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  Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Lockheed 18 Lodestar
1954 Lockheed 18 Lodestar - N41CW (sn 6124)
Photo taken Oct. 29, 2011
Camarillo, CA - USA (CMA / KCMA)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

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

Design and development

1942 Howard 250 (Lockheed 18-56) - N250JR (sn 2232)
U.S. Navy markings
Photo taken March 25, 2015
Meadows Field Airport - Bakersfield, CA - USA (BFL / KBFL)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler
Sales of the 10–14 passenger Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra, which first flew in 1937, had proved disappointing, despite the aircraft's excellent performance, as it was more expensive to operate than the larger Douglas DC-3, already in widespread use. In order to improve the type's economics, Lockheed decided to stretch the aircraft's fuselage by 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m), allowing an extra two rows of seats to be fitted.

The prototype for the revised airliner, designated Model 18 by Lockheed, was converted from the fourth Model 14, one of a batch which had been returned to the manufacturer by Northwest Airlines after a series of crashes. The modified aircraft first flew in this form on September 21, 1939, another two prototypes being converted from Model 14s, with the first newly built Model 18 flying on February 2, 1940.

A total of 625 Lodestars of all variants were built.

Operational history

The Lodestar received its Type certificate on March 30, 1940, allowing it to enter service with the first customer, Mid-Continent Airlines that month. As hoped, the extra seats greatly improved the Model 18's economics, reducing its seat-mile costs to a similar level to that of the DC-3, while retaining superior performance. Despite this, sales to US domestic customers were relatively slow as most US airlines were already committed to the DC-3, with only 31 Lodestars going to US airlines. Overseas sales were a little better, with 29 bought by the government of the Netherlands East Indies. South African Airways (21), New Zealand National Airways Corporation (13), Trans-Canada Air Lines (12) and BOAC (9) who 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, many American-operated Lodestars were impressed as the C-56. This was followed by the construction of many new-build Lodestars which were flown by the Army Air Force as the C-60 and U.S. Navy as the R5O. Lend-lease aircraft were used by the RNZAF as transports.

One was purchased in 1942 to serve as Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas' personal aircraft. This aircraft was specially designed for that purpose and had 11 seats.

After the war many Lodestars were overhauled and 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. A few of the latter were converted to tricycle landing gear.

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.


  • 18-07
    Powered by two 875 hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G engines; 25 built plus two prototypes.
  • 18-08
    Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 33 built.
  • 18-10
    Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S1C3-G engines; 39 built.
  • 18-14
    Powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S4C4-G engines; four built.
  • 18-40
    Powered by two 1,200 hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G104A engines; 26 built.
  • 18-50
    Powered by two 1200hp Wright Cyclone G-1820-G202A engines; 13 built.

US Army Lodestars

  • C-56
    Powered by 1,200 hp Wright 1820-89 engines, one Model 18-50 for evaluation.
  • C-56A
    One impressed Model 18-07 with two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 engines.
  • C-56B
    Thirteen impressed Model 18-40s with two Wright 1820-97 engines.
  • C-56C
    Twelve impressed Model 18-07.
  • C-56D
    Seven impressed Model 18-08.
  • C-56E
    Two Model 18-40s impressed in 1943.
  • C-57
    As Model 18-14 powered by two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-53 engines.
  • C-57A
    Allocated for impressed aircraft, not used.
  • C-57B
    Based on Model 18-08 fitted for trooping; seven aircraft built.
  • C-57C
    Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines; three aircraft converted.
  • C-57D
    Repowered C-57C with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines; one aircraft converted.
  • C-59
    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.
  • C-60
    Model 18-56 powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; 36 aircraft built, some transferred to RAF as Lodestar II.
  • C-60A
    As the C-60 but fitted out as a paratroop transport powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines; 325 aircraft built.
  • XC-60B
    One C-60A fitted with experimental de-icing equipment.
  • C-60C
    Proposed 21-seat troop transport aircraft, never built.
  • C-66
    Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines; one aircraft built, 11-passenger interior for transfer to the Brazilian Air Force.
  • C-104
    Original designation for C-60C

