I Remember Connie

A tribute to the National Air and Space Museum’s Super Constellation, by those who flew it.

“After every 100 hours of flight time we’d have a post-flight inspection that would take five days to complete,” says former crew chief Bob DeVore. (Courtesy 167th Retiree Association)

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We had three flights to Vietnam a month out of Martinsburg, and I went on one a quarter. I would pick up a load at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas—maybe Christmas trees, or a whole load of soap; anything but perishable stuff. We'd fly to Travis AFB, to Hawaii, to Kwajalein Island. They'd park us on a ramp in Kwajalein, and our wingtip would swing out over the lagoon and we'd go out on the wingtip and jump off and swim awhile. That was nice after nine hours of flying.

Once I was coming from Panama back to the U.S. coastline. It's called the defense line. When you approach the defense line, the pilot transmits an air report over the airways to the FA Control Station. We were a little late getting the report out, probably 15 minutes late, and four jets intercepted us. And we're sitting there, floating along in the Connie at 15,000 to 16,000 feet. A jet came up, right across our nose. And there were three more, just waiting up there. And they came up and pulled around, and they got on the phone and started hollering at us to call the Florida center, get on the phone, and get us the code numbers. Finally they moseyed off.

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