orginal pictures and material on the R60-1 Constitution please send this material to Steve Ginter1754 Warfied Cir. Simi Valley CA 93063. Steve is puting material I have collected over the years into a book to be publish latter this year. All help would be greatly appreciated.

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