AUBURN-LEWISTON, ME: The DHL/Lufthansa joint venture AeroLogic is supporting the restoration to commercial flight certification of a Lockheed L1649A 'Super Star' Constellation – four of which were operated by Lufthansa between 1958 and 1966.
The seven-year reconstruction project based at Auburn-Lewiston airport in Maine is expected to be complete when the 55 year-old aircraft takes to the skies again later this year. Recently Lufthansa Technik used DHL to ship the Constellation's restored nose and main landing gear from Hamburg to Auburn.
Lufthansa began operating the 'Super Star' in 1958 between Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and then non-stop to New York carrying 32 'Senator' class passengers. But despite a range of 6,100 miles and a 34-tonne payload, by the 1960s the aircraft was too slow for the jet age and couldn't compete with the introduction of Boeing 707s between Germany and the U.S.
Seeking a new role for its Constellation fleet, Lufthansa asked Lockheed to convert two of them to become the airline's first long-range cargo aircraft that helped lay the foundation for Lufthansa Cargo AG and Germany's present-day role as a leading export nation.
In 2007 one of the two cargo aircraft, 'D-ALAN', together with two ex-TWA Constellations, were acquired by the preservation foundation Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung to enable one of only 44 L1649A 'Super Star' ever built to carry passengers again.