The choice of the charitable foundation Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung for a flying “Super Star” fell on a L-1649A originally delivered to Trans World Airlines (TWA) in June 1957. This plane was in the best technical condition compared to the other two acquired Lockheed L-1649A’s in 2007. Consequently there was no doubt that this was the aircraft they would use for the demanding restoration task.
When the Lockheed “Super Star” entered commercial service with Lufthansa in 1957 it was the epitome of the legendary piston propeller era between Europe and North America. Furthermore the “Super Star” was the most elegant and technically advanced flying symbol for the emerging West German – U.S. Trans-Atlantic cooperation in post-war times. In an age of beginning international trade relations between West Germany and partnering countries it served as the flying ambassador for the West German post-war economic miracle which was called “Wirtschaftswunder”.
On November 20, 2008, dignitaries of the State of Maine, local political representatives, team members from Germany and the USA as well as the local media attended the festive official inauguration ceremony for the restoration hangar, which has housed the “Super Star” until now.
Recently the Lufthansa board of directors decided to halt the restoration work in Auburn and to transfer the aircraft in a professional manner to Germany. As a prerequisite for the subsequent transport the aircraft will be professionally dismantled, wrapped up and shipped overseas.
This will be followed by a decision about the future progress of the project, based on the excellent structural repair work accomplished in Auburn – and a ruling on the future use of the “Super Star”.