N7777G Chronology

 

 

LOCKHEED CONSTELLATION C/N 2553

 

Construction began as type 649-84-12 for Eastern Airlines.
Allocated to KNILM as type 649-79-22 later updated to 749-79-22.
25SEP47
Delivered ex Lockheed to KLM as type 749-79-33.
01OCT47
Registered PH-TET to KLM and named "Tilborg".
07APR54
Re-registered to KLM as PH-LDT by which time it had been converted to type 749A.
11JUN57
Noted at London Heathrow operating an Air Ceylon flight.
09MAR58
Noted at London Heathrow operating an Air Ceylon flight.
SEP60
Withdrawn from service by KLM having accumulated just over 30,000 hours in KLM service. Later cocooned at Schiphol awaiting sale.
62
Flown to San Jose, Costa Rica for the fitment of a large forward cargo door by Servicio Aeromantenimiento de Latina America (SALA)
16MAR64
Registration PH-LDT was cancelled.
01APR64
Sold to Donald G. Gilbertson.
15APR64
Re-registered as TI-1045P. The Costa Rican registration was to facilitate a ferry flight to the US as the Dutch Certificate of Airworthiness had lapsed.
Ferried from San Jose to Burbank, California by Donald G. Gilbertson for modifications including the fitment of weather radar.
06MAY64
Arrived at Fairbanks from Burbank via Seattle.
06MAY64
CAB files state that Wien Alaska acquired the aircraft from Minor Spelhaug (Donald Gilbertson's father-in-law) on this date.
27JUL64
Registered N7777G to Donald G. Gilbertson and leased to Wien Alaska Airlines and named "Arctic Liner Arlis". The aircraft had been acquired because it had the necessary range to service a U.S. Navy contract to re-supply a floating ice station "Arlis II" which was drifting in the Arctic Ocean. Having determined that it would be unwise to land the aircraft on the ice, it was fitted with a roller bed air delivery system but only one flight was made before the U.S. Navy took over the operation. This limited the usefulness of the Connie but it continued to be operated on Wien routes, often fitted with a ventral Speedpak.
30SEP64
Wien Alaska Airlines purchased the aircraft.
JAN66
The airline traded as Wien Air Alaska from this date.
66
Believed withdrawn from service at the end of summer 1966 and stored at Fairbanks.
01APR68
Ownership transferred to Wien Consolidated Airlines on the merger of Wien and Northern Consolidated Airlines but the aircraft remained in storage until sold.
24SEP68
Sold to Tex-Hou Inc. of Houston.
27SEP68
Sold to Sky Leasing Inc.of New Orleans.
06OCT68
Ferried Fairbanks-Seattle-Houston.
69
During March to May 1969 leased to lingerie firm Pennyrich.
23JUN69
Sold back to Tex-Hou Inc. of Houston.
05DEC69
Sold to CHS Leasing Inc.of Houston.
29DEC70
Sold to CJS Air Cargo Inc of Houston.
07MAR72
Sold to Unum Inc. (a Lance Dreyer company)
MAY72
Noted at Miami having been repainted in the familiar red and yellow colour scheme but devoid of registration or other markings.
13AUG72
Leased to Fun Leasing Inc. for a flight from Miami to Kenai, Alaska via New Orleans and Seattle.
SEP72
By this time the aircraft had returned to Miami from where it operated to various destinations regularly crewed by Captain Jim Carlin, First Officer Brooks Moore and Flight Engineer Leroy Stewart.
NOV72
From November to December 1972 several long distance flights were made to destinations including Lima, La Paz, Managua and Guatemala City. The aircraft continued to carry multiple unserviceabilities while also attracting the attention of the FAA.
12DEC72
Registration N173X applied for but not taken up.
02JAN73
Sold to Air Cargo International Inc. (a Lance Dreyer company)
02FEB73
Operated a flight from Houston to Miami. Owner shown as Transnational Cargo Inc. (a Lance Dreyer company)
FEB73
Leased to Sunday Promotions of Houston to carry lighting and sound gear for the Rolling Stones rock group's Far East Tour.
06FEB73
Departed Long Beach for Honolulu with Rolling Stones stage gear. Complete itinerary.
24MAR73
Returned to Los Angeles on completion of the Rolling Stones tour.
06NOV73
A lease/purchase agreement was signed between Air Cargo International and Lanzair (Channel Islands) Ltd.
05DEC73
Departed Miami for Amsterdam with a load of produce. The aircraft was subsequently grounded at Amsterdam with engine problems.
18FEB74
Departed Amsterdam for Coventry, UK where further repairs were carried out.
07MAR74
Positioned to Dublin to operate a livestock charter to Tripoli for Livestock International.
08MAR74
Departed Dublin for Tripoli.
10MAR74
Returned to Dublin empty. The aircraft was grounded at Dublin pending inspection by the FAA.
MAY74
The aircraft was to be used on oil-related charters from Southend but this never eventuated because of a legal dispute over the ownership of the aircraft.
06MAY74
Ownership transferred to Unum Inc.
26JUL74
Lanzair began High Court proceedings in Dublin seeking a lien on the aircraft to protect Lanzair's investment in repairs.
22SEP75
The FAA placed a lien on the aircraft for multiple violations on 19SEP72, 21NOV72 and 05FEB73 to 04APR73. The latter period includes the Rolling Stones tour and, it is believed, subsequent drug flights.
77
In late 1977 ownership was transferred to Air Cargo International Inc.
DEC77
As Lanzair had lost all interest in the aircraft, the High Court in Dublin lifted the injunction on N7777G. This enabled the aircraft to leave Dublin but it was still subject to the FAA lien.
MAY80
The aircraft was inspected by Clyden Airways who found three engines to be unserviceable.
MAR82
Sold to Aces High Limited who intended to use the aircraft for film work.
12MAY82
Re-registered G-CONI. The registration was never painted on the aircraft and restoration was abandoned when film work did not eventuate.
JUN83
Sold to the London Science Museum for 45,000.
22AUG83
The dismantled aircraft arrived at the Science Museum facility at Wroughton having been transported from Dublin by road and sea.
09SEP84
The restored aircraft was made available for viewing at Wroughton. The aeroplane carries sixties period Trans World Airlines livery but retains the registration N7777G.

 

 

The Stones' Connie

Log of the Rolling Stones Far East Tour 1973

 

 

 

SOURCE


Special thanks to Peter Marson, a world authority on Constellation and Super Constellation histories. The chronology on this page was extracted from "The Lockheed Constellation Series" written by Peter J. Marson and published by Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd. in 1982 and from Peter's article "Portrait of a Connie" published in "Propliner" Magazine.

 

 

 

Issue
Date
Remarks
1
27FEB11
Original issue

 

Return to the Constellation Menu

Return to the Lockheed File