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The Lockheed L-18 Lodestar was a passenger transport aircraft of the World War II era.

Design and development

The prototype of the Lockheed L-18, which first flew in 1939, was constructed from one of a batch of Lockheed L-14 Super Electras which had been returned to the manufacturer by Northwest Airlines after a series of crashes of L-14s. The fuselage was lengthened by 5 ft (1.5 m), enabling the fitting of two more rows of seats and hopefully making the aircraft more economical to operate. However, most US airlines were by then committed to purchasing the Douglas DC-3, and Lockheed found the Lodestar difficult to sell at home.

A total of 625 Lodestars of all variants were built.

Operational history

Overseas sales were a little better, with 29 bought by the government of the Netherlands East Indiesmarker. South African Airways (21), Trans-Canada Air Lines (12) and BOAC (9) were the biggest airline customers. Various Pratt & Whitney and Wright Cyclone powerplants were installed.

When the United Statesmarker started to build up its military air strength in 1940-41, American operated, plus many new-build Lodestars were flown by the Army Air Force and U.S. Navy under various designations. Lend-lease aircraft were used by the RNZAF as transports.

After the war Lodestars returned to civilian service, mostly as executive transports such as Dallas Aero Service's DAS Dalaero conversion, Bill Lear's Learstar (produced by PacAero), and Howard Aero's Howard 250. A few of the latter were even converted to tricycle undercarriage.

Many of the New Zealandmarker aircraft were later used for aerial topdressing.

A single Lodestar served with the Israeli Air Force during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

Survivors

Around 10-15 are still airworthy in the USA alone. An example of a Lodestar converted for commercial use exists at the 1940 Air Terminal Museummarker in Houston, Texas.

Variants

18-07
Powered by two 875hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G engines, 25 built plus two prototypes.
18-08
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines, 33 built.
18-10
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines, 39 built.
18-14
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S4C4-G engines, 4 built.
18-40
Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G104A engines, 26 built.
18-50
Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G202A engines, 13 built.


US Army Lodestars

C-56
Powered by 1200hp Wright 1820-89 engines, one Model 18-50 for evaluation.
C-56A
One impressed Model 18-07 with two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 engines.
C-56B
Thirteen impressed Model 18-40s with two Wright 1820-97 engines.
C-56C
Twelve impressed Model 18-07.
C-56D
Seven impressed Model 18-08.
C-56E
Two Model 18-40s impressed in 1943.
C-57
As Model 18-14 powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53 engines.
C-57A
Allocated for impressed aircraft, not used.
C-57B
Based on Model 18-08 fitted for trooping, 7 aircraft built.
C-57C
Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines, 3 aircraft converted.
C-57D
Repowered C-57C with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines, 1 aircraft converted.
C-59
Based on Model 18-07 powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 Hornet engines, 10 aircraft built. Transferred to Royal Air Force as Lodestar IA.
C-60
Model 18-56 powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines, 36 aircraft built. Some transferred to RAF as Lodestar II.
C-60A
As the C-60 but fitted out as a paratroop transport powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines, 325 aircraft built.
XC-60B
One C-60A fitted with experimental de-icing equipment.
C-60C
Proposed 21-seat troop transport aircraft, never built.
C-66
Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines. 1 aircraft built 11-passenger interior for transfer to the Brazilian Air Force.


US Navy Lodestars

XR5O-1
One Model 18-07 acquired for evaluation powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines.
R5O-1
Staff transport powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-97 engines. 3 aircraft built, two for the USN and one for the United States Coast Guard.
R5O-2
Navy version of the C-59 powered by 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 engines, 1 aircraft built.
R5O-3
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-34A engines. Originally 4-seater VIP transports, 3 aircraft built.
R5O-4
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Impressed. 7-seater staff transports, 12 aircraft built.
R5O-5
Navy version of the C-60 powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Similar to the R5O-4 but had 14-seats. 38 aircraft built and three former NEIAF aircaft.
R5O-6
Navy version of the C-60A for the US Marine Corps, equipped with 18 paratroop seats, 35 built.


Operators



Military operators



Civil operators

Air Afrique (5 Model 18-07s delivered new)
Air France (3 Model 18-07s delivered new)
  • BOAC (9 Model 18-07s delivered new)
  • LAV (1 Model 18-10 delivered new)


Specifications (C-60)

See also

References

Notes

  1. Francillon 1982, pp. 185-194 & 488-489
  2. Andrade 1979, pp. 77-78


Bibliography




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