Chicago & Southern Air Lines  Lockheed L-649A Constellation  NC86521  (c/n 2642)


                                           By 1950 the DC-4s were showing signs of wear and C & S went ahead and ordered six new
                                           Constellations of the 649A variety directly from Lockheed.  As was the style in those days,
                                           the registration was painted in 3 inch letters high on the fin.  On the original print, by enlarging
                                           it greatly, the identity of this aircraft can be faintly discerned!  This practice was common.  I
                                           remember standing directly under the tail of a TWA Constellation and could scarcely make
                                           out the N number from the ground at a distance of some 10 meters!   By the mid 1950s, this
                                           practice was not only discouraged by the FAA but, in fact, outlawed.  It became a requirement
                                           to paint the registration on the fuselage sides of all aircraft in numbers large enough to read from
                                           50 yards.  I see nowadays, however, especially with the airlines, owners seem to have slipped
                                           back to the point that some of them are scarcely readable again.
                                           In May 1953, Chicago & Southern Air Lines merged with Delta Air Lines (to become Delta-C&S
                                           briefly), and another pioneer on the U.S. airline scene vanished into obscurity.

                                           The shot below taken at New Orleans in 1952 is certainly nostalgic.  Considering that C & S only
                                           had six Connies, that three of them are at gates in this shot indicates some careful scheduling. The
                                           registration on the nearest one can be seen as a slight smear ahead of the rudder hinge on the top
                                           of the fin!