Aeroplane Monthly 1978-06
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B.Gunston - Lockheed's Leviathan
Both Constitutions served as transports with VR-44 until 1955.
The Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution Naval Transport (four 3,500 h.p. Pratt & Whitney R-4-360 engines).
In spite of its bulk, the Constitution presented quite an elegant outline when flying “clean”.
The two port Pratt & Whitney Wasp Majors seen from a forward window in the Constitution’s top deck.
On February 2, 1949, following its formal introduction into the US Navy by Rear Admiral Lynde McCormick, one of the XR6Os made a jet-assisted take off from Alameda, California, and buzzed the airfield.
After commissioning, a Constitution made an inaugural non-stop flight across the USA. One of the pair survives, languishing near Opa-Locka airport, Florida, as N7673C.
The first XR6O-1, 85163, lifts off from Burbank for its flight on November 9, 1946, after a take off run of only 1,820ft. Note the extended tail-bumper and the tandem pairs of main wheel units with twin legs.
A chief petty officer in the entrance of the wing tunnel which made the engines accessible during flight. Mechanics only had to stoop to walk out as far as the outer engines.
The flight deck, with a parachute-equipped crew in situ. The flight engineer, on the right, usually handled the engine controls.