Astral Plane, Philadelphia

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  • Jim Flannery's restaurant
    Jim Flannery's restaurant
    by pieter_jan_v
  • Astral Plane
    Astral Plane
    by GUYON
  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Jim Flannery's restaurant: A lost landmark

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Jul 16, 2008

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A long story. If you are out here for a dinner tip, skip this tip. This is all about airplane history.
    We encounterd this restaurant on our way to a wedding party and going over the old route 1 North East of Philly.

    At one moment in time in my ignorance I put this restaurant to the Astral Plane restaurant (the only plane restaurant in the Philly list). Boy, was I wrong! The VT-staff even got a serious complaint from one of the Astral Plane restaurant regular customers.

    That sparked my second search for the restaurant location. It was not until I examined the picture better, I realised I should look for a Super Constellation airplane. The search thereafter was brief and with good result.

    I found this at http://www.agilitynut.com/eateries/15b.html:

    Jim Flannery's restaurant opened in 1928. He added the 1954 Lockheed Super G Constellation airliner to the roof in 1967. Its interior was left intact and used as a 72-seat cocktail lounge known as the Constellation Lounge. The Lounge closed in 1979 because of leaks but the diner below remained open. It operated as "Amelia's" from 1981-1991, then as the "Airplane Diner" until 1995. "Connie" (the plane's nickname) fell into further disrepair and was trucked away in 1997 to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. They plan to restore it someday. The restaurant was razed in 1997 and replaced with an Amoco gas station. There were plans to put a 6' replica of the plane on top of the station's roof but a smaller model plane was mounted on the station's sign instead. Although it is now a BP station, the memorial plane is still there atop the sign.

    Favorite Dish: That's not the full story. On http://www.conniesurvivors.com/1-amc_connie_dec_02.htm I found this:

    After being withdrawn from service by Capitol in mid-1967, it was sold to Jim Flannery on August 20, 1967 for use as a cocktail lounge above his restaurant on Route 1 in Pendell, Pennsylvania. The restaurant went through a number of owners until 1996 when the Amoco Oil Company bought the site for a gas station. Amoco solicited over thirty organizations and finally donated the airplane to the AMC Museum. It was removed from the roof of the restaurant on July 9, 1997, disassembled and stored on an adjacent property for a few months until final arrangements were made for transporting it to the museum at Dover AFB.

    So, that's the end of a long story.

    I guess I owe somebody a dinner and I have to visit the Museum at Dover.

    2008 Update: I got this comment from member pigdogusn: There was a tragedy associated with the opening of the restaurant in 1967 - a hot air balloon was launched at the grand opening and two passengers died when the gondola struck nearby powerlines on the ascent - both fell to the street and died

    Jim Flannery's restaurant

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Comments (1)

  • May 11, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    I was a student at the Our Lady of Grace School in Penndel, Pennsylvania on the day when this tragedy occurred. We lined the windows, noses to the glass, to see the hot air balloon drift silently past at an altitude of 300 feet or so. None of us were aware of the fatal mishap which had prefaced the balloon's appearance.

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