Lockheed 18 Lodestar


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Lockheed 18 Lodestar

Design and development of the Lockheed 18 Lodestar began as a result of the poor sales achievement of the Lockheed 14 Super Electra, the prototype being flown for the first time on 21 September 1939. Converted from a Super Electra, it differed primarily by having the fuselage lengthened by 1.68m to provide accommodation for 15 to 18 passengers, depending upon the other facilities provided; some were produced with high-density bench seating for a maximum of 26 passengers, and were available with a variety of engines by Pratt & Whitney and Wright. Despite the improved economy demonstrated by the Lodestar, Lockheed failed again to achieve worthwhile sales in the United States as most operators were committed to purchase DC-3s from the Douglas Company. Fortunately, the type appealed more to export customers, with airlines or government agencies in Africa, Brazil, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, the UK and Venezuela ordering a total of 96 aircraft. There was only limited military interest before the beginning of World War II, but later procurement, particularly by the US Army Air Force, raised the total of Lodestars built by Lockheed to 625 before production ended. Unlike the Hudson, the Lodestar has no record of stirring action but, nevertheless, the type was able to fulfil an important medium-range transport role. Only small numbers saw post-war service, mostly with small operators, but a number of interesting conversions as executive transports were carried out in the USA by companies like Howard Aero and Lear Inc.


 MODELLockheed Lodestar Model 18-07
 ENGINE2 x Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1E2-G radial piston engines, 652kW
  Take-off weight8709 kg19200 lb
  Empty weight5103 kg11250 lb
  Wingspan19.96 m66 ft 6 in
  Length15.19 m50 ft 10 in
  Height3.61 m12 ft 10 in
  Wing area51.19 m2551.00 sq ft
  Max. speed351 km/h218 mph
  Ceiling6220 m20400 ft
  Range2897 km1800 miles

Lockheed 18 LodestarA three-view drawing (800 x 368)

Comments1-20 21-40
Joe Williams, e-mail, 11.06.2016 04:08

I worked for National Airlines in 1944. One of their Lodestars set a speed record when purchased by company President George Baker from California to Florida in order to advertise National's Lodestar use, I assume in 1940. This exploit was painted on the fuselage of that plane for customers to see. I cannot find any mention of this record. Please help if you can. Thanks.


John Gomes, e-mail, 14.02.2015 03:14

I flew in the Lodestar as a navigation student at the AAF Navigation School Hondo, TX in 1944. It was outfitted to carry 5 students plus an instructor and Pilots. In most of our training missions we flew in Beach AT-7's


John A Berkstresser, e-mail, 29.11.2014 06:13

I am one of the brothers of pilot A Blaine Berkstresser, who lost his life as the pilot in command of N1000F for Ashland Oil and Refining Company as a result of a Trim malfunction on September 1962. Blaine was the Chief Pilot at the time. I was 13 years old when the accident occurred. I had always looked up to him. I was always determined to follow in his footsteps. I just turned 65 and was forced into retirement from United Airlines because of the age requirement. Since I entered the US Navy at 21 years of age I have had a wonderful career as a pilot in aviation. I have Blaine to thank. He was a terrific role model for me. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough too realize my success.


Jerry Cohen, e-mail, 20.11.2013 02:07

I also flew as a co-pilot,mechanic on a lockee
d L-18 with some of the Howard 250 mods, during the early 1970s. Operated by Marble Cliff Quarries. N-123MC. Turned into a Convair 240, N-300MC shortly thereafter. Anyone have any pictures,please?-Thanks


Barbara Matusik, e-mail, 30.09.2013 18:32

My father was the pilot of 1000Fox that went down in Ohio due to trim tab failure that night in September 1962. All 13 men could not have pulled that aircraft out of its downward plunge. A.B. "Blaine" Berkstresser was a great pilot who had logged over 2 million miles. During the early years of WWII he trained pilots for the US air force, flew DC3s and Conveyors for American Airlines and went to work for Ashland Oil in 1958 as their only pilot flying the CEO in their only plane, the same Lockheed Loadstar. In the 1960s my dad wanted to retire the Loadstar as it had become antiquated. He advised the executives to purchase a Leer Jet. This would mean training for the 5 pilots and the mechanics. The executives, including the millionaire J. Howard Marshall, felt that the cost was way over their budget! The loss of those 13 men was way more than their budget!


Bud Rodgers, e-mail, 12.01.2013 16:44

I flew as co-pilot out SBN from late 1963 to early 1967 for Studbaker corp.in a Howard 250. The engines carried the Studbaker name plate.In 1997 I came across the Howard parked next to hanger belonging to air museum I believe it was in ABQ.The curator gave me co-pilot's yoke.I took two pictures similar to the two that I have from the 60's


Bud, e-mail, 09.01.2013 05:27

772 234 8546Brroughers crash willow run


Bud, e-mail, 09.01.2013 05:23

1965 crash Brroughs corp


Manny, e-mail, 27.06.2012 00:52

Howard Hughes had the L-18 converted to a "Learstar" I flew N-163R in the early '70s. It was owned by the Carterpillar corp before being ourchased bt Antillean Marine in Miami. What a machine!!!


Paul Sheehan, e-mail, 05.05.2012 08:16

I'm trying to find Lodestar N796G MSN 18-2102 which was still registered to Omni International in Washington DC at late as 1977. It was sold soon after and then all trace of it ceases. The FAA show it as "privately sold - not for sale". Can anyone help me with this please as this aircraft is historically important in Australia. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks - Paul Sheehan, Melbourne, Australia


Jan P, 05.09.2011 22:05

This was the plane my grandfather was killed in 1962