The Lockheed company faced the American airliner revolution at their own pace. At first they tried with their small Model 10 Electra to find a niche not in direct competition with the Boeing 247 and the peerless DC-2/3. With their “appetite opened”, they evolved the 10 design into the bigger Model 14 Super Electra, it was not enough -good as it was, the 14 operated in an uneconomical limbo. First flown in Sept. 1939, The Lodestar was born to rectify that. The solution was relatively easy; lengthen the fuselage of the 14 to allow 18 passenger instead of the Super Electra’s 10–14 passengers. The result was a quite hot airliner with a comparable cost per available seat mile (CASM) to that of the DC-3.
Regretably for the Lockheed company the market was saturated by DC-3’s and sales were quite parsimonious. Anyway, WW2 changed the rules of the game. The civilian Lodestars were soon impressed into service and specific military models were built both for cargo and for more warlike duties (The Ventura).
This shiny example is one of those military transport Lodestars: Mid America Flight Museum’s C-60A. (Photo: Mid America Flight Museum)