Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar

Model 18 Lodestar
C-56 / C-57 / C-60 / R5O
C-60A Lodestar
Role Passenger transport
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed
First flight September 21, 1939
Introduction March 30, 1940
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 625[1]
Developed from Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra
Variants Lockheed Ventura

The Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar was a passenger transport aircraft of the World War II era.


Design and development

The prototype of the Lockheed Model 18, which first flew in 1939, was constructed from one of a batch of Lockheed Model 14 Super Electras which had been returned to the manufacturer by Northwest Airlines after a series of crashes of Model 14s. The fuselage was lengthened by 5 ft (1.5 m), enabling the fitting of two more rows of seats and hopefully making the aircraft more economical to operate. However, most US airlines were by then committed to purchasing the Douglas DC-3, and Lockheed found the Lodestar difficult to sell at home.

A total of 625 Lodestars of all variants were built.

Operational history

Overseas sales were a little better, with 29 bought by the government of the Netherlands East Indies. South African Airways (21), Trans-Canada Air Lines (12) and BOAC (9) were the biggest airline customers. Various Pratt & Whitney and Wright Cyclone powerplants were installed.

When the United States started to build up its military air strength in 1940–41, American operated, plus many new-build Lodestars were flown by the Army Air Force and U.S. Navy under various designations. Lend-lease aircraft were used by the RNZAF as transports.

After the war Lodestars returned to civilian service, mostly as executive transports such as Dallas Aero Service's DAS Dalaero conversion, Bill Lear's Learstar (produced by PacAero), and Howard Aero's Howard 250.[2] A few of the latter were even converted to tricycle undercarriage.

Many of the New Zealand aircraft were later used for aerial topdressing.

A single Lodestar served with the Israeli Air Force during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

A number of skydiving operations in the United States used Lodestars during the 1970s and 1980s.


Around 10-15 are still airworthy in the USA alone.[citation needed] An example of a Lodestar converted for commercial use exists at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston, Texas.


Powered by two 875hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G engines; 25 built plus two prototypes.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 33 built.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 39 built.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S4C4-G engines; four built.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G104A engines; 26 built.[1]
Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G202A engines; 13 built.[1]

US Army Lodestars

Powered by 1200hp Wright 1820-89 engines, one Model 18-50 for evaluation.[3]
One impressed Model 18-07 with two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 engines.[3]
Thirteen impressed Model 18-40s with two Wright 1820-97 engines.[3]
Twelve impressed Model 18-07.[3]
Seven impressed Model 18-08.[3]
Two Model 18-40s impressed in 1943.[3]
As Model 18-14 powered by two 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53 engines.[3]
Allocated for impressed aircraft, not used.[3]
Based on Model 18-08 fitted for trooping; seven aircraft built.[3]
Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines; three aircraft converted.[3]
Repowered C-57C with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines; one aircraft converted.[3]
Based on Model 18-07 powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 Hornet engines; 10 aircraft built, transferred to Royal Air Force as Lodestar IA.
Model 18-56 powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; 36 aircraft built, some transferred to RAF as Lodestar II.
As the C-60 but fitted out as a paratroop transport powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines; 325 aircraft built.[3]
One C-60A fitted with experimental de-icing equipment.[3]
Proposed 21-seat troop transport aircraft, never built.
Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; one aircraft built, 11-passenger interior for transfer to the Brazilian Air Force.[3]
Original designation for C-60C

US Navy Lodestars

One Model 18-07 acquired for evaluation powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines.[3]
Staff transport powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-97 engines; three aircraft built, two for the USN and one for the United States Coast Guard.
Navy version of the C-59 powered by 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 engines; one aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-34A engines. Originally 4-seater VIP transports; three aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Impressed. 7-seater staff transports; 12 aircraft built.
Navy version of the C-60 powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Similar to the R5O-4 but had 14-seats; 38 aircraft built and three former NEIAF aircraft.[3]
Navy version of the C-60A for the US Marine Corps, equipped with 18 paratroop seats; 35 built.[3]


Not all New Zealand machines ended topdressing: Union Airways of New Zealand converted several as airliners in 1945–46 and these were taken over by National Airways Corporation in 1947, as illustrated.

Civil operators

  • Linhas Aéreas Wright
  • NAB – Navegação Aérea Brasileira
  • Panair do Brasil (6 Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • SAVAG (Sociedade Anônima Viação Aérea Gaúcha) (2 Model 18-10s bought from Panair do Brasil)
  • Transportes Aéreos Universal
  • Viação Aérea Bahiana
  • Trans-Canada Air Lines (12 Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • Yukon Southern Air Transport (Two Model 18-10s delivered new[1])
  • Canadian Pacific Air Lines (purchased Yukon Southern Air Transport in 1941)
  • Karhumäki Airways
  • Air Afrique (the prewar airline, unrelated to the postwar airline of the same name) (Five Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
  • Air France (Three Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
  • Aero Africaine (part of Société Africaine des Transports Tropicaux (SATT), based in Algeria)
  • TACA Airways System
 Kenya,  Tanganyika, and  Uganda
 New Zealand
 South Africa
 Trinidad and Tobago
  • British West Indian Airways
 United Kingdom
  • BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) (Nine Model 18-07s delivered new[1])
 United States
  • Línea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV) (One Model 18-10 delivered new[1])

Military operators

  • Armed Forces of Haiti
  • Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force (20 Model 18-40s and nine Model 18-50s delivered[1])
 New Zealand
  • Norwegian Air Force (Three delivered to the Norwegian government in exile[1])
 South Africa
 United Kingdom
 United States

Specifications (C-60A-5)

Data from Lockheed Aircraft since 1913[4]

General characteristics


  • Maximum speed: 266 mph (231 knots, 428 km/h) at 17,150 ft (5,230 m)
  • Cruise speed: 200 mph (174 knots, 322 km/h)
  • Range: 2,500 mi (2,174 nmi, 4,025 km)
  • Service ceiling: 25,400 ft (7,740 m)
  • Climb to 10,000 ft (3,050 m): 6.6 minutes



See also

Related development

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Francillon 1982, pp. 185–194, 488–489.
  2. ^ Taylor 1965, p. 244.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Andrade 1979, pp. 77–78.
  4. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 194.
  • Andrade, John. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Hersham, Surrey, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Francillon, René J. Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. London: Putnam & Company, 1982. ISBN 0-370-30329-6.
  • Stanaway, John C. Vega Ventura: The Operational Story of Lockheed's Lucky Star. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-7643-0087-3.
  • Taylor, John W. R. Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965-66. London: Sampson Low, Marston, 1965.

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