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Lockheed C-111 Super Electra

Lockheed C-111 Super Electra

Lockheed C-111 Super Electra

The Lockheed C-111 Super Electra was the designation given to four Lockheed Model 14-WF62s that were impressed by the USAAF after they reached Australia after escaping from the Dutch East Indies.

The Lockheed Model 14-WF62 Super Electra was an export version of the aircraft, powered by two Wright Cyclone SGR-1820-F62 engines, capable of producing 900hp at take-off and 760hp at 5,800ft. Like all Super Electras, they were an expanded version of the standard Lockheed Electra, with the same basic layout - a low mounted tapered cantilevered wing, high mounted tail with twin vertical control surfaces and a flat sided fuselage. The Model 14

The four aircraft were operated by KNILM (The Royal Dutch Indies Airways) and operated on routes around the Dutch East Indies. When the Japanese invaded in March 1942, they were amongst the 11 KNILM aircraft than managed to reach the relative safety of northern Australia.

Once they had reached Australia the four aircraft were impressed into the USAAF as the C-111, and then allocated to the Allied Directorate of Air Transport. One of the four crashed almost immediately, but the other three survived to see some wartime service.

Engines: Two Wright Cyclone SGR-1820-F62
Power: 900hp at take-off and 760hp at 5,800ft
Crew: 2
Wing span: 65ft 6in
Length: 44ft 4in
Height: 11in 5in
Empty weight: 10,750lb
Loaded weight: 15,650lb
Maximum weight: 17,500lb
Maximum speed: 250mph at 5,800ft
Service ceiling: 24,500ft
Normal range: 850 miles
Maximum range: 2,125 miles


Johnson’s Hunch Becomes a Lockheed Signature

After more than 70 tests, Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson pulled the model airplane with the 55-inch wingspan out of the wind tunnel at the University of Michigan for the final time. It was 1933, and the 23-year-old aviation engineering wunderkind had sensed months earlier that there was a problem with the design of the sleek plane. Now he had proof he could share with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation engineering team in Burbank, Calif.

The stakes couldn’t have been higher. As the first all-metal Lockheed airplane and the first to be outfitted with twin engines, the model represented a dramatic leap forward in aircraft technology. In fact, it represented the future of Lockheed itself. The company had been bought out of receivership the previous year during the depths of the Great Depression by its new owner, Robert Gross, himself just 35 years old. Lockheed was desperately in need of a new aircraft that would once again position it as an innovative industry leader.

Johnson’s insight, confirmed by the wind tunnel tests, was that the model’s single-tail configuration lacked stability. He recommended a twin-tail design, with the rudders placed directly behind each engine as well as related design revisions. Not only did the twin-tail version far outperform the initial design, it became a signature Lockheed design repeated in other Lockheed models.


Le L-14 est entré en service commercial dans la Northwest Airlines en octobre 1937 . Des avions ont été exportées pour une utilisation par Aer Lingus en Irlande, British Airways Ltd (en) qui a ensuite fusionné avec BOAC en Grande-Bretagne et KLM aux Pays-Bas. Il fut la base de développement du Lockheed Hudson, avion de reconnaissance maritime et bombardier léger exploité entre autres par la Royal Air Force, l'USAAF et l'United States Navy au cours de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Records de vols Modifier

En mai 1938 , une équipe d'aviateurs de la compagnie aérienne polonaise LOT composée de Waclaw Makowski, directeur de LOT et premier pilote, Zbigniew Wysiekierski, second pilote, Szymon Piskorz, mécanicien radio-navigateur, Alfons Rzeczewski, radio-navigateur, et Jerzy Krassowski, assistant, a un vol expérimental des États-Unis à la Pologne. Ce vol a été effectué à bord d'un des avions achetés par LOT, fabriqué par Lockheed en Californie, un Lockheed Electra Modèle 14H super (immatriculé SP-LMK en Pologne [ 1 ] ). L'équipage a décollé de Burbank (Los Angeles) où ces appareils étaient fabriqués, et après une tournée en Amérique du Sud, a survolé l'Atlantique du Brésil à l'Afrique de l'Ouest en route pour Varsovie. La distance parcourue était de 24 850 km (13 418milles nautiques). Ils sont passés par les villes d'Amérique centrale de Mazatlan, Mexico City, au Guatemala et au Panama, puis via les villes d'Amérique du Sud de Lima, au Pérou Santiago, Chili Buenos Aires, Argentine et Rio de Janeiro et Natal au Brésil. Ils ont traversé l'Atlantique Sud vers Dakar, au Sénégal, en Afrique, puis Casablanca, Tunis, puis à Rome, Italie. La dernière étape du vol les a amenés à Varsovie, Pologne. La durée du vol fut de 85 heures entre le 13 mai et le 5 juin . Le survol de l'Atlantique - de Natal à Dakar - a duré 11 heures et 10 minutes (3 070 km ). Cet exploit fait par les aviateurs polonais a marqué l'histoire de la communication aérienne au niveau mondial. (Avant ce vol des avions de ligne étaient livrés à travers l'Atlantique comme cargaison de pont sur des navires [ 2 ] ).