US Navy Lodestars

  • XR5O-1
    One Model 18-07 acquired for evaluation powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines.
  • R5O-1
    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.
  • R5O-2
    Navy version of the C-59 powered by 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 engines; one aircraft built.
  • R5O-3
    Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-34A engines. Originally 4-seater VIP transports; three aircraft built.
  • R5O-4
    Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Impressed. 7-seater staff transports; 12 aircraft built.
  • R5O-5
    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.
  • R5O-6
    Navy version of the C-60A for the US Marine Corps, equipped with 18 paratroop seats; 35 built.


Civil operators

  • Australia
    Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) (two, operated 1952–1953)
  • Belgium
    SABENA (mainly in Africa)
  • Bolivia
    Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano (LAB)
  • Brazil
    Linhas Aéreas Wright
    NAB – Navegação Aérea Brasileira
    Panair do Brasil (6 Model 18-10s delivered new)
    SAVAG (Sociedade Anônima Viação Aérea Gaúcha) (two Model 18-10s bought from Panair do Brasil)
    Transportes Aéreos Universal
    Viação Aérea Bahiana
  • Canada
    Trans-Canada Air Lines (12 Model 18-10s delivered new)
    Yukon Southern Air Transport (Two Model 18-10s delivered new)
    Canadian Pacific Air Lines (purchased Yukon Southern Air Transport in 1941)
  • Chile
    Línea Aérea Nacional (LAN) (1943–1953)
    CINTA Chilean Airlines (1953–1959)
  • Finland
    Karhumäki Airways
  • France
    Air Afrique (the prewar airline, unrelated to the postwar airline of the same name) (Five Model 18-07s delivered new)
    Air France (Three Model 18-07s delivered new)
    Aero Africaine (part of Société Africaine des Transports Tropicaux (SATT), based in Algeria)
  • Honduras
    TACA Airways System
  • Kenya, Tanganyika, and Uganda
    East African Airways
  • New Zealand
    Union Airways of New Zealand (1945–1947)
    National Airways Corporation (post 1947)
  • Portugal
    Aero Portuguesa
    DETA Mozambique Airways (serving Portugal's colony of Mozambique)
  • Puerto Rico
    Caribbean-Atlantic Airlines
  • South Africa
    South African Airways (21 Model 18-08s delivered new)
    Commercial Air Services operated two aircraft.
  • Sweden
    Linjeflyg (1957–1960)
  • Trinidad and Tobago
    British West Indian Airways
  • United Kingdom
    BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) (Nine Model 18-07s delivered new)
  • United States
    Continental Air Lines (Five Model 18-08s delivered new)
    Mid-Continent Airlines (Four Model 18-07s delivered new)
    National Airlines (Three Model 18-50s delivered new)
    Pan American Airways (Alaska Division only) (Six Model 18-10s delivered new)
    United Air Lines (Four Model 18-10s delivered new)
    Inland Air Lines (One Model 18-08 delivered new)
    Western Air Lines (purchased Inland Air Lines in 1944 and operated it as a separate division)
    Alaska Star Airlines (renamed to Alaska Airlines in 1944) (one Model 18-56)
  • Venezuela
    Línea Aeropostal Venezolana (LAV) (One Model 18-10 delivered new)

