Electra closing in on first post-restoration flight

The Lockheed 12A Electra which provided Britain with invaluable reconnaissance photographs in the months leading up to World War Two will soon make its first flight in the UK for more than 80 years

The Electra, which was flown on clandestine aerial reconnaissance missions and would eventually be the last British-registered aircraft to leave Germany before World War Two began, has conducted its first taxi run since being imported into the UK in May 2022.

The Electra taxying on November 25 this year
The Electra taxying on November 25 this year KEY-MARTIN NEEDHAM

Prior to arriving in the UK in May, the 1936-built propliner had last crossed the Atlantic eastwards in May 1939 on the SS Aquitania. Later that same month, it was registered to British Airways Ltd as G-AFTL to mask its true purpose. Two additional 70-gallon fuel tanks increased the aircraft’s range to 1,600 miles and Heston-based Airwork installed hatches under the rear fuselage behind which a trio of F24 cameras, which could be activated by a button under the pilot’s seat, were fitted.

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