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Sample text

On February 2, 1949, the first XR6O-1, as the type officially was designated by the Navy, was delivered to Transport Squadron VR-44 at MAS Alameda, California. though after it initially had been flown at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland to satisfy Navy flight test requirements. This second Constitution, unlike the first— which was outfitted for test work and cargo transport—was given an upper-deck VIP interior capable of seating up to 92 passengers. It had a crew of 12 including a captain, a pilot, a copilot, a flight engineer, an assistant flight engineer, a radio operator, a navigator, two flight orderlies, and three relief crewmen.

Readily visible and painted in huge letters on the aircraft's side were the words, "Your Navy, Land and Sea". During 1950, the aircraft had the honor of being the first to present full-length inflight motion pictures when the world premier of the movie "Slattery's Hurricane" was reviewed over New York City at an altitude of 10,000 feet. During another flight from the east to west coast, the Navy football team reviewed inflight Mounting tubes were placed in the upper surface of each wing root section to accommodate a total of six RATO units for improved takeoff performance.

Public concern over the "eyesore" the Opa-Locka aircraft supposedly represented led to its scrapping just over a decade later. Though to have been convertible to commercial air transport use, the two Constitutions, by the advent of their respective first flights, were hopelessly out of date and decidedly underpowered. Pan American, after the war, had only half-seriously reviewed Lockheed's proposed Model 189, which was the projected commercial Constitution. To have been powered by four 3,500 hp Pratt & Whitney TSB3-G versions of the original R4360, it would have been capable of accommodating 129 day pas- Insufficient power proved the Constitutions' Achilles Heel.

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