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Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar

Model 18 Lodestar
C-56 / C-57 / C-60 / R5O
Role Passenger transport
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed
First flight September 21, 1939
Introduction March 30, 1940
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 625[1]
Developed from Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra
Variants Lockheed Ventura

The Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar is a passenger transport aircraft of the World War II era.


  • Design and development 1
  • Operational history 2
  • Variants 3
    • US Army Lodestars 3.1
    • US Navy Lodestars 3.2
  • Operators 4
    • Civil operators 4.1
    • Military operators 4.2
  • Accidents and incidents 5
  • Survivors 6
    • New Zealand 6.1
    • South Africa 6.2
    • United States 6.3
    • Uruguay 6.4
  • Specifications (C-60A-5) 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Design and development

Sales of the 10–14 passenger Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra, which first flew in 1937, had proved disappointing, despite the aircraft's excellent performance, as it was more expensive to operate than the larger Douglas DC-3, already in widespread use.[2] In order to improve the type's economics, Lockheed decided to stretch the aircraft's fuselage by 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m), allowing an extra two rows of seats to be fitted.[3]

The prototype for the revised airliner, designated Model 18 by Lockheed, was converted from the fourth Model 14, one of a batch which had been returned to the manufacturer by Northwest Airlines after a series of crashes. The modified aircraft first flew in this form on September 21, 1939, another two prototypes being converted from Model 14s, with the first newly built Model 18 flying on February 2, 1940.[4]

A total of 625 Lodestars of all variants were built.

Operational history

Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar over Houston, 1947 or 1948

The Lodestar received its Type certificate on March 30, 1940, allowing it to enter service with the first customer, Mid-Continent Airlines that month.[5] As hoped, the extra seats greatly improved the Model 18's economics, reducing its seat-mile costs to a similar level to that of the DC-3, while retaining superior performance. Despite this, sales to US domestic customers were relatively slow as most US airlines were already committed to the DC-3, with only 31 Lodestars going to US airlines.[6] Overseas sales were a little better, with 29 bought by the government of the Netherlands East Indies. South African Airways (21), New Zealand National Airways Corporation (13), Trans-Canada Air Lines (12) and BOAC (9) who were the biggest airline customers. Various Pratt & Whitney and Wright Cyclone powerplants were installed.

When the United States started to build up its military air strength in 1940–41, many American-operated Lodestars were impressed as the C-56. This was followed by the construction of many new-build Lodestars which were flown by the Army Air Force as the C-60 and U.S. Navy as the R5O. Lend-lease aircraft were used by the RNZAF as transports.

One was purchased in 1942 to serve as Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas' personal aircraft. This aircraft was specially designed for that purpose and had 11 seats.

Howard 250 Lodestar conversion fitted with tri-gear. At Opa Locka Airport near Miami in 1981

After the war many Lodestars were overhauled and 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.[7][8] A few of the latter were converted to tricycle landing gear.

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

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

A number of skydiving operations in the United States used Lodestars during the 1970s and 1980s.


Powered by two 875 hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G engines; 25 built plus two prototypes.[1]
Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 33 built.[1]
Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 39 built.[1]
Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S4C4-G engines; four built.[1]
Powered by two 1,200 hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G104A engines; 26 built.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G202A engines; 13 built.[1]

US Army Lodestars

Powered by 1,200 hp Wright 1820-89 engines, one Model 18-50 for evaluation.[9]
One impressed Model 18-07 with two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 engines.[9]
Thirteen impressed Model 18-40s with two Wright 1820-97 engines.[9]
Twelve impressed Model 18-07.[9]
Seven impressed Model 18-08.[9]
Two Model 18-40s impressed in 1943.[9]
As Model 18-14 powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53 engines.[9]
Allocated for impressed aircraft, not used.[9]
Based on Model 18-08 fitted for trooping; seven aircraft built.[9]
Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines; three aircraft converted.[9]
Repowered C-57C with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines; one aircraft converted.[9]
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.
Model 18-56 powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; 36 aircraft built, some transferred to RAF as Lodestar II.
As the C-60 but fitted out as a paratroop transport powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines; 325 aircraft built.[9]
One C-60A fitted with experimental de-icing equipment.[9]
Proposed 21-seat troop transport aircraft, never built.
Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; one aircraft built, 11-passenger interior for transfer to the Brazilian Air Force.[9]
Original designation for C-60C

US Navy Lodestars

One Model 18-07 acquired for evaluation powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines.[9]
Staff transport powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-97 engines; three aircraft built, two for the USN and one for the United States Coast Guard.
Navy version of the C-59 powered by 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 engines; one aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-34A engines. Originally 4-seater VIP transports; three aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Impressed. 7-seater staff transports; 12 aircraft built.
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 aircraft.[9]
Navy version of the C-60A for the US Marine Corps, equipped with 18 paratroop seats; 35 built.[9]


Not all New Zealand machines became topdressers: Union Airways of New Zealand converted several to airliners in 1945–46 and these were taken over by National Airways Corporation in 1947, as illustrated.

