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Lockheed R7V-2

October 30 2002 at 11:27 AM
Lee McKinney 

I have read that Lockheed made two Super Constellations with turbine power for the navy. They also made two more called YC-121F for the USAF.
Would anyone know the ultimate fate of these four aircraft? Is there any chance they might still exist, maybe in Arizona?
I'll go hunt and see if I can pull up any info. but I don't have much hope.
Maybe someone who was involved will see this post and respond. Lee

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Turboprop Connies

October 30 2002, 5:08 PM 


If I'm not mistaken we hit upon this subject earlier on on this board or possibly on the old board. It's probably buried somewhere under another heading regarding Connies. However it was so long ago another go around at the subject may be interesting. My pal Don the former Connie flight engineer showed me photographs of the turbo Connies a couple of months back. The aircraft looked super with the turbo engines.


Lee McKinney


October 30 2002, 6:55 PM 

I don't know the the thinking behind some of these decisions but the turbo connie may have been bypassed by the Electra for commercial service(it sure was smooth and quiet) and the Hercules for the military. What got me to thinking about it was reading about the astronomical costs of a renewed 3350 turbocompound engine I dont think its possable to fly these old propliners in a standard catagory anymore anyway. If a turboprop conversion were available at a reasonable cost. It might be an option. No question that it would sound different. Lee

Michael Blank

Lockheed R7V-2

October 31 2002, 2:58 AM 

From the numerous books I have read about the Connie, I'm pretty sure the turbo ones were converted back to piston power by the end of the fifties and then, presumably, they will have gone through normal careers as standard L1049s (no standard Connies were, to my knowledge, given turbo power), so I'm fairly certain they aren't hanging around somewhere in Az-more's the pity.

But no, I wouldn't be in favour of re-engining a Connie now with turboprops, as it simply would no longer be authentic-there were only one or two turbo Connies produced and the project was not a success. Also, I'm pretty sure there would be unbelievable certification problems with such a one-off, as perhaps Herb Bain from AHM could confirm.

The turbo connies looked terrific however-really sleek and powerful. I'll see if I can find a picture and post it on this page, with Greg's help.

Oh and by the way, today is my birthday, so I simply had to post a message today.


Turboprop Connies and Strats

October 31 2002, 9:05 PM 

The USAF and USN experiments with turboprop powered C 121 and C 97 conversions were not, according to what I have read, intended as a prelude to converting the entire fleet. Instead these planes were to serve as test beds for new turboprop engines and give the military operational experience with these powerplants.


Happy Birthday Michael

October 31 2002, 9:27 PM 


A very BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you my friend!
I hope you received a full size fully equipped Lockheed 1049 Super Constellation for your birthday.....well, maybe a 1/32 scale at least.

Again, a very happy birthday.....and Happy Landings.


David Wood


November 2 2002, 1:33 AM 

Theire were 4 built. The airplanes concerned were BuAer no's 131660 and 131661, built as R7V2's and transfered to the Airforce as YC121F's as s/ns': 53-8157 and 53-8158.

2 more were built for the Navy as BuAer: 131630 and 131631.

The Airforce airplanes had tip tanks,the Navy ones did not.

All remained turbo prop powered ( Pratt and Whitney T43's) throughout their lives.

The 2 YC12F's were bought by Flying Tiger Line and broken up for parts for rebuilding L1049H's.

(Flying Tiger combined parts from these with 2 non flyable L1049G's, to build 2 L1049H's. They got 2 hybrid G/H's for less than the price of 1 genuine L1049H.

I have the info on these planes somewhere, reg etc and will attempt to locate it and post it on this board.)

The ex Navy airplanes were also broken up,1 at Burbank and the other at Lichfield Park, when the Navy operated its own "Bone Yard"

Hope this helps.

David Wood

Fate of the 2 T34 Powered USAF YC121F's

November 2 2002, 8:23 PM 


As promised.

In 1963, The Flying Tiger Line aquired the 2 YC121F's and also 2 ex LAV L1049G's, YV-C-AME and YV-C-AMI (Lockheed C/N's 4636 and 4674 respectively.)

The fuselages of the 2 YC121F's, being basically identical to the civilian L1049H (apart from the passenger windows, which didn't really worry Flying Tiger, being an Air Cargo Company) were then mated to the wings, power plants and tail units of the 2 L1049G's.

53-8157 was combined with YV-C-AMI and re registered as N173W.

53-8158 was combined with YV-C-AME and re registered as N9794Z and later N174W.

The reason for doing such an apparently complicated and expensive re-build, was that the actual cost of the rebuilds was not as expensive as it seems.

Flying Tiger wished to avoid paying the going price for a L1049H Freighter, which, by virtue of it being a Freighter, was much sort after on the 2nd hand market, when compared to an unconverted E or G model Super Connie.

In the early 1960's, with the arrival of the 1st passenger jets, many airlines, including TWA, couldn't find buyers for their retired passenger Super Connies.

The A.H.M. can tell you just how many retired TWA passenger Super Connies were broken up at Kansas City because of a lack of interested buyers. Many more were broken up at Fox Field in California.

So, Flying Tiger aquired the 2 ex Venezuelan Super G's for knock down prices and built 2 good hybrid L1049G/H Cargo Airplanes from 4, for less than the price of 1 new L1049H.

The biggest problem encountered was adapting the 4 airplanes electrical systems, to a uniform L1049H standard.

Both N173W and N174W ended up flying for North Slope Aviation Company in Alaska.

