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Bringing The Super Constellation Home

November 22, 2018
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Qantas Founders Museum brought home one of Australia’s iconic airplanes after it was left to rot in Manila, Philippines for 25 years. It is a feat that is highly uneasy but became possible with Powerhouse International’s proven prowess in shipping heavy machines and equipment.

The Super Constellation is very significant in Australia’s commercial aviation history and one of the very reasons that Qantas became a known and well-respected airline company not only in Australia but throughout the world. It operated the first Qantas Tran-Pacific air service in 1964 becoming the first pressurized aircraft and was the first aircraft that enabled Qantas to establish long-range overseas air service in its own right. It was the longest air service in the world that uses the same aircraft all the way.

Super Connie Finally Home

Qantas Founders Museum launched the project “Bring Super Connie back” for public viewing on August 3, 2018. Thousands of hours were put into work by volunteers and contractors to bring Super Connie back to its rightful home, cleaning and moving through mud, rust, and 25 years of elemental exposure and some damages.

The work was really painstaking and has taken a couple of years and thousands of dollars in donations. Project Manager Rodney Seccombe kept a close eye into salvaging Connie and bringing it home to Queensland, a task made possible with the support and generosity of many people and companies.

Shipping the Connie to Queensland

Powerhouse International was personally chosen by Seccombe for shipping and importing the Super Constellation to Australia.  A challenge that is so big and was set to measure the capacity of the Australian freight forwarding company to transport heavy machines and equipment. At first look, the feat seems entirely impossible but the brilliance of the Powerhouse team saw through it and devised the best possible way to ship the Connie.

Before shipping began, the Connie had to be dug out of from the mud that covered a big part of its wheels. As well, it required preliminary cleaning of damages, rust, and dirt caused by prolonged exposure to the elements.

It had to be taken to a big, wide location where it could be effectively cleaned and dismantled to fit the shipping capacity of the biggest available ship to Australia. This task took hundreds of hours that became successful with the help of some volunteers who are mostly retired aircraft engineers from Qantas.

Relocating the aircraft from the airport to a new location and on to the port, later on, was pretty complex, especially when transporting through heavy Metropolitan Manila traffic. The process included closing a part of the national highway and the lifting of low electrical lines while on transport.

Powerhouse International became a significant force behind Connie’s homecoming. The first option was taking a free carriage offer on the top deck of an Australian livestock carrier returning empty from Southeast Asia. However, the Connie was too big even for the company’s biggest vessels, particularly its fuselage that stretches 35 meters long, wings that spans 17 meters long, and tri-tail also 17 meters long.

With its expertise in freight forwarding and importing to Australia, Powerhouse International provided all necessary information and initiated the documents processing of the Connie’s entrance to Australian borders. As per quarantine regulations, all parts of the Aircraft were shrunk-wrapped and slowed into a cargo vessel. This also meant extensive work as the hot Philippine climate affects the wrapping process.

By providing necessary information on the complexities of international shipping and giving massive support to the whole process, the Connie was successfully loaded by cranes in the BBC Maine to ship towards Townsville.

Once cleared in the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Services, Powerhouse International successfully transported the Connie from Townsville to its final home in Longreach.

The Prowess of Powerhouse International

Such a big and important project as bringing the Super Constellation home is a big challenge for any freight forwarder. The complexities of the process and the hardships encountered during the transport require great power and capacity from any transport service contractors, Powerhouse International has proven its prowess in shipping heavy machines and equipment effectively and setting an international standard in international freight forwarding.


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