Today’s treat is this amazing Qantas relic, a safety procedures card that I have been told came from a Qantas Lockheed L1049 Super Constellation. Passed on by an elderly friend, it harks back to the fabulous fifties when flying was more than just the cheapest fare, and still that little bit glamorous.
Qantas Empire Airways’ first Super Constellation entered service in 1954 transforming the carrier’s international operations. Operated by a crew of ten to twelve, the L1049′s endurance allowed Qantas to commence previously impossible long over-water sectors. Seating 60 in First and Tourist class, the “Super Connies” delighted passengers with a pressurised cabin and fast flying speeds (539 kph). Flying time between Australia and the UK was slashed from 63 hours to 33, however services were subject to turbulent weather with the piston engines limiting cruising altitude to 20,000 feet (6,096m).
On the January 14, 1958 Qantas became the second airline in the world to launch round the world services. The service operated eight times weekly, beginning and terminating at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport. One aircraft departed west along the “Kangaroo Route” to Perth, Djakarta, Singapore, Bangkok, Calcutta, Karachi, Bahrain, Athens, Rome, London and on, while the other flew east along the “Southern Cross” route to Sydney, Nadi, Honolulu, San Francisco, New York and London and back.
Qantas eventually operated 16 Super Constellations before the aircraft lost out to the jet age, replaced by the revolutionary turbofan Boeing 707 in the 1960s.