Howard Hughes a effectue un vol de circumnavigation mondial sur un Super Electra (NX18973) avec un équipage de quatre (Harry Connor, copilote et navigateur Tom Thurlow, navigateur Richard Stoddart, opérateur radio et Ed Lund, ingénieur de vol). Le Lockheed 14 a décollé de Floyd Bennett Field à New York le 10 juillet 1938 à 17 h 20 . Le vol, qui a tourné autour des latitudes Nord, traversait Paris, Moscou, Omsk, Yakutsk, Fairbanks, en Alaska et Minneapolis avant de retourner à New York le 14 juillet à 13 h 37 . La distance totale parcourue était de 23 612 km pour un temps total de 3 jours, 19 heures et 17 minutes.


Lockheed C-111 Super Electra - History

7x9-inch ACME Telephoto from an unidentified newspaper's archive (note: distributed by ACME's New York bureau).

Plane crashed May 16, 1938 photograph was shot (or at least distributed) May 19, 1938.

LA448958
BROKEN WING OF AIRLINER IN WHICH NINE PERISHED
SAUGUS, CALIF. &mdash The remains of one of the huge wings of the Lockheed Transport plane that crashed into Stone Mountain, 20 miles north of here, while on a delivery flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Nev., is shown in Mint Canyon. The nine persons aboard, two of whom were children, perished in the flaming wreckage.
CREDIT LINE (ACME) 5/19/38 NY FOR

From Aircraft Wrecks: 5/18/1938 [Error: s/b 5/16/1938]. Lockheed Super Electra Model 14H c/n 1439, NC-17394 of Northwest Airlines hit Stroh Peak 1.5 miles north of Mint Canyon Road, killing all nine on board. Bad weather was a factor in this crash. Wreck is mostly removed from its 2,200' impact site.

From Aircraft Crashes Record Office:

Date & Time: 16 MAY 1938 at 0207LT

Type of Aircraft: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Schedule: Hollywood - Las Vegas - Minneapolis - Chicago

Circumstances: 24 minutes after its departure from Hollywood-Burbank airport, while cruising at night, aircraft hit Mt Stroh located in the Mint Canyon, southwest from Palmdale. Crew was performing a special flight to Las Vegas to show this new aircraft to the president of the company. All nine occupants were killed.

Causes: Crew did not follow published procedures and was cruising at an unsafe altitude to overfly the mountainous region.

From Aviation Safety Network:

Type: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Operator: Northwest Airlines

Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2

Passengers: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7

Total: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9

Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair

Location: near Saugus, CA ( United States of America)

Departure airport: Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America

Destination airport: Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America

Narrative: Struck Stroh Peak at 3,300 feet in Mint Canyon 27 minutes after taking off from Burbank Airport for Las Vegas and on the way to Saint Paul. The brand new Lockheed was on its delivery flight from Burbank to its new owners, Northwest Airlines. It was being flown by a Lockheed test pilot Sidney Wiley (36) and the vice-president of Northwest Frederick Whittlemore (42), who was a pilot. Flying in foggy conditions it struck the first of a series of ridges and bounced off two others, disintegrating on the way, before coming to rest and burning out on a hill called Stroh Peak.


Wreckage & Casualty 5-19-1938


Lockheed C-111 Super Electra - History

7x9-inch ACME Telephoto from the archive of the Illustrated Daily News' Los Angeles Bureau.

Plane crashed 5-16-1938 photograph dated 5-19-1938. Cutline (see below):

From Aircraft Wrecks: 5/18/1938 [Error: s/b 5/16/1938]. Lockheed Super Electra Model 14H c/n 1439, NC-17394 of Northwest Airlines hit Stroh Peak 1.5 miles north of Mint Canyon Road, killing all nine on board. Bad weather was a factor in this crash. Wreck is mostly removed from its 2,200' impact site.

