Lockheed C-121A Constellation

Pima Air and Space Museum Aircraft

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

Lockheed C-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 95 ft 2 in
Height 23 ft 8 in
Weight 72,000 lbs (loaded)
Max. Speed 330 mph
Service Ceiling 25,000
Range 2,400 miles
Engines 4 Wright R-3350 radials, 2,200 hp each
Crew 4, 60 passengers