Hello dear readers. Aviation enthusiasts – like me – often wonder what flying was back in time, like in the fifties. Back in the days when flying was not a daily routine as it is today. When flying beared a scent of adventure. When pilots were true pioneers. When flying an aircraft was hard work. When jet engines were hardly around and not even close to being suitable for civil aircraft. No ILS and Fly by Wire systems at all.
Today we make a little step back in that time. I travelled to Munich last week and – of course – I do not travel a single city without getting to see the local airport. The visitor’s area in MUC is really a great one. There’s an artificial hill providing an excellent view on one of the two runways and the apron in front of terminal one. Being the second biggest airport in Germany after Frankfurt, Munich has some great big birds to offer. But more to that later in this article.
On of the coolest things about MUCs visitors area is that there are three historical aircraft standing right in front of the hill – almost fully refurbished! An old Swissair McDonnel Douglas DC3, an old military used Junkers 52 (which is now painted in the old Lufthansa scheme) and a Lockheed Super Constellation!
The Super Connie
The Super Constellation (Often called Super Connie) made its first flight in 1951 and was a very successful long haul aircraft. It had four turbo compound propeller engines and could transport up to 95 passengers up to 6.400 kilometers with a speed of roundabout 500 km/h. Lufthansa acquired its first Connie in 1955. After the advent of the first Jetliners like the Boeing 707 or the DC8, the star of the Super Constellation sunk rapidly, most passenger airliners retired her then since Jet Engines were just far more reliable (the Connie was often called the best 3 engine plane in the world jokingly due to the fact that according to a Lufthansa statistic it lost an engine at one third of all flights) and of course faster.
Enjoy this beauty from the golden fifties!
Those engines provided 3250 horse powers but were kind of unreliable and built pretty complex and thus time-consuming in maintenance.
The weather did not show its best side on that day – but it helped to imagine a flight through a rough storm over the Atlantic on the passenger seat. 🙂
Todays airliners can be flown by a to man cockpit crew, the captain (the guy with the four stripes) and the first officer (obviously the man with three stripes on the sleeves).
The Constellation though needed a five man cockpit crew! This crew consisted of the two pilots – of course -, the navigator (going overseas required very complex navigation procedures back then), and a flight engineer, whose responsibility were the supervision of all the different aircraft system, including the setting and fuel supply of the engines, the air pressurization in the cabin, the air condition, the hydraulics, and so on. Due to the technical progress, a FE is no longer needed in modern aeroplanes. Lastly, there was the radioman who held contact with the ATC on the ground during the whole flight.
Below you can see the working place of the FE – a lotta instruments, right? 🙂
That doll looks kinda sad though 😀
So let’s move on. The next a/c on the list is an even older Junkers 52. It made its first flight back in 1932. This particular one has been abused for military purpose and for Paratroopers in World War II, that is why the seat rows are on the sidewalls of this “Tante Ju”.
Some of these beauties are still flown today as special event flights for tourists (I always see one of them flying in Düsseldorf 🙂 )
Guess what? The day even became better for me. After visiting the old ladies, I went up the visitor’s hill to catch some big birds of our time: and I was totally not disappointed. An Emirates Airbus 380, currently the biggest passenger aircraft in service, and a Qatar Airways Boeing 787-800, one of the most modern planes around the planet, touched down simultaneously in MUC.
Here’s a little A320 from Aeroflot, the biggest Russian Airline.
If you ever happen to see the airport in Munich, make also sure to see the visitor’s terrace in Terminal 2: here’s where all the Star Alliance birds arrive! Look at that beast from Singapore Airlines. By the way: the Boeing 777 has the most powerful jet engines that exist, with a diameter of over three meters!
It has been a lucky day for a plane lover and to conclude my little report I must say, the Munich Airport is a great one. One can access every terminal and gate very fast and without too much stress and the architecture is pretty awesome. If you ever have to decide whether to fly from Frankfurt or Munich: pick Munich 🙂
Stay tuned for some Aerials of Munich and other pictures of this beautiful city in my next article.
Have you ever been to Munich? What did you like most? Hit the comments below!