The Lockheed Electra
actually refers to two completely different aircraft
, which I will deal with separately below.
LOCKHEED L-10 ELECTRA
The L-10 was Lockheed's first foray into metal aircraft production, and was built as a contemporary of the Ford Trimotor. It made its first flight in 1934, and became famous as the aircraft in which Amelia Earhart disappeared in 1937. While many Electras were impressed into the military during World War II (as the C-36), they started to disappear after the end of the war, when they were long obsolete. Many variations on the L-10 were built, but the stock aircraft followed these specs:
Engines: Two Wasp piston engines, rated for 400 hp
Cruise Speed: 195 mph (310 kph)
Ceiling: 19,400 ft (5,900 m)
Range: 750 mi (1,200 km)
LOCKHEED L-188 ELECTRA
The second model of Electra first flew in 1957, and was the first major turboprop transport built in the United States. It delivered performance only slightly inferior to that of a full jet aircraft, at a lower operating cost. Unfortunately, the early Electras suffered from a series of catastrophic crashes where their overpowered engines tore their wings off in flight, forcing a redesign in the early 1960's.
Almost every airline in the US flew Electras, but the only European airline to order the type was KLM: Britain's airlines were using the Vickers Viscount. The Electras flew in commercial service until the mid-1970's, when many were sold to the United States Navy for use as P-3 Orion anti-submarine aircraft. Others were retired into air cargo use. A total of 144 L-188's were built.
Passengers: 99 to 127
Engines: Four Allison turboprop engines, rated for 3,750 hp
Cruise Speed: 390 mph (620 kph)
Ceiling: 28,400 ft (9,500 m)
Range: 2,200 mi (3,500 km)