A classic of the 1940s
Lockheed produced a range of twin-piston engine small airliners from the 1930s based on the popular Model 10 Electra. While designed to compete with the Douglas DC-2 and Boeing 247, the seat cost per mile wasn’t so attractive to airlines so Lockheed continued development and released a series of models which steadily increased the passenger capacity from 10 to the ‘Model 14’ (seat) Super Electra. But in a further blow to sales, this coincided with the emergence of the Douglas DC-3. Not sitting back, Lockheed then extended the fuselage yet further to accommodate 18 passengers and thereby finally undercut the DC-3 in terms of seat cost and also simultaneously blitzed it in terms of range and service ceiling. They dubbed this variant the Model 18 Lodestar. As well as being used by airlines, it was utilised quite extensively by the US when it entered World War Two under several designations. Once hostilities ceased, most returned to airline service with a few to VIP transport and even the Smokejumper aerial firefighter program.