Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Qantas Founders Museum Officially Launch Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation VH-EAM 'Southern Spray' at Longreach Airport

Over the weekend, The Qantas Founders Museum officially launched their partially-restored Lockheed C-121J Super Constellation displayed as VH-EAM 'Southern Spray' at Longreach Airport.

The official launch evening comes a fortnight after a free 'public preview' of the Super Constellation at the Museum at Longreach Airport and started with drinks and canapes by the aircraft as well as a performance by the Longreach State Primary School Choir.  The aircraft was then 'christened' by local Government representatives.

Nearly four years after The Qantas Founders Museum acquired their Lockheed Super Constellation in Manila in The Philippines, the external restoration of the aircraft to the original Qantas Airways livery is now complete.

The Qantas Founders Museum purchased the Super Constellation aircraft from the Manila International Airport Authority in September 2014.  Over two and a half years, with the support of Qantas Engineering and a devoted team of volunteer engineers, the aircraft was extracted from it's mud encrusted position, disassembled and the components transported by ship from Manila to Townsville, then by truck from Townsville to Longreach, arriving in late May 2017.

Over the last 13 months, Qantas specialist engineers, volunteers and contractors have been working in sometimes trying conditions to prepare and restore the exterior of the aircraft. This has included replacing corroded and missing areas, reassembling the aircraft and repainting it in the Qantas Super Constellation livery. The livery details were provided from original Qantas 1950’s drawings, sourced and reproduced by Qantas’ Curator and Engineering technical staff.

Qantas Founders Museum CEO Tony Martin said it was great achievement by all involved in the Super Constellation Project to see restoration to a pristine condition completed.

"The Super Constellation Project has been a long and at times trying project but the end result with a beautiful aircraft externally restored, is well worth it."

"This project would not have been completed without the hard work and dedication of our Project Manager Rodney Seccombe, Qantas Engineering, our contractors and volunteers and the support of our sponsors and community, thank you to everyone who assisted us."

"The new aircraft is an important addition to our aircraft collection and enables us to tell a significant part in the history of Qantas while featuring one of the most iconic aircraft in commercial aviation history," Mr Martin said.

The Lockheed Constellation is an iconic aircraft in the history of Qantas and Australian aviation for the following reasons:

-  The Constellation operated the Qantas Kangaroo Route air services between Sydney and London from 1947.
-  The Constellation was the first aircraft that enabled Qantas to establish and sustain long-range overseas air service in its own right.
-  This was the longest air service in the world using the same aircraft all the way.
-  A Super Constellation operated the first Qantas trans-Pacific air service in 1954.
-  The Constellation was the first Qantas aircraft to feature flight hostesses.
-  The Constellation was the first pressurised aircraft operated by Qantas, bringing significantly increased comfort and operational reliability to long distance routes.
-  Qantas Super Constellations operated the first ever regular round-the-world air service via both hemispheres in 1958.

The Museum's Super Constellation project was substantially funded jointly by the Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd (the parent company to Qantas Founders Museum), Qantas Airways and the Australian Government with funds administered by the Queensland Government through the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure Fund.

Qantas Foundation Memorial Ltd (QFM) would like acknowledge the support of the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, Qantas Airways, Lufthansa Technik, Cebu Pacific Airlines, International Container Terminal Services Ltd (Manila), Powerhouse International, Dick Smith, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls Royce, Lockheed Australia, Teledyne and Qudos Bank for their generous financial and in-kind support. QFM would also like to thank the many people who assisted or donated to this project, to the QFM Members and to our Longreach Community for your ongoing support of Qantas Founders Museum.

The next stage of the project will be the internal restoration and display creation which the Qantas Founders Museum hopes to be completed by the Qantas Centenary year of 2020.

The Super Constellation will be available for display to museum visitors later in 2018 once final preparations have been made for the planned Airpark Roof Project.

For more information about the Roof Project, please follow the link:

For more photos from the Super Constellation Project, please check out the Qantas Founders Museum’s Facebook Page:

You can also see some time lapse videos at the Qantas Founders Museum’s You Tube Channel:

To donate to the museum and its projects, go to the Qantas Founders Museum website donation page at:  and follow the links or contact the museum by phone on:  07 4658 3737  or email:

Photos taken by Greg Weir and Calen Harvey  ©

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