Military operators

  • Australia
    Royal Australian Air Force
  • Brazil
    Brazilian Air Force (Seven × C-60A and one C-66)
  • Canada
    Royal Canadian Air Force (18 × C-60A)
    No. 164 Squadron RCAF
    No. 165 Squadron RCAF
  • Colombia
    Colombian Air Force (C-60 as VIP transport)
  • Haiti
    Armed Forces of Haiti
  • Israel
    Israeli Air Force
  • Mexico
    Mexican Air Force
  • Netherlands
    Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force (20 Model 18-40s and nine Model 18-50s delivered)
  • New Zealand
    Royal New Zealand Air Force
    No. 40 Squadron RNZAF
    No. 41 Squadron RNZAF
  • Norway
    Norwegian Air Force (Three delivered to the Norwegian government in exile)
  • South Africa
    South African Air Force
  • United Kingdom
    Royal Air Force
  • United States
    United States Army Air Corps
    United States Navy
    United States Marine Corps
    United States Coast Guard

Accidents and incidents

Between 1941-1944, the Panair do Brasil airline suffered 4 accidents involving the Lodestar which resulted in a total of 57 fatalities.

In January 1943, Lockheed Lodestar Mk.II EW986, c/n 2154, in the service of the Royal Air Force, overshot and crashed 3 km south of Heliopolis, Egypt. At least 12 crew members and passengers died in the crash. A cause of the accident was not determined. Among those killed were Air Vice-Marshal Wilfred Ashton McClaughry, CB, DSO, MC, DFC and Lady Rosalinde Tedder née MacLardy, wife of Marshal of the Royal Air Force Arthur William Tedder, 1st Baron Tedder, GCB.

In 1949, a Lockheed Lodestar in airline service in Australia crashed immediately after takeoff. All 21 occupants died in the crash or the ensuing conflagration. The cause of the accident was determined to be that the center of gravity was behind the rear limit. It is also likely the elevator trim tab was set for landing rather than takeoff.

On September 4, 1962, a Lockheed 18-56-24 Lodestar operated by the Ashland Oil and Refining Company crashed near Lake Milton, Ohio. The flight was in-route to Ashland Regional Airport (KDWU) from Buffalo Airport, NY. Eleven passengers and two crew-members were killed. Investigation determined the crash a result of a malfunction of the electric elevator trim tab, which caused the loss of the plane's right wing during flight.



  • Lockheed Lodestar located at University of the Fraser Valley Abbotsford airport campus. - under restoration by aircraft structures students Nov 26 2015 - ongoing.Will not fly.

New Zealand

  • Lockheed Lodestar c/n 2020. 1939 United Airlines, USAAF 1941 BOAC, Spanish Air Force, US civil market as 1954 N9933F, converted for Agricultural topdressing, registered to Fieldair 1957. To Museum of Transport and Technology in 1970.
  • Lockheed Lodestar c/n 2152. USAAF, RAF, Spanish Air Force, US civil market as N9930F 1955, Fieldair 1957 as ZK-BUV. Gate Guardian Gisborne from 1973. Removed 1998 and now with the Gisborne Aviation Society.

South Africa

  • A lodestar c/n 2026 ZS-ASN of South African Airways is preserved and on display at the South African Airways Museum Rand Airport Johannesburg, South Africa.

United States

  • Lodestar c/n 18-2274 is located at Hampton Roads Executive Airport, VA
  • Lodestar S/N 43-16445 is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force near Dayton, Ohio.
  • N31G (c/n 2302), an example of a Lodestar converted for commercial use, resides at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum in Houston, Texas.
  • A Lodestar is on display at the Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California
  • A Lodestar is on display at the Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center, Travis Air Force Base, California


  • Lodestar N69415 seized as a smuggler in the 1980s, currently in Museo Aeronáutico Jaime Meregalli, in Carrasco Airport near Montevideo.

Specifications (C-60A-5)

General characteristics

Crew: 3
Capacity: 18 passengers
Length: 49 ft 10 in (15.19 m)
Wingspan: 65 ft 6 in (19.96 m)
Height: 11 ft 10 in (3.6 m)
Wing area: 551 ft² (51.2 m²)
Empty weight: 12,500 lb (5,670 kg)
Loaded weight: 17,500 lb (7,938 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 21,000 lb (9,825 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820-87 nine-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each


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

Last updated February 21, 2016  
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar".
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