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Special Report / History Aviation (6) / Model 10 Electra: Lockheed’s First All-Metal Design & Amelia Earhart’s Favorite But Tragic Airplane..!

Model 10 Electra

(Source of Photos: Lockheed Martin / Model 10 Electra /)

Model 10 Electra

  • In 1932, after acquiring Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, Robert Gross began plans for a new passenger transport.  Designed primarily by Hall Hibbard, the new aircraft would be the company’s first all-metal design.  Fitted with two Pratt & Whitney Wasp Jr. SB engines, the aircraft would have space for a crew of two, along with ten passengers.  In keeping with Lockheed’s naming convention, the aircraft was designated Model 10 and named Electra. The name was taken from one of the stars in the cluster Pleiades that make up the constellation Taurus. / Model 10 Electra /

Model 10 Electra: “Twin Fin And Rudder…”

Model 10 Electra

  • The Model 10 Electra was the first assignment at Lockheed for Clarence “Kelly” Johnson.  It was his input, as the result of wind tunnel testing, that led to the signature “twin fin and rudder” that was synonymous with Lockheed.  Test flights of the prototype would lead to even more design changes based on recommendations by Johnson.

  • 149 Electras were built between August 4, 1934 and July 18, 1941.  This includes four commercial and five military versions.  The commercial versions were primarily operated by airlines in the latter half of the 1930s.
  • The last commercial operator of the Model 10 Electra was Provincetown-Boston Airlines in the early 1970s.  Military designations of the Model 10 include XC-35, Y1C-36 and Y1C-37 and are essentially the same as commercial versions with differences in the engines used. / Model 10 Electra /

Model 10 Electra

Model 10 Electra: Secondary Military Roles In World War II…

  • In addition to the military versions of the aircraft, 27 of the commercial and privately owned planes were impressed into service in World War II.  The aircraft were used for secondary roles such as light cargo missions and staff transport.  After the war the planes were returned to their original owners.

  • The most famous Electra is the Model 10-E that was owned by Amelia Earhart.  Designated NR16020, the plane was modified to meet Ms. Earhart’s specifications.  Earhart and her navigator Fred Noon left Oakland, California on May 20, 1937 in their second attempt to fly around the world.  This attempt ended tragically on July 2, 1937 when their plane was lost near Howland Island in the Pacific. / Model 10 Electra /

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