Designation: VC-121A

Lockheed VC-121A

Lockheed VC-121A Constellation

A picture of the Lockheed VC-121A Constellation

After the commercial success of the L-049 Constellation, Lockheed produced a slightly improved version designated L-749.  This aircraft attracted the attention of the U.S. Air Force which bought ten of them for long-range VIP transports and designated them VC-121A.  The new transports proved to be very popular and regularly carried high-ranking Generals and Presidents.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had two different VC-121As assigned as his personal transports at different times.  This aircraft was the first.  It served him during his time as the SHAPE commander in the early 1950s.  All of Eisenhower’s Connies were called “Columbine” after the state flower of Colorado.  The second VC-121A served “Ike” when he was President of the United States.    Eisenhower also used one of the larger L-1079 (VC-121E) Connies as his third “Columbine” during his second term as President.

Wingspan 123 ft


Length 97 ft 4 in.


Height 22 ft 5 in.


Weight 107,000 lbs (loaded)


Max. Speed 345 MPH

Maximum Speed

Service Ceiling 24,100 ft

Service Ceiling

Range 2,600 miles


Engines Four Wright R-3350-75 radials with 2,500 horsepower each


Crew 8 with up to 60 passengers



7167th Special Air Missions Squadron, Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, 1951

Serial Number

VC-121A “Columbine”

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