Lockheed L-10 Electra

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L-10 Electra/C-36

Amelia Earhart’s Electra 10E


Utility aircraft



Designed by

Hall Hibbard

First flight

February 23, 1934



Number built



Electra Junior Super Electra

The Lockheed L-10 Electra was a twin-engine, all-metal monoplane airliner developed by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation in the 1930s to compete with the Boeing 247 and Douglas DC-2

Design and development

The Electra was Lockheed’s first all-metal and twin-engine design by Hall Hibbard. (However, some of Lockheed’s wooden designs, such as the Orion had been built by Detroit Aircraft Corporation with metal fuselages.) The name Electra came from a star in the Pleiades. The prototype made its first flight on 23 February, 1934 with Marshall Headle at the controls.

Clarence "Kelly" Johnson testing an Electra model with single vertical tail in the University of Michigan’s wind tunnel.

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. 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 SR-71 Blackbird.

Operational history

In July 1937, aviatrix Amelia Earhart disappeared in a highly-modified Electra during an attempted round-the-world flight.

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, and it won them the Harmon Trophy.[citation needed] On the eastbound trip, they carried newsreels of the crash of the Hindenburg, and on the return trip, they brought photographs of the coronation of King George VI.

Many Electras and their design descendants (the L-12 Electra Junior and L-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.

Lockheed XC-35

Lockheed Y1C-36 / C-36 / UC-36

Lockheed Y1C-37 / C-37 / UC-37

Lockheed Electra 10A in Royal Air Force service

USAF Lockheed Y1C-36


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

Electra 10A
Powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-985-13, 450 hp. each; 101 produced.

  • Three built as Y1C-36 / C-36 / UC-36.
  • Fifteen impressed as C-36A, but later re-designated UC-36A.
  • Three built as XR2O-1 / R2O-1 for Secretary of the Navy.
  • One built as Y1C-37 / C-37 / UC-37 for Chief of National Guard Bureau
Electra 10B
Powered by Wright R-975-13, 440 hp (340 kW) each; 18 produced

  • Seven impressed as C-36C, but later re-designated UC-36C.
  • One built as XR3O-1 for use by the Secretary of Treasury, operated by the US Coast Guard.
Electra 10C
Powered by Pratt & Whitney 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-1340-49 radials of 600 hp (450 kW) each; 15 produced. The version used by Amelia Earhart.

  • Five impressed as C-36B, but later re-designated UC-36B
Experimental pressurized research model powered by supercharged Pratt & Whitney XR-1340-43, 550 hp (410 kW) each. The one production model was tested for the War Department by Lieutenant Ben Kelsey. For this work, the Army Air Corps was awarded the 1937 Collier Trophy. The XC-35 is currently in storage in the collection of the National Air and Space Museum.


Military operators


  • Argentine Air Force


  • Brazilian Air Force


  • Royal Canadian Air Force


  • Honduran Air Force


  • Spanish Air Force

United Kingdom

  • Royal Air Force

United States

  • US Army Air Corps
  • US Army Air Force
  • United States Navy
  • United States Coast Guard


  • Venezuelan Air Force Civil operators Australia
  • Guinea Airways, an Australian airline serving New Guinea.
  • MacRobertson Miller Airlines

Civil operators


  • Guinea Airways, an Australian airline serving New Guinea.
  • MacRobertson Miller Airlines


  • Panair do Brasil
  • Cruzeiro do Sul


  • Canadian Airways
  • Trans-Canada Air Lines


  • LAN Chile


  • Compania Cubana de Aviacion


  • Compania Mexicana de Aviacion


  • KLM Westindies

New Zealand

  • Union Airways of N.Z. Ltd


  • LOT Polish Airlines operated ten aircraft between 1936 and 1939.



United Kingdom

  • British Airways
  • Hanford

United States

  • Chicago and Southern Air Lines
  • Continental Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Eastern Airlines
  • Mid-Continent Airlines
  • National Airlines
  • Northeast Airlines
  • North Central Airlines
  • Northwest Airlines
  • Pan American (Alaska Division)


  • Linea Aeropostal


  • Aeroput


L-10A Electra “CF-TCC” in Trans-Canada Air Lines livery at the Western Canada Aviation Museum.

Canada is the home of two Model 10As. The first aircraft in the Air Canada (then called Trans-Canada Air Lines) fleet was an Electra L10A, "TCA." Two Electras were delivered to Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) in 1937. They were based in Winnipeg and used for pilot training. Trans-Canada Air Lines ordered three more for transcontinental service; "CF-TCC" was one of those three. These former TCA machines and other 10As were acquired by the RCAF during Second World War, and later sold to private operators.

  • TCA survived into the 1960s when Ann Pellegreno between June 7 and July 10, 1967 flew TCA on a round-the-world flight to commemorate Amelia Earhart’s last flight in 1937. The Canada Aviation Museum acquired this aircraft after the commemorative flight. Manufactured in 1937, the Museum example was the first new aircraft purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines and served with the company until transferred to the RCAF in 1939. Sold in 1941 to a private operator, it was flown until 1967 by various owners. Air Canada restored the aircraft in 1968 and donated it to the Museum.
  • TCC was another former Trans-Canada Air Lines original. CF-TCC was found in Florida by a vacationing Air Canada employee in the early 1980s. Arrangements were made for it to be brought back to Winnipeg where it was restored. It was flown across Canada in 1987 to commemorate Air Canada’s 50th Anniversary. Air Canada maintains the aircraft and uses it to promote the airline. The aircraft was placed on display at Expo 86 after recreating the original TCA cross-country flight in 1937 and continues to be displayed at air shows and conferences. In 2006, it was flown from Toronto to Washington DC for the annual "Airliners International" Show.[1] For most of the year, TCC resides at the Western Canada Aviation Museum where it is one of the feature aircraft displayed
  • A military version designated as UC-36A Electra (s/n 43-56638, civilian registration N4963C) is on display at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona
  • A military version designated as AC-35 Electra is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, Virginia
  • Two L10 Electras are also preserved in New Zealand’s Museum of Transport and Technology at Auckland.
  • Another Auckland-based Electra, owned by Kaipara Aviation Trust, is under restoration to flying condition.

Specifications (Electra 10A)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 38 ft 7 in (11.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 55 ft 0 in (16.8 m)
  • Height: 10 ft 1 in (3.1 m)
  • Wing area: 458 ft² (42.6 m²)
  • Empty weight: 6,454 lb (2,930 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 10,500 lb (4,760 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: lb (kg)
  • Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney R-985-13, 450 hp (340 kW) each


  • Maximum speed: 202 mph (325 km/h)
  • Range: 713 mi (1,150 km)
  • Service ceiling: 19,400 ft (5,910 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (300 m/min)
  • Wing loading: 22.9 lb/ft² (111.7 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 11.7 lb/hp (142 W/kg)

Related development

  • Lockheed L-12 Electra Junior
  • Lockheed L-14 Super Electra
  • Howard 500

Comparable aircraft

  • Beechcraft Model 18
  • Boeing 247
  • Douglas DC-2
  • Barkley-Grow T8P
  • Avro Anson
  • Airspeed Oxford
  • Caudron C.440



  • Francillon, René J. Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1987. ISBN 0-85177-835-6.

External links