N173W was written off in June 1973 by The Aviation Specialties Company (its final owner)and N174W was written off in May 1970 by North Slope.

Lee McKinney

turbine powered connies

November 3 2002, 3:17 AM 

Thank you David for the information you supplied. I really enjoy reading that stuff. The idea of marrying a constellation to turbines appeals to the hot rodder in me. I also was grately inspired by the Guppy projects a few years back. They proved to be useful. I dont know what catagory they flew under but a way was found to certify them. I think the guy behind them was named Jack Conroy. I wish he would weigh in on this. I'll bet his experiences with the CAA would make interesting reading.

David Wood

Guppy's, Turbine Powered KC97's and the "Elation"

November 4 2002, 4:50 AM 

Hi Lee,
Glad you weren't bored to tears by my "epistles."

I agree with you that the Guppy program is certainly an interesting one to study.

Yes, Jack Conroy was the brains behind the Guppy's.

It's doubtful whether the authorities of today would let this type of private conversion proceed to flying status. Corporate Lawyers would probably make it just to unworkable.

More can be found in the Airliner Tech series book on the Boeing Stratocruiser. (Nicholas Veronico) An interesting "read" in its own right, plus some good pics.

The Guppy concept lives on today, through Airbus Industries "Beluga" program (Based on an Airbus, I think an A310, but don't quote me on this.)

Airbus were big users of the Turbine powered Super Guppy's (now retired) and owned one. Or was it two?

Also, the USAF did a T34 conversion on 2 KC97's at about the same time as they were using the 2 YC121F's.

Unfortunately I do not have much info on either of those 2 Boeings.

Does anyone out there know anything more about the Turbine KC97 project?

Lockheed also took one of the Navy R7V2's (BuAer 131631) and re-engined it with Allison 501-D Turbo Props for the L188 Electra test program.

The airplane was known by Lockheed as the "Elation."

Following the end of the program, the airplane was broken up at Burbank.

Michael Blank

Airbus's Guppies

November 4 2002, 11:38 AM 

They actually, eventually had four: two were acquired from Aero Spacelines in the early 1970s I think, then, Airbus were so pleased with the aircraft/their sales were rising, that they bought two ex-USAF C97s, in the late 1970s I think, then converted these themselves to Guppies (all their Guppies had turboprop power).

I think all of these survive, one preserved at Bruntingthorpe here in the UK, one in France-at Toulouse?-and one at Hamburg-Finkenwerder in Germany. The fourth continues in service in the USA, with NASA?

All of these details from "Airlines and airliners, the Boeing Stratocruiser"- a great book.

I used to see the Airbus Guppies flying in and out of Manchester for years (picking up wings made by British Aerospace at Chester), but foolishly never managed to photograph one, so I suppose I'll have to go to Bruntingthorpe for that now.

Strangely though, I've never seen a Beluga coming into Manchester or anywhere for that matter-from where are BAe shipping the wings nowadays?


Super Guppy

November 4 2002, 11:54 AM 

Occasionally the NASA SUPER GUPPY flies into Moffett Field on the San Francisco Peninsula. NASA has polished this aircraft to a mirror finish and it looks ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. I think they bought it from the Airbus consortium. It used to wear AEROMARITIME titles. It flies low and unpressurized which makes weather avoidance an important issue.

David Wood


November 5 2002, 4:39 AM 

Keep a camera handy for all of us, in case a chance ever comes your way to get a pic of this bird.

Michael Blank

NASA Guppy

November 5 2002, 11:34 AM 


A photo of it has recently gone onto airliners.net

Cal tTylor

Turbo Transports

April 23 2003, 2:57 PM 

Thanks to David Woods for the data about the turbo Connies after USAF and USN service. I rode in one of the YC-121Fs in 1958, from Andrews AFB to McClellan AFB. Smooth trip and I was very impressed.

The data is useful to me, as part of my chapter on the 1700th Test Sq. That unit was set up by MATS from 1954-56 to evaluate turboprop-powered transports. They started with YC-131Cs (37886 and 37887), moved on to YC-97Js (22762 and 22693), then completed the program with the YC-121Fs.

The YC-97Js were modified at Boeing/Renton in summer 1955, then flown first to Edwards AFB. The first one arrived in Aug 55 and moved on to Kelly AFB on 14 Sep. The second airplane flew to Kelly on 29 Sep 55.

The engines were P&W T34-P-5 with Curtiss CT735S-B104 propellers. Both engines and props were earlier versions of the package that powered the C-133.

Turboprop ops required some mods. Higher airspeeds and airloads called for reinforced aileron ribs and heavier skins. Engine tailpipes had cracking problems that were never fully resolved in the 17ooth Test program.

The test program concluded with 3,240 hours on the two airplanes.

YC-97J 22693 became the first Super Guppy, after it and its sister ship spent some years as general officer transports.

Cal Taylor
The C-133 Project

Rick Atkins


December 23 2011, 10:52 AM 

as a military Kid, i rode one of the turbine connies, those Intermittant lil bitty round windows caused no end of consternation between the officers wives , and the kids of all rank wanting to see, i cant find much except the a/c may have been 631 the second navy bird, then as an adult i was co-owner of n515ac the last commercial connie freighter c-121f operated as 1049f, we stirred up a bunch of shutterbugs wherever she went.

Willy Henderickx

French built Guppies

December 22 2017, 2:32 PM 


The French built were not manufactured by Airbus but by Aéromaritime at Le Bourget using parts from KC-97 and Stratocruiser shipped from the US.


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