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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 was a passenger transport aircraft of the World War II era.

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, designed 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, with another two prototypes being converted from Model 14s, and the first Model 18 built from new flying on February 2, 1940.[4]

A total of 625 Lodestars of all variants were built.

Operational history

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) 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 bought 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 even converted to tricycle undercarriage.

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.


Around 10-15 are still airworthy in the USA alone.[citation needed] An example of a Lodestar converted for commercial use exists at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston, Texas. A lodestar Cn2026 ZS-ASN of South African Airways is preserved and on display at the South African Airways Museum Rand Airport Johannesburg, South Africa.

  • New Zealand:
    • Lockheed Lodestar c/n 2020. 1939 United Airlines, USAAF 1941 BOAC, Spanish Airforce, US civil market as 1954 N9933F, converted for Agricultural topdressing, registered to Fieldair 1957. to Museum of Transport and Technology 1970.
    • Lockheed Lodestar c/n 2152. USAAF, RAF, Spanish Airforce,US civil market as N9930F 1955, Fieldair 1957 as ZK-BUV. Gate Guardian Gisborne from 1973. Removed 1998 and now with the Gisborne Aviation Society.
  • USA
    • Lodestar cn 18-2274 is located at Hampton Roads Executive Airport VA USA [9][10]


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.[11]
One impressed Model 18-07 with two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 engines.[11]
Thirteen impressed Model 18-40s with two Wright 1820-97 engines.[11]
Twelve impressed Model 18-07.[11]
Seven impressed Model 18-08.[11]
Two Model 18-40s impressed in 1943.[11]
As Model 18-14 powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53 engines.[11]
Allocated for impressed aircraft, not used.[11]
Based on Model 18-08 fitted for trooping; seven aircraft built.[11]
Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines; three aircraft converted.[11]
Repowered C-57C with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines; one aircraft converted.[11]
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.[11]
One C-60A fitted with experimental de-icing equipment.[11]
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.[11]
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.[11]
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.[11]
Navy version of the C-60A for the US Marine Corps, equipped with 18 paratroop seats; 35 built.[11]



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

Civil operators

  • Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) (two, operated 1952–1953)
  • SABENA (mainly in Africa)
  • Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB)
  • Linhas Aéreas Wright
  • NAB – Navegação Aérea Brasileira
  • Panair do Brasil (6 Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • SAVAG (Sociedade Anônima Viação Aérea Gaúcha) (two Model 18-10s bought from Panair do Brasil)
  • Transportes Aéreos Universal
  • Viação Aérea Bahiana
  • Trans-Canada Air Lines (12 Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • Yukon Southern Air Transport (Two Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • Canadian Pacific Air Lines (purchased Yukon Southern Air Transport in 1941)
  • Línea Aérea Nacional (LAN) (1943–1953)
  • CINTA Chilean Airlines (1953–1959)
  • Karhumäki Airways
  • Air Afrique (the prewar airline, unrelated to the postwar airline of the same name) (Five Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
  • Air France (Three Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
  • Aero Africaine (part of Société Africaine des Transports Tropicaux (SATT), based in Algeria)
  • TACA Airways System
 Kenya,  Tanganyika, and  Uganda
  • East African Airways
 New Zealand
  • Union Airways of New Zealand (1945–1947)
  • National Airways Corporation (post 1947)
  • Aero Portuguesa
  • DETA Mozambique Airways (serving Portugal's colony of Mozambique)
 South Africa
  • South African Airways (21 Model 18-08s delivered new[1])
  • Commercial Air Services operated two aircraft.
 Trinidad and Tobago
  • British West Indian Airways
 United Kingdom
  • BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) (Nine Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
 United States
  • Continental Air Lines (Five Model 18-08s delivered new[1])
  • Mid-Continent Airlines (Four Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
  • National Airlines (Three Model 18-50s delivered new[1])
  • Pan American Airways (Alaska Division only) (Six Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • United Air Lines (Four Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • Inland Air Lines (One Model 18-08 delivered new[1])
  • Western Air Lines (purchased Inland Air Lines in 1944 and operated it as a separate division)
  • Alaska Star Airlines (renamed to Alaska Airlines in 1944) (one Model 18-56)
  • Caribbean-Atlantic Airlines (in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Línea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV) (One Model 18-10 delivered new[1])

Military operators

 New Zealand
 South Africa
 United Kingdom
 United States

Accidents and incidents

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.[12]

Between 1941-1944, the Panair do Brasil airline suffered 4 accidents involving the Lodestar which resulted in a total of 57 fatalities.[13][13][14][15][16][17][18][19]

Specifications (C-60A-5)

Data from Lockheed Aircraft since 1913[20]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Capacity: 18 passengers
  • Length: 49 ft 10 in (15.19 m)
  • Wingspan: 65 ft 6 in (19.96 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 10 in (3.6 m)
  • Wing area: 551 ft² (51.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 12,500 lb (5,670 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 17,500 lb (7,938 kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 21,000 lb (9,825 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820-87 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each


  • 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


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 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. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". January 1954. p. 40. 
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 Andrade 1979, pp. 77–78.
  12. Job, Macarthur. "Horror at Coolangatta." Flight Safety Australia, via, November–December 1999, p. 47. Retrieved: December 5, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pereira, Aldo (1987) (in Portuguese). Breve História da Aviação Comercial Brasileira. Rio de Janeiro: Europa. p. 338. 
  14. Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Serra da Cantareira" (in Portuguese). O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 37–41. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2. 
  15. Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Uma desgraça nunca vem só" (in Portuguese). O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 49–53. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2. 
  16. "Accident description PP-PBI". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved August 17, 2011. 
  17. Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Alternativa derradeira" (in Portuguese). O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 66–68. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2. 
  18. "Accident description PP-PBH". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved June 9, 2011. 
  19. Germano da Silva, Carlos Ari César (2008). "Mais um Lodestar" (in Portuguese). O rastro da bruxa: história da aviação comercial brasileira no século XX através dos seus acidentes 1928-1996 (2 ed.). Porto Alegre: EDIPUCRS. pp. 69–72. ISBN 978-85-7430-760-2. 
  20. 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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