From Aircraft Crashes Record Office:

Date & Time: 16 MAY 1938 at 0207LT

Type of Aircraft: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Schedule: Hollywood - Las Vegas - Minneapolis - Chicago

Circumstances: 24 minutes after its departure from Hollywood-Burbank airport, while cruising at night, aircraft hit Mt Stroh located in the Mint Canyon, southwest from Palmdale. Crew was performing a special flight to Las Vegas to show this new aircraft to the president of the company. All nine occupants were killed.

Causes: Crew did not follow published procedures and was cruising at an unsafe altitude to overfly the mountainous region.

From Aviation Safety Network:

Type: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Operator: Northwest Airlines

Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2

Passengers: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7

Total: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9

Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair

Location: near Saugus, CA ( United States of America)

Departure airport: Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America

Destination airport: Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America

Narrative: Struck Stroh Peak at 3,300 feet in Mint Canyon 27 minutes after taking off from Burbank Airport for Las Vegas and on the way to Saint Paul. The brand new Lockheed was on its delivery flight from Burbank to its new owners, Northwest Airlines. It was being flown by a Lockheed test pilot Sidney Wiley (36) and the vice-president of Northwest Frederick Whittlemore (42), who was a pilot. Flying in foggy conditions it struck the first of a series of ridges and bounced off two others, disintegrating on the way, before coming to rest and burning out on a hill called Stroh Peak.


Wreckage & Casualty 5-19-1938


Lockheed C-111 Super Electra - History

7x9-inch ACME Telephoto from an unidentified newspaper archive.

Plane crashed 5-16-1938 photograph dated 5-19-1938. Cutline (see below):

From Aircraft Wrecks: 5/18/1938 [Error: s/b 5/16/1938]. Lockheed Super Electra Model 14H c/n 1439, NC-17394 of Northwest Airlines hit Stroh Peak 1.5 miles north of Mint Canyon Road, killing all nine on board. Bad weather was a factor in this crash. Wreck is mostly removed from its 2,200' impact site.

From Aircraft Crashes Record Office:

Date & Time: 16 MAY 1938 at 0207LT

Type of Aircraft: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Schedule: Hollywood - Las Vegas - Minneapolis - Chicago

Circumstances: 24 minutes after its departure from Hollywood-Burbank airport, while cruising at night, aircraft hit Mt Stroh located in the Mint Canyon, southwest from Palmdale. Crew was performing a special flight to Las Vegas to show this new aircraft to the president of the company. All nine occupants were killed.

Causes: Crew did not follow published procedures and was cruising at an unsafe altitude to overfly the mountainous region.

From Aviation Safety Network:

Type: Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra

Operator: Northwest Airlines

Crew: Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2

Passengers: Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7

Total: Fatalities: 9 / Occupants: 9

Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair

Location: near Saugus, CA ( United States of America)

Departure airport: Burbank Airport, CA (BUR/KBUR), United States of America

Destination airport: Las Vegas McCarran Field, NV (LSV/KLSV), United States of America

Narrative: Struck Stroh Peak at 3,300 feet in Mint Canyon 27 minutes after taking off from Burbank Airport for Las Vegas and on the way to Saint Paul. The brand new Lockheed was on its delivery flight from Burbank to its new owners, Northwest Airlines. It was being flown by a Lockheed test pilot Sidney Wiley (36) and the vice-president of Northwest Frederick Whittlemore (42), who was a pilot. Flying in foggy conditions it struck the first of a series of ridges and bounced off two others, disintegrating on the way, before coming to rest and burning out on a hill called Stroh Peak.


Wreckage & Casualty 5-19-1938


We Fly the Last Electra Juniors

Don’t blame age for making a group of Lockheed Model 12 Electra Juniors late for their own 75th anniversary celebration. The sleek, twin-engine transport can still cruise at 175 mph. In 2014, seven of the world’s 10 then-airworthy Juniors rendezvoused in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, during the Experimental Aircraft Association annual AirVenture fly-in—a mere three years late for the model’s diamond jubilee. It’s remarkable the gathering occurred at all, says Peter Ramm, who coordinated the event, considering the scheduling and logistical challenges, and given that L-12 owners are “a pretty independent bunch.”

From This Story

See Inside the Cockpit

Standing wingtip to wingtip outside the Red Barn, EAA’s vintage aircraft headquarters, this may have been the largest collection of the type ever assembled.

“I don’t know any time there were seven parked together, even at the factory,” said Les Whittlesey, who flew his L-12 to Wisconsin from Coto de Caza, California, just down the road from Burbank, where Electra Juniors were built.

