The Lockheed 10 Electra airliner was an important type in aviation history, and the first aircraft the renowned designer Kelly Johnson worked on for the company where he was to make his name. Of the 149 Electras built, only a few Model 10s survive, and even fewer are, or close to, airworthy.
The Electra-fying team managed to locate a rare, available Lockheed Electra 10A in the United States in late 2021. Project leader of the Electra-fying team, Evan Cluff said: “This is a dream in the making.” Electra-fying is a project of Experience History Foundation, itself a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The group is on a mission to get it restored and made airworthy. “We chose to make this our first project as a way to share our dream with the world.” added Evan, and notes that “As of right now this is the only Lockheed Electra 10 in the United States that is not in a museum, and therefore can be made airworthy.”
This aircraft, construction number, 1026, was delivered brand new to Braniff Air Lines in 1935 and was registered NC14937. Powered by two 450 hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engines, it was given the 10A designation. The new, fast, all metal, Electra was critical to the development of the young airline, but their success meant Braniff soon moved onto larger types, so the Lockheed was sold to Boston-Maine Airways.
It later passed through a number of owners. Registered as N4826V, serving Capitol Air Service in Manhattan, KS, then in 1964, the Electra was sold to Skyway Aviation and the following year to Provincetown-Boston Airlines (PBA, which eventually became Naples Airlines & Provincetown-Boston Airlines) where it was registered first as N14262 and eventually N38BB, and which colors it still wears. In service, it was also modified with additional rear windows and a downwards-opening airstair replacing the passenger door. For many years, the Lockheed 10A was on static display at the Oakland Aviation Museum, CA, but was more recently stored off-site, in private hands. It is currently stored, still in California, with an additional hangar or so full of brand-new spare parts.
The Electra-Fying team is working on an educational program that will be used in connection with the aircraft. The program will aim to teach students/public about the Lockheed Electra and its place in history including its effect on air travel, the airline/aviation industry, and the 1930s (also known as “the golden age of aviation.”
Furthermore, the group plans to focus its educational efforts on the history of Amelia Earhart and her connection with the Electra. Spread Amelia’s message is one of Electra-Fying main goals, the famous aviatrix was known for two particular visions of life which the group plans to promote:
You don’t have to live the life society expects you to live
Through hard work and determination, you can achieve your dreams
Electra-Fying has established a connection with AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, MN, who have agreed to carry out the restoration, and Landstar (a hauling company) has agreed to transport the aircraft from California to Minnesota.
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I was attending Kansas State University in the late 1970s when this airplane was serving Capitol. Occasionally, they would fly the airplane on charter and the sound of the Pratts was intoxicating to a young lover of old airplanes. Then one day it disappeared. Glad to see it is still around.
For the new owners, I have a few black and white (Tri-X) negatives of this airplane when it sat outside at Manhattan. Give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an interest.
This airplane graced the ramp at Manhattan Regional Airport when it served Capitol Airlines in the late seventies. They used it for charter and as a backup for their deHavilland Twin Otter operations.
As a young student at nearby Kansas State University it was a thrill to see the old Pratts wind up in clouds of smoke.
I have a few 35 mm negative photos (black and white Plus-X) of the airplane at Manhattan. If the new owners of the airplane want them, give me a shout at email@example.com.
I discovered this plane on my 1st trip to Anchorage, Alaska in 1984 and was surprised to see it was still wearing the PBA titles. I think it was still there on my next trip in 1985 but not positive but it had disappeared I think after that & never knew where it went. I’m surprised that’s not listed in it’s history. I’m sure glad to see it’s being saved and restored. I think I have some photos of it on the Ramp at ANC back in 1984 or ’85. Great article & glad you published it.