Civil operators

 Kenya,  Tanganyika, and  Uganda
 New Zealand
BOAC Lockheed 18, Ankara, ca. 1942
 Puerto Rico
 South Africa
 Trinidad and Tobago
 United Kingdom
  • BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) (Nine Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
 United States
National Air Lines Lockheed 18

Military operators

SAAF Lodestar 18 ambulance aircraft, at Catania, Sicily circa 1944
 New Zealand
 South Africa
Lockheed R5O-1, staff transport for the Secretary of the Navy. At San Francisco on August 4, 1941.
 United Kingdom
 United States

Accidents and incidents

Between 1941-1944, the Panair do Brasil airline suffered 4 accidents involving the Lodestar which resulted in a total of 57 fatalities.[10][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

In January 1943, Lockheed Lodestar Mk.II EW986,[17] c/n 2154, in the service of the Royal Air Force, overshot and crashed 3 km south of Heliopolis, Egypt. At least 12 crew members and passengers died in the crash.[17] A cause of the accident was not determined. Among those killed were Air Vice-Marshal Wilfred Ashton McClaughry, CB, DSO, MC, DFC and Lady Rosalinde Tedder née MacLardy, wife of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder, GCB.[17]

In 1949, a Lockheed Lodestar in airline service in Australia crashed immediately after takeoff. All 21 occupants died in the crash or the ensuing conflagration. The cause of the accident was determined to be that the center of gravity was behind the rear limit. It is also likely the elevator trim tab was set for landing rather than takeoff.[18]

On September 4, 1962, a Lockheed 18-56-24 Lodestar operated by the Ashland Oil and Refining Company crashed near Lake Milton, OH. The flight was in-route to Ashland Regional Airport (KDWU) from Buffalo Airport, NY. Eleven passengers and two crew-members were killed. Investigation determined the crash a result of a malfunction of the electric elevator trim tab, which caused the loss of the planes right wing during flight.[19]


New Zealand

South Africa

United States


  • Lodestar N69415 seized as a smuggler in the 1980s, currently in Museo Aeronáutico Jaime Meregalli, in Carrasco Airport near Montevideo.[25]

Specifications (C-60A-5)

Data from Lockheed Aircraft since 1913[26]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 266 mph (231 knots, 428 km/h) at 17,150 ft (5,230 m)
  • Cruise speed: 200 mph (174 knots, 322 km/h)
  • Range: 2,500 mi (2,174 nmi, 4,025 km)
  • Service ceiling: 25,400 ft (7,740 m)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 6.6 minutes


See also

Related development
Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Francillon 1982, pp. 185–194, 488–489.
  2. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 135.
  3. ^ Francillon 1982, pp. 185–186.
  4. ^ Francillon 1982, pp. 139, 186.
  5. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 186.
  6. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 187.
  7. ^ Taylor 1965, p. 244.
  8. ^ Flying Magazine: 40. January 1954. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Andrade 1979, pp. 77–78.
  10. ^ a b Pereira, Aldo (1987). Breve História da Aviação Comercial Brasileira (in Portuguese). Rio de Janeiro: Europa. p. 338. 
  11. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Serra da Cantareira". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 37–41.  
  12. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Uma desgraça nunca vem só". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 49–53.  
  13. ^ "Accident description PP-PBI". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Alternativa derradeira". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 66–68.  
  15. ^ "Accident description PP-PBH". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Mais um Lodestar". O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (in Portuguese) (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 69–72.  
  17. ^ a b c on EW986Record for
  18. ^ Job, Macarthur. "Horror at Coolangatta." Flight Safety Australia, via, November–December 1999, p. 47. Retrieved: December 5, 2011.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Lockheed C-60A Lodestar" National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 5 September 2015.
  23. ^ "Our Collection." Castle Air Museum. Retrieved: 5 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Travis Heritage Center." Travis Air Force Base. Retrieved: 5 September 2015.
  25. ^ New Uruguay Aviation Museum. Retrieved: 2 May 2015.
  26. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 194.
  • Andrade, John. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Hersham, Surrey, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Francillon, René J. Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. London: Putnam & Company, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30329-6.
  • Stanaway, John C. Vega Ventura: The Operational Story of Lockheed's Lucky Star. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7643-0087-3.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965-66. London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1965.

External links

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