Aimed at small airlines and the corporate transport market, the Lockheed㺌 Electra Junior was the six-passenger version of the 10-passenger Lockheed 10, famed as the airplane Amelia Earhart was flying when she went missing. The impetus for the Junior’s development was in part a Bureau of Air Commerce design competition aimed at promoting aircraft for feeder airlines—carriers that transport, or “feed,” travelers to hub airports from destinations not served by larger lines. Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior SB radial engines, the L-12 first flew on June 27, 1936, three days before the competition ended. Lockheed won the contest by default the two other entrants, the Beech 18 and the Barkley-Grow T8P-1, failed to fly before the deadline.

Available in both airline and executive interior configurations, the L-12 featured innovations such as a fire suppression system in the engines, an emergency exit, and a fuel dump system, which was rare at the time.

But despite its advanced design and incentives provided by the government, the L-12 garnered few orders from airlines.

“The reality is, during that time a 15- to 18-passenger airliner would work well as a feeder, and the fixed costs of crew, fuel, oil, and airframe really wouldn’t be too much more than the skimpy six-passenger Lockheed speedster,” said H.G. Frautschy, former executive director of the EAA’s Vintage Aircraft Association.

Many of the L-12s at the reunion were first owned by oil companies with their big balloon tires, a stall speed of about 65 mph, and conventional gear configuration, they could easily operate on unimproved airstrips in oil fields. Between 126 and 130 Juniors were built production ended in 1941.

During World War II, many L-12s were requisitioned by U.S. and British military services. Sold as surplus after the war, most were operated as corporate aircraft into the 1960s. As companies transitioned to more contemporary twin-engine business turboprops and jets, L-12s began finding their way into private hands, still being flown rather than displayed as artifacts. The current owners, all vintage aircraft devotees, began acquiring them in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Despite a lack of market impact or historic significance, the L-12 does have claims to fame. An L-12, equipped with cameras, flown by Australian inventor and photography pioneer Sidney Cotton served as a spyplane before World War II, gathering important intelligence on German military positions.

And the aircraft’s cameo, in Air France livery, as the airliner awaiting Ingrid Bergman in the closing scene of the movie Casablanca adds to the L-12’s cachet.

The Junior was among the first aircraft designer Kelly Johnson worked on at Lockheed Aircraft. (Prior to joining the company, Johnson had advised Lockheed to put an H-tail on the L-10 for improved stability, following wind tunnel tests at the University of Michigan, where he was then a student assistant.)

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This story is a selection from the February/March issue of Air & Space magazine

“Kelly Johnson actually wrote our flight manual—his name is prominently placed on the front cover,” said Uwanna Perras, who, with his brother Yon, meticulously restored their 1940 Junior, regarded as the queen of today’s fleet.

The L-12’s slim flight manual is itself a study in streamlining, if not minimalism, excluding, among other items, weight and balance data. Johnson simply noted that whatever combination of passengers and fuel the airplane was carrying, as long as the forward and rear baggage compartments were not overloaded, the center of gravity wouldn’t exceed the forward or rear limits.

Whatever Johnson’s involvement in the Junior’s development, he apparently left it off his career highlights reel. “Kelly Johnson was my boss when I was a new hire at Lockheed almost 60 years ago,” John Underwood wrote in an email. “He seemed to be most proud of the L-14 [Super Electra], L-18 [Lodestar], and [L-049] Connie in the civilian category.”

To the Junior’s owners, the graceful lines and perfectly proportioned airframe are the type’s chief attractions. “The Lockheed 12 is probably the greatest example of that beautiful, classic Art Deco era of aviation,” said David Marco of Atlantic Beach, Florida, owner of a completely restored 1938 model. “It epitomizes that time more than any other airplane.” Patrick Donovan of Bellingham, Washington, declares: “It’s the prettiest airplane ever built,” and many vintage aircraft aficionados seem to agree. Among other awards, four of these seven L-12s (Ramm’s, Marco’s, Whittlesey’s, and the Perras brothers’) previously won the coveted Gold Lindy at Oshkosh for best antique aircraft, and Joseph Shepherd’s earned Antique Outstanding Transport honors, a tribute to the type’s inherent appeal as well as the quality of the restorations.

But some fans view the aircraft in a less romantic light. “It’s quite a marvel, but it’s hard to believe they would design an airplane like that,” said vintage aircraft expert and pilot Kirk McQuown of Redondo Beach, California, who headed the restorations of two of the Lindy-winning L-12s. He cited such quirks as the prone-to-fail landing gear, an over-complex fuel system, and a flap connection that can send the aircraft into a snap roll in the event the flap fails. “You’ve got to sit down with somebody and say, ‘This is not a normal airplane’ ” before that person attempts to restore or fly the L-12, McQuown said.

