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Lockheed R6O-1 Constitution — double deck double bubble

2 October 2013

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — double deck double bubble

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

The only two Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitutions built, together on the apron (note the pair of waving sailors beneath the engines in the foreground) — U.S. Navy photo

Pan American Airways (i.e., Juan Trippe who inspired so many large transport designs through the Boeing B-747) and Lockheed designed this large double decked double bubble transport for the U.S. Navy after a study done in 1940.  Two prototypes were completed in 1946 and became the largest aircraft to serve in the U.S. Navy when they were accepted for service flying routes which connected California to Washington, D.C. and Hawaii. The cross-section of the fuselage was a figure-eight, essentially a pair of circular section fuselages mated together so that the combined fuselage could be pressurized — this construction was more feasible than building a larger circular section fuselage. Lighter cargo and passengers were place on the upper deck with the heavier cargo on the deck below. The R6O’s 5000 mile (8000km) range was welcome but the design was underpowered, foreshadowing an early retirement as speed and lift capacity suffered unacceptably. Sadly, we now only see these aircraft in historic photos as both were ultimately scrapped.

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution, loading was accomplished through the cargo doors to an internal electric hoist — U.S. Navy photo

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution with all four propellers turning — U.S. Navy photo

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution under taxi — U.S. Navy photo

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution — San Diego Air & Space Museum archive

Lockheed XR6O-1 Constitution, note each the four-wheeled main gear and the 50 foot (15.2m) tail — U.S. Navy photo

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. JIM PRESTON permalink
    2 October 2013 16:19

    Used to see one at the FBO at McCarren in Vegas. I was told it was owned by Howard Hughes n was guarded 24/7. It was also kept in flying condition for him.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      8 October 2013 23:19

      You are a lucky man. Such an unusual aircraft that was overtaken by events.

      • JIM PRESTON permalink
        11 October 2013 02:35

        We used to park our C-97 in front of it n tried to get on board but were always denied.

  2. 8 October 2013 18:09

    Thank you for aviation images I weekly receive from Joseph May.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      8 October 2013 23:21

      You are more than welcome — grazie mille 🙂

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