(Variants/Other Names: C-56; C-57; Lockheed
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History: The Lockheed
18 Lodestar was the last twin-engine transport designed by Lockheed. The
prototype, a Lockheed 14 Super Electra lengthened by five feet, flew on the 21st of
September, 1939. Designed for the commercial market, Lockheed found domestic sales slow
due to previous commitments by airlines to buy the DC-3. A total of 96 were ordered by
foreign airlines in Canada, Africa, Brazil, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa,
the UK and Venezuela.
The first military orders for the Lodestar came
from the US Navy. In 1940, the Navy ordered three variants, an executive transport
carrying seven (R50-1), a personnel transport carrying 14, and a
paratroop transport carrying 18. In 1941, the US Army Air Corps had 13 Lodestars built and
designated them the C-57. In addition, after the attack on Pearl
Harbor, a number of civilian Lodestars were requisitioned and designated the C-56.
Between 1942 and 1943, the USAAC acquired 324 C-60As, 18-seat
paratroop transports. Some of these aircraft were passed on to the UK (RAF versions were
known as the Lodestar I (C-56), Lodestar IA (C-59), and Lodestar
II (C-60), and most were operated as medium-range transports.) After the war,
some Lodestars were converted into executive aircraft, while others went to work for small
freight operators. Less than 20 Lodestars are still airworthy in the USA
today. [History by David MacGillivray]
Engines: Two 875-hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G radial piston engines
Weight: Empty 11,250 lbs., Max
Takeoff 19,200 lbs.
Wing Span: 65ft. 6in.
Length: 49ft. 10in.
Height: 11ft. 10in.
Number Built: 500+
Number Still Airworthy: 10-15 on US civil
register. Unknown number elsewhere.
Terminal Museum -- Lodestar N31G page
Canadian Aces Lodestar Page
in Australia Site -- Lodestar page
L-60 Photo Page
USAF Museum C-60A Lodestar
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