All the L-12 owners at the reunion knew one another, though they hadn’t all met face to face. The gathering gave them a chance to tour the fleet together, crowding into each L-12 in turn. “We all did them a little bit different,” said Shepherd, “but they all basically have the same original interior, just like they came in the 󈧢s.”

The owners also discussed L-12 operational and maintenance issues onstage at a Lockheed forum, collectively held their breaths when a freak hailstorm darkened the sky one afternoon, and took to the skies for group air-to-air photos. They feel a connection from their common mission. “We all know we’re just caretakers,” said Donovan. “Everybody’s trying to be true to the history, and pass these on to the next generation.”

Joseph Shepherd at the 2009 AOPA Summit in Tampa, Florida (Adam Fellabaum)

The Movie Star

Year built: 1936. Owner: Joseph Shepherd, Fayetteville, Georgia.

After flying B-18s as a freight dog after college, Joseph Shepherd was a rabid Twin Beech fan—until he flew a friend’s L-12 in the 1980s. “The Lockheed is light-years ahead of the B-18 in every way,” he says. “I just fell in love with the Lockheed and hoped one day I could find one.” The son of a World War II fighter pilot and father of a 747 captain, Shepherd affirms aviation is “in the family.” In 1988 he traded a Cessna 195 for an L-12 that had been sitting in a field for almost a decade. (The owner had two Juniors the Perras brothers bought the other.) “The more we probed and inspected, it was determined it needed a complete rebuild,” Shepherd says. The project consumed 20,000 hours over 17 years. “I elected to go with modern avionics,” Shepherd says of the do-over. “Where I live [near heavy airport traffic], you have to be aware of where you are.” But the airplane is true enough to the period to have earned a role in the 2009 film Amelia as Earhart’s L-10 and, more recently, a spot in 42, the 2013 film about baseball great Jackie Robinson. The airplane also won an Antique Outstanding Transport award at Oshkosh in 2007, along with a host of other honors.

David Marco at the 2011 AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (Julie Marco)

Powered by a Wasp

Year built: 1938. Owner: David Marco, Atlantic Beach, Florida.

“I wanted a classic 985 twin,” says David Marco, referring to Pratt & Whitney’s R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine. He bought his L-12 while visiting aircraft preservationist Kermit Weeks at the Fantasy of Flight Museum in Florida. “I was fishing in Weeks’ lake and closed the deal in a kayak,” Marco says. “We spent more than 10,000 hours putting it back exactly the way [it was when] it rolled out of the Burbank factory for Phillips Petroleum when they picked it up in March 󈧪.” Kirk McQuown headed the restoration, performed at Chino Airport. “The leather has to be oiled every month,” Marco says. “It’s a stunning exterior and interior, but not exactly the everyday airplane I wanted it to be.” The son of a World War II B-24 pilot who built a thriving business “just so he could have bigger and better airplanes,” Marco is following his father’s lead. His collection includes a P-51 Mustang, T-34 Mentor, de Havilland Beaver, and Citation CJ2, but the Gold Lindy Junior remains the pride of his fleet. “Even by today’s standards, it’s pretty darn amazing,” he says. He’s thinking of building an air conditioned hangar for it “I just haven’t figured out how to break this news to the others yet,” he says.

The Ringleader

Year built: 1937. Owner: Peter Ramm, St. Catherines, Ontario, Canada.

Peter Ramm, in November 2016, at his hangar at the Niagara District airport (Peter Ramm)

“The Lockheed is such a pleasure to be in and fly that getting anywhere is completely beside the point,” says retired neurobiologist Peter Ramm. “It’s ideal for someone like me I don’t want to get anywhere.” Ramm, the son of a bomber pilot, started flying gliders in grad school (“It de-stressed me”) and transitioned to powered aircraft in the late 1990s after leaving a career in research and founding a successful biotechnology company. His 1937 L-12 was originally owned by Varney Air Transport, predecessor of Continental Airlines, “so this is one of the first two airplanes that Continental ran,” he says. By the time Ramm bought it in 2007 it was “flying but shouldn’t.” It next flew in 2012, following a complete restoration, and won a Gold Lindy at AirVenture that year. Though he claims to be “a bit of a hermit,” Ramm spearheaded the L-12 gathering (“I did send out some emails and suggest it would be fun to do,” he admits). Today his airplane appears at regional fly-ins, provides rides to winning bidders at charity fundraisers, and carries Ramm on the occasional trip. Ramm is now 69, and the aircraft is for sale. “I love it dearly,” he says, “and am in no rush to sell.”

