The Lockheed L-188 Electra was a medium range airliner powered by four Allison 501-D13 turboprop engines. It first flew on 6 December 1957 and entered service with Eastern Airlines on 12 January 1959.
Most orders came from airlines in the United States, Australia and Netherlands. They were generally retired and sold on to smaller carriers by the end of the 1960s, having been replaced by the new short to medium haul jets like the Douglas DC-9 and Boeing 727.
Lockheed Electra Video
Following on from last weeks video on the Douglas DC-10, this week we head over to Burbank, California for a look at the Lockheed Electra. Below is a colour promotional film from Lockheed dating from 1960 and running for around 17 minutes.
In the beginning, some records set by the Electra are outlined, followed by excellent air to air shots of the Electra’s various airlines operators. Next, there is a segment on the production line.
The film covers the first flight, and then a world tour of the aircraft. What I enjoyed is how it specifically mentions the early vibration and noise issue in the cabin which was rectified by tilting the engines up by three degrees.
Also note that the aircraft doors slide up into the fuselage and that there are automatically deployed steps, both pretty unusual features at the time.
How About One More?
Another colour video from Lockheed was produced for the Electra, this one from 1959. It is much longer, running for a little over 30 minutes, but it delves much more deeply into the design. It is well worth a look!
What I really like about this one is how detailed it is, such as showing how Lockheed overcame a lot of the ground service issues compared to other aircraft.
Just 170 aircraft were produced between 1957 and 1961. There were five accidents causing fatalities within the first two years of airline service. Two accidents were due failures of the Allison provided engine mountings, ultimately causing the affected wing to detach from the aircraft.
Lockheed put into place LEAP which stands for “Lockheed Electra Action Program” and all aircraft were modified at company expense. This entailed strengthening the wings, engine mounts and nacelles. The issues were overcome and around ten or so aircraft remain in service today, primarily as aerial firefighting aircraft.
Have you ever flown on a Lockheed Electra? What did you think? Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
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Featured image via AussieAirliners.