Apr 9 2021 - Apr 9 2021

Lockheed L-10 Electra & L-18 Lodestar


Development of the Lockheed Twins

Almost simultaneously with the development of the Douglas DC-1/DC-2 twin-engined airliners, destined to launch a new era of commercial aircraft, the Lockheed company of Burbank, California (just up the road from Santa Monica, home of Douglas) introduced its own Twin. The Model L-10 Electra was comparable with the Boeing 247 but was substantially smaller than the DC-2, carrying 10 passengers against the DC-2's 14; but it was faster, and this was an important marketing feature for the airlines which were beginning to flex their competitive muscles.

Lockheed Model 10 Electra

The L-10 made its first flight on 23 February 1934, went into service with Northwest Airlines on 11 August 1934, and by the end of the year was to be seen around the United States in areas of sparser traffic potential than would support the Douglases. Indeed, such was the caution and the economic restrictions on commercial aircraft were still expensive per seat, some airlines elected to buy the "Baby Electra" the Model L-12, with fewer seats but, in compensation, more speed. Lockheed Twin operators could justly claim to be the fastest.

In September, the same launching customer, Northwest, introduced a larger and more powerful Lockheed, the Model L-14, which it called the Sky Zephyr. The military version, the Hudson light bomber, was sold in large numbers. The final development of the line was the Model L-18 Lodestar, larger still, and it too sold well to the military.

Pan American ordered a dozen Electras on 13 December 1933, and deployed them on the routes of its subsidiaries where the size matched the demandósee the table on the next page. They cost $35,000 each and additional aircraft seem to have been added to the first order. The Lodestars came later, in 1941. Following what appears to have been a custom, Pan Am had a dozen, at $85,000 each. Two were allocated to Alaska and all the rest went into service with Panair do Brasil.

Lockheed L-18 Lodestar
  • Apr 9 2021 - Apr 9 2021

  • Land Planes

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