The Queen of the Fleet

Year built: 1940. Owners: Uwanna Perras and Yon Perras, Morrisville, Vermont.

Uwanna Perras (left) and brother Yon Perras in Vermont, 2016 (Perras Brothers)

In the 1980s, Vermont natives Uwanna and Yon Perras were living in Hayward, California, working for the Air National Guard and Sandia National Laboratories, respectively, and flying a Beech Staggerwing they’d restored. A friend suggested they check out the 12, “even though you’re Beech people.” The brothers found a Junior in Texas in 1988 and planned to “leave it in the rough,” Uwanna says. “[But] you start looking at things: ‘Oh, we’ve got to fix that,’ and ‘Oh, we need to wire that.’ First thing you know, it was completely disassembled.” The restoration took 10 years and more than 20,000 hours of labor, almost all performed by the brothers themselves. (Interior work was sewn by Giatto’s Interiors in San Jose, California, while the Perras brothers did the installation.) The 1999 Gold Lindy Antique winner, theirs is the restoration against which owners judge the rest of the fleet. It’s “virtually brand new we fabricated everything,” Yon says, including the mold they built to forge new engine cowls. The brothers, now retired, have moved back to Vermont and keep the Lockheed on the family’s former dairy farm, which has an airstrip. They flew the L-12 to last year’s AirVenture and to the Triple Tree Aerodrome Fly-in in South Carolina.

The Flying Dentist

Year built: 1940. Owner: John O’Keefe, Winthrop, Washington.

John O’Keefe, in Winthrop, Washington, 2016 (Jeanette O’Keefe)

Most L-12 owners are the children of aviators, born with avgas in their blood. Not John O’Keefe. “I’m a dentist,” he says. “I never envisioned myself owning a Lockheed.” He learned to fly in his late 30s and “jumped right into the old taildraggers,” soon buying a Beech Staggerwing and then a Spartan Executive. “I just always appreciated the Deco airplanes of the 󈧢s and early 󈧬s.” His 1940 L-12, purchased in 2001, was first owned by the Humble Oil and Refining Company. “You can still see where they almost gouged the aluminum when they were putting the logo on,” O’Keefe says. “After polishing the airplane enough times, you know where it is.” His Junior was in “fairly good shape” when he bought it, but still required firewall-forward engine overhauls, all new control cables, and landing gear restoration. “Just safety stuff, not so much cosmetic,” he says. Based at Methow Valley State Airport in Winthrop, Washington, O’Keefe’s Junior appears at local fly-ins, and he uses it “real recreationally,” leaving family transportation missions to his cheaper-to-operate Spartan or amphibious Maule.

Combat Veteran

Year built: 1938. Owner: Les Whittlesey, Coto de Caza, California.

The Junior plays a part in the Whittlesey family’s 2006 Christmas card. (James Johnson)

The son of an ex-Air Force pilot and airline captain, Les Whittlesey grew up in Torrance, California, surrounded by vintage aircraft and restoration activity. In 2002 he was looking for a twin-engine aircraft to complement his Cabin Waco when a freshly annualed L-12 appeared in Trade-A-Plane. “I promised my wife it wasn’t another project,” says Whittlesey, a real estate developer. Once owned by transport magnate E.L. Cord, the aircraft served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, taking fire “from our own side over Belgium—you can see the patch on the wing.”

Even though the Junior wasn’t as airworthy as advertised, and assurances to his wife notwithstanding, Whittlesey bought it. Six restorers (“more artisans than mechanics”) worked full time for three years rebuilding the airplane, while Whittlesey “traveled throughout the United States to look at other Lockheeds” for inspiration and restoration guidance. The Gold Lindy-winning Grand Dame, as it’s called, is based at Cal Aero Aviation Country Club at Chino Airport, and Whittlesey uses it for family and business travel, as well as for display and charitable missions. “It’s a good cross-country airplane,” he says. “I usually don’t have to pay ramp fees they let me park it for free because it’s so unique.”

The World Traveler

Year built: 1938. Owner: Patrick Donovan, Seattle, Washington.

