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The Lockheed L-10 Electra was a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s to compete with the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2.

Design and development

The Electra was Lockheed's first all-metal and twin-engine design by Hall Hibbard. (However, some of Lockheed's wooden designs, such as the Orion had been built by Detroit Aircraft Corporation with metal fuselages.) Most of the structure is 7075 Aluminum alloy with 2024 Aluminum alloy used for skin panels and bulkhead webs subjected to tension loads through pressurization . The name Electra came from a star in the Pleiades. The prototype made its first flight on 23 February, 1934 with Marshall Headle at the controls.

Wind tunnel work on the Electra was undertaken at the University of Michiganmarker. Much of the work was performed by a student assistant, Clarence Johnson. He suggested two changes be made to the design: changing the single tail to double tails (later a Lockheed trademark), and deleting oversized wing fillets. Both of these suggestions were incorporated into production aircraft. Upon receiving his master's degree, Johnson joined Lockheed as a regular employee, ultimately leading the Skunk Worksmarker in developing advanced aircraft such as the SR-71 Blackbird.

Operational history

In July 1937, aviatrix Amelia Earhart disappeared in a highly-modified Electra during an attempted round-the-world flight.

In May 1937, H.T. "Dick" Merrill and J.S. Lambie accomplished a round-trip crossing of the Atlantic Oceanmarker. The feat was declared the first round-trip commercial crossing of that ocean, and it won them the Harmon Trophy. On the eastbound trip, they carried newsreels of the crash of the Hindenburgmarker, and on the return trip, they brought photographs of the coronation of King George VI.

Many Electras and their design descendants (the L-12 Electra Junior and L-14 Super Electra) were pressed into military service during World War II, for instance the USAAF's C-36. By the end of the war, the Electra design was obsolete.


Lockheed XC-35
Lockheed Y1C-36 / C-36 / UC-36
Lockheed Y1C-37 / C-37 / UC-37
The Electra was produced in several variants, for both civilian and military customers. Lockheed built a total of 149 Electras.

Electra 10A
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-985-13, 450 hp (336 kW) each; 101 produced.
* Three built as Y1C-36 / C-36 / UC-36.
* Fifteen impressed as C-36A, but later re-designated UC-36A.
* Three built as XR2O-1 / R2O-1 for Secretary of the Navy.
* One built as Y1C-37 / C-37 / UC-37 for Chief of National Guard Bureau
Electra 10B
Powered by Wright R-975-13, 440 hp (340 kW) each; 18 produced
* Seven impressed as C-36C, but later re-designated UC-36C.
* One built as XR3O-1 for use by the Secretary of Treasury, operated by the US Coast Guard.
Electra 10C
Powered by Pratt & Whitney Wasp SC1, 450 hp (336 kW) each; eight produced for Pan American Airways.
Electra 10-D
Proposed military transport version; none built.
Electra 10-E
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 radials of 600 hp (450 kW) each; 15 produced. The version used by Amelia Earhart.
* Five impressed as C-36B, but later re-designated UC-36B
Experimental pressurized research model powered by supercharged Pratt & Whitney XR-1340-43, 550 hp (410 kW) each. The one production model was tested for the War Department by Lieutenant Ben Kelsey. For this work, the Army Air Corps was awarded the 1937 Collier Trophy. The XC-35 is currently in storage in the collection of the National Air and Space Museummarker.


USAF Lockheed Y1C-36

Military operators

Civil operators


Canada is the home of two Model 10As. The first aircraft in the Air Canada (then called Trans-Canada Air Lines) fleet was an Electra L10A, "TCA." Two Electras were delivered to Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) in 1937. They were based in Winnipeg and used for pilot training. Trans-Canada Air Lines ordered three more for transcontinental service; "CF-TCC" was one of those three. These former TCA machines and other 10As were acquired by the RCAF during Second World War, and later sold to private operators.

  • TCA survived into the 1960s when Ann Pellegreno between 7 June and 10 July 1967 flew TCA on a round-the-world flight to commemorate Amelia Earhart’s last flight in 1937. The Canada Aviation Museummarker acquired this aircraft after the commemorative flight. Manufactured in 1937, the Museum example was the first new aircraft purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines and served with the company until transferred to the RCAF in 1939. Sold in 1941 to a private operator, it was flown until 1967 by various owners. Air Canada restored the aircraft in 1968 and donated it to the Museum.

  • TCC was another former Trans-Canada Air Lines original. CF-TCC was found in Florida by a vacationing Air Canada employee in the early 1980s. Arrangements were made for it to be brought back to Winnipeg where it was restored. It was flown across Canada in 1987 to commemorate Air Canada's 50th Anniversary. Air Canada maintains the aircraft and uses it to promote the airline. The aircraft was placed on display at Expo 86 after recreating the original TCA cross-country flight in 1937 and continues to be displayed at air shows and conferences. In 2006, it was flown from Toronto to Washington DC for the annual "Airliners International" Show. For most of the year, TCC resides at the Western Canada Aviation Museum where it is one of the feature aircraft displayed.

  • Another Auckland-based Electra, owned by Kaipara Aviation Trust, is under restoration to flying condition.

  • N38BB Is on display at Western Aerospace Museum in Oakland, CA and is scheduled for restoration in the near future. This aircraft was originally supposed to be restored and cast for a role in the new Amelia Earhart movie but a deal could not be made with producers and a Lockheed 12 was used instead.

Specifications (Electra 10A)

See also



  2. [1]


  • Francillon, René J. Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-835-6.

External links

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