Lockheed L1049G Super Constellation

The aircraft that takes the distinction of being one of the largest 'Giants' to be preserved is the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation [IN-315] on display at the Naval Aviation Museum. An ex-INAS-312 aircraft, it has survived a decade and a half of being grounded and lying unused at Dabolim before it was resurrected for its new life with the NAM.

The Navy's flirtation with large aircraft started with the induction of the Illyushin Il-38 MR aircraft on the aftermath of the 1971 War. Maritime Recce, till that point of time was the prerogative of the IAF, which used to operate the Super Connies in the MR role with its No.6 Squadron. Prior to thier military career, the Super Connies were with Air India flying the Trans atlantic routes.

The IAF handed over the Super Connies to the Navy in 1976 and on 18 November 1976, INAS 312 ("Alba tross") was commissioned at INS Hansa, Dabolim, with five Super Constellations, these being reserialled IN-315 to IN-319 as their third identity. The aircraft were already quite old and were on their last legs. The maintenance support was provided by Air India technicians.

Inevitably, albeit slowly, the converted airliners had to be withdrawn from active service, starting with IN tourist visitors to Goa have regularly witnessed on arrival at 318 in November 1981, and ending with IN-317 on 20 December 1983. INAS 312, was put on a number-plate basis on 8 June 1984, to await new aircraft so that the "Albatrosses" could fly again.