Patrick Donovan, left, and fellow pilot William Sleeper at the 2016 Flying Legends airshow in Duxford, England (Darren Harbar Photography)

Patrick Donovan, a third generation pilot, recalls his first sight of an L-12, at Arlington Municipal Airport in Texas in the 1970s. “The sun was going down,” the retired airline captain remembers, “and it dropped below a low cloud layer and shined on one parked on the ramp. I said, ‘I’m going to grow up and get one of these things.’ ” Originally owned by Continental Oil Company (today’s Conoco), Donovan’s Lockheed “was a barn find,” bought for $10,000 in 1989. Flying it back to Seattle, he “trailed parts and oil across the United States.” He has since reskinned most of the fuselage, rebuilt the landing gear, hung new engines, and restored the interior down to the Bakelite knobs on the Deco ashtrays, and he is still not finished. The aircraft made a round trip to New Zealand, where Donovan resided for several years, and this year flew to England and back, some 9,000 miles. Now based at Washington’s Columbia Pacific Aviation, the Junior transports Donovan to airshow engagements and charity flights. “It creates a small riot every place you go, it’s enormously fun to fly, and you can pile all your buddies in and use it,” he says.

About James Wynbrandt

A longtime contributor to a number of aviation publications, James Wynbrandt has flown his Mooney M20K 252 on assignments throughout North and Central America.


TriStar Experience- The organization behind the L-1011’s restoration

The people behind TriStar Experience, an all-volunteer organization, have worked tirelessly for years to source and restore unique and special aircraft for the purposes of inspiring the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) workers. This L-1011 joins already completed projects such as the MD-83 N948TW, also known as Wings of Pride. Readers may recall that AirlineReporter was granted exclusive aviation media access of the arrival of TWA’s Wings of Pride in 2015.

The organization, a 501(c)3 non-profit, uses flyable jet aircraft for educational and experiential programs to inspire students into STEM fields of study. It seeks to support and cultivate those with interest to pursue aviation and aerospace related careers. Regardless of coursework or career, TriStar’s ultimate success is helping kids explore and achieve more than they thought possible. TriStar also supports other charitable groups with its operational jet aircraft.

Lockheed L-1011 TriStar N910TE parked at Kansas City International Airport Gate 14 – Photo: JL Johnson


F-8 Crusader - Specifications (F-8E)

General

  • Length: 54 ft. 3 in.
  • Wingspan: 35 ft. 8 in.
  • Height: 15 ft. 9 in.
  • Wing Area: 375 sq. ft.
  • Empty Weight: 17,541 lbs.
  • Loaded Weight: 29,000 lbs.
  • Crew: 1

Performance

  • Power Plant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney J57-P-20A afterburning turbojet
  • Combat Radius: 450 miles
  • Max Speed: Mach 1.86 (1,225 mph)
  • Ceiling: 58,000 ft.

Armament

  • Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.787 in) Colt Mk 12 cannons
  • Rockets: 8 × Zuni rockets in four twin pods
  • Missiles: 4 × AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, 2 x AGM-12 Bullpup air-to-ground guided missiles
  • Bombs: 12 × 250 lb bombs or 4 × 1,000 lb (450 kg) bombs or 2× 2,000 lb bombs

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, 1937. (Photograph by F.X. O’Grady, Cleveland State University, Michael Schwartz Library, Division of Special Collections) Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10E Electra, NR16020. (San Diego Air & Space Museum, Catalog #: 01_00091572)

For her around-the-world flight, the airplane that Amelia Earhart chose was a Lockheed Electra 10E, manufactured by the Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California. The Electra Model 10 was an all-metal, twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear, designed as a small, medium-range airliner. In the standard configuration it carried a crew of 2 and up to 10 passengers. The Model 10 was produced in five variants with a total of 149 airplanes built between August 1934 and July 1941. Lockheed built fifteen Model 10Es. Earhart’s was serial number 1055.

Amelia Earhart stands in the cockpit of her unfinished Lockheed Electra 10E Special, serial number 1055, at the Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California, 1936. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

$80,000 to buy the Electra was provided by the Purdue Research Foundation from donations made by several individuals. George Palmer Putnam, Amelia’s husband, made the arrangements to order the airplane and in March 1936 gave Lockheed the authorization to proceed, with delivery requested in June. The modifications included four auxiliary fuel tanks in the passenger compartment, a navigator’s station to the rear of that, elimination of passenger windows, installation of a Sperry autopilot and various radio and navigation equipment and additional batteries. The Electra was not ready until mid-July.

Lockheed Electra 10E NR16020. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

Amelia Earhart test flew the new airplane at Burbank on 21 July with Lockheed test pilot Elmer C. McLeod. She accepted the Electra on her 39th birthday, 24 July 1936. It received civil certification NR16020. (The letter “R” indicates that because of modifications from the standard configuration, the airplane was restricted to carrying only members of the flight crew, although Earhart and her advisor, Paul Mantz, frequently violated this restriction.)

Lockheed technicians checking the Electra with the airplane in a normal flight attitude. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

The Electra 10E was 38 feet, 7 inches (11.760 meters) long with a wingspan of 55 feet (16.764 meters) and overall height of 10 feet, 1 inch (3.074 meters). The standard Model 10 had an empty weight of 6,454 pounds (2,927.5 kilograms) and a gross weight of 10,500 pounds (4,762.7 kilograms). NR16020 had an empty weight of 7,265 pounds (3295.4 kilograms). Lockheed’s performance data was calculated using 16,500 pounds (7,484.3 kilograms) as the Maximum Takeoff Weight.

NR16020 had a total fuel capacity of 1,151 gallons (4,357 liters) in ten tanks in the wings and fuselage. 80 gallons (302.8 liters) of lubricating oil for the engines was carried in four tanks.

Amelia Earhart poses with one of her Electra’s Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H1 radial engines and its two-bladed Hamilton Standard 12D-40 variable-pitch, constant-speed propeller. (AP)

Earhart’s Electra 10E Special was powered by two air-cooled, supercharged, 1,343.804-cubic-inch-displacement (22.021 liter) Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H1 nine-cylinder radial engines, with a compression ratio of 6:1. These engines used a single-stage centrifugal supercharger and were rated at 550 horsepower at 2,200 r.p.m. at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) and 600 horsepower at 2,250 r.p.m. for take off. The direct-drive engines turned 9 foot, 7/8-inch (3.010 meters) diameter, two-bladed, Hamilton Standard variable-pitch, constant-speed propellers. The Wasp S3H1 is 4 feet, 3.60 inches (1.311 meters) in diameter and 3 feet, 7.01 inches (1.093 meters) long. It weighed 865 pounds (392 kilograms).

Amelia Earhart with her Electra 10E, NR16020, at Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California, December 1936. Earhart’s automobile is a light blue 1936 Cord 810 convertible. (The Autry National Center Museum, Automobile Club of Southern California Archives)

A detailed engineering report was prepared by a young Lockheed engineer named Clarence L. (“Kelly”) Johnson to provide data for the best takeoff, climb and cruise performance with the very heavily loaded airplane. The maximum speed for the Model 10E Special at Sea Level and maximum takeoff weight was 177 miles per hour (284.9 kilometers per hour), a reduction of 25 miles per hour (40.2 kilometers per hour) over the standard airplane. The maximum range was calculated to be 4,500 miles (7,242.1 kilometers) using 1,200 gallons (4,542.5 liters) of fuel.

Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson conducted wind tunnel testing of the Model 10 at the University of Michigan. (Lockheed Martin)

Johnson would later design many of Lockheed’s most famous aircraft, such as the SR-71A Blackbird Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance airplane. As a student at the University of Michigan, he worked on the wind tunnel testing of the Lockheed Electra Model 10 and made recommendations that were incorporated into the production airplane.

Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E Special NR16020 after it crashed on takeoff at Luke Field (NAS Ford Island), 0553, 20 March 1937. The preliminary estimate to repair the airplane was $30,000. (Hawaii’s Aviation History) Amelia Earhart’s heavily damaged Lockheed Electra 10E Special, NR16020, after a ground loop on takeoff at Luke Field, Hawaii, 20 March 1937. The damaged propellers and engine cowlings have already been removed. The fuselage fuel tanks are being emptied. (Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections)

The Electra was heavily damaged when it crashed on takeoff at Luke Field (NAS Ford Island), Honolulu, Hawaii, on the morning of 20 March 1937. It was shipped back to Lockheed for extensive repairs. An investigating board of U.S. Army officers did not report a specific cause for the accident, but there was no evidence of a “blown tire” as had been reported in the newspapers. The repairs were completed by Lockheed and the aircraft certified as airworthy by a Bureau of Commerce inspector, 19 May 1937. The airplane had flown 181 hours, 17 minutes since it was built.

Lockheed engineers Tom Triplett (left) and Victor Barton use X-ray equipment to scan for hidden damage while the Electra undergoes repairs at Lockheed Aircraft Company, Burbank, California, 3 May 1937. (AP File Photo/Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College) Amelia Earhart in the cockpit of her Lockheed Electra 10E NR16020. The Sperry GyroPilot is at the center of the instrument panel. (AFP/Getty Images) Photographed from the rear of the plane, Amelia Earhart leans over the fuel tanks that have been installed in the aft cabin of her Electra. (AP)

Earhart’s Electra was equipped with a Western Electric Model 13C radio transmitter and Model 20B receiver for radio communication. It used a Sperry GyroPilot gyroscopic automatic pilot.