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Model 10 Electra
Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan's modified Electra 10E
Role Light airliner
Manufacturer Lockheed
Designer Hall Hibbard
First flight February 23, 1934
Introduction 1935
Number built 149
Variants Lockheed XC-35
Developed into

The Lockheed Model 10 Electra is an American twin-engined, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, which was produced primarily in the 1930s to compete with the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2. The type gained considerable fame as one was flown by Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan on their ill-fated around-the-world expedition in 1937.

Design and development

Clarence "Kelly" Johnson is testing an Electra model with single vertical tail and forward-sloping windshield in the University of Michigan's wind tunnel.

Some of Lockheed's wooden designs, such as the Orion, had been built by Detroit Aircraft Corporation with metal fuselages. However, the Electra was Lockheed's first all-metal and twin-engined design by Lloyd Stearman[1][2] and Hall Hibbard. The name Electra came from a star in the Pleiades. The prototype made its first flight on February 23, 1934, with Marshall Headle at the controls.[3]

Wind-tunnel work on the Electra was undertaken at the University of Michigan. 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.[4] Upon receiving his master's degree, Johnson joined Lockheed as a regular employee, ultimately leading the Skunk Works in developing advanced aircraft such as the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.

The Lockheed Electra was one of the first commercial passenger aircraft with retractable landing gear to come equipped with mudguards as standard equipment, although aircraft with fixed landing gear commonly had mudguards much earlier than this.[5]

Operational history

Lockheed 10B of Marshall Airways (Australia) in 1970, had been initially delivered to Ansett Airways in 1937

After October 1934, when the US government banned single-engined aircraft for use in carrying passengers or in night flying, Lockheed was perfectly placed in the market with its new Model 10 Electra. In addition to deliveries to US-based airlines, several European operators added Electras to their prewar fleets. In Latin America, the first airline to use Electras was Cubana de Aviación, starting in 1935, for its domestic routes.

Flight deck of a Model 10A, which has been updated with a more modern instrument panel

Besides airline orders, a number of non-commercial civil operators also purchased the new Model 10.[6] In May 1937, H. T. "Dick" Merrill and J. S. Lambie accomplished a round-trip crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The feat was declared the first round-trip commercial crossing of that ocean by any aircraft. It won them the Harmon Trophy. On the eastbound trip, they carried newsreels of the crash of the Hindenburg, and on the return trip from the United Kingdom, they brought photographs of the coronation of King George VI. Bata Shoes operated the Model 10 to ferry its executives between their European factories.

Earhart and her customized Lockheed Electra

Probably the most famous use of the Electra was the highly modified Model 10E flown by Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan. In July 1937, they disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean during an attempted round-the-world flight.[6]

Many Electras and their design descendants (the Model 12 Electra Junior and Model 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, although many smaller airlines and charter services continued to operate Electras into the 1970s.[6]

Electras were popular as private planes for royalty in Asia and Europe. In India, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir and the Maharaja of Jodhpur both purchased them for their personal use in 1937.[7]


Lockheed Y1C-36
Lockheed Y1C-37
Lockheed XC-35

The Electra was produced in several variants, for both civilian and military customers. Lockheed built a total of 149 Electras.

Electra 10-A
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior SB, 450 hp (336 kW) each; 101 produced.
Electra 10-B
Powered by Wright R-975-E3 Whirlwind, 440 hp (328 kW) each; 18 produced
Electra 10-C
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1340 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 Wasp S3H1, 600 hp (447 kW) each; 15 produced. The version used by Amelia Earhart.
  • Five impressed by the U.S. Army Air Forces as C-36B, redesignated as UC-36B in 1943.

Main article: Lockheed XC-35

Experimental pressurized research model powered by turbocharged Pratt & Whitney XR-1340-43, 550 hp (410 kW) each. The one production model was tested for the War Department by Lieutenant Benjamin S. Kelsey. For this work, the Army Air Corps was awarded the 1937 Collier Trophy.[8]
Lockheed KXL1
A single Lockheed Model 10 Electra supplied to the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service for evaluation.


Lockheed 10A restored in wartime RCAF markings
Lockheed Electra 10A in Royal Air Force service
U.S. Navy XR2O-1

Civil operators

 New Zealand
 United Kingdom
 United States

Military operators

 United Kingdom
 United States

Surviving aircraft

Electra 10A "CF-TCC" in Trans-Canada Air Lines livery at the Western Canada Aviation Museum
Lockheed Electra at the Science Museum (London)

Specifications (Electra 10A)

3-view drawing of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra
3-view drawing of the Lockheed Model 10 Electra

Data from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1937.[41]

General characteristics


210 mph (182 kn; 338 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
185 mph (161 kn; 298 km/h) at 5,000 ft (1,524 m)
195 mph (169 kn; 314 km/h) at 9,600 ft (2,926 m)

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

Related lists



  1. ^ "Lloyd Stearman". National Aviation Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  2. ^ Phillips, Edward H (2006). Stearman Aircraft: A Detailed History. Specialty PressPub & Wholesalers. p. 26.
  3. ^ Gunston 1998, p. 8.
  4. ^ Francillon 1982, pp. 117–118.
  5. ^ "Mud Guards on Plane Wheels Protect Landing Gear." Popular Mechanics, April 1935, p. 523, (bottom-right).
  6. ^ a b c Winchester 2004, p. 188.
  7. ^ Straits Times, 30 December 1937, Page 10.
  8. ^ "New Plane Ready For Stratosphere Test Flights." Popular Mechanics, August 1937.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Francillon 1982, p. 125.
  10. ^ Bridgman 1948, p. 24b.
  11. ^ Bridgman 1948, p. 30b.
  12. ^ a b c Francillon 1982, p. 124.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Francillon 1982, p. 122.
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  16. ^ "Lockheed Model 10-E Electra". The Museum of Flight. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  17. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N72GT]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Airframe Dossier - Lockheed L-10 Electra, c/n 1026, c/r N38BB". Aerial Visuals. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
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  20. ^ "FAA REGISTRY [N1602D]". Federal Aviation Administration. U.S. Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  21. ^ Cronkleton, Robert A. (21 August 2016). "Plane similar to Amelia Earhart's aircraft to arrive Monday in Atchison, Kan". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Original Sister-Ship to Earhart's Plane to Make Final Journey Home to Atchison, Kansas, Birthplace of Amelia Earhart". AviationPros. 15 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Lockheed 10-A 'Electra'". New England Air Museum. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
  24. ^ "Visit". New England Air Museum. Archived from the original on 25 September 2010. Retrieved 22 October 2017.
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  41. ^ Grey, C.G.; Bridgman, Leonard, eds. (1937). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1937. London: Sampson Low, Marston & company, ltd. pp. 307c–308c.
  42. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.


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