The airline business is a hundred years old. In that time uncountable airliners have been conceived, designed and built but, for all their diversity, less than a hundred types have ever sold in large numbers and, unlike military aircraft, only a handful are truly iconic. The shortlist, in fact, is so brief (rarely more than six) they can be named in a sentence. Because such rankings can spark passionate debates among the cognoscenti, I shall leave you to write your own. All I will say is that you will be hard-pressed to leave out one of the few commercial aircraft that still stirs hearts across the world: Lockheed’s graceful masterpiece — the Constellation. Her elliptical wings, triple tail, insect legs and dolphin-shaped fuselage still make her instantly recognisable to almost everyone, even those who could identify few other aeroplanes. For post-war travellers she came to symbolise panache and elegance in what is sometimes known as flying’s ‘Golden Age’. Today, eighty years after her birth, she is loved by another generation for her retro-style and 1940s glamour.
eBook - The Constellation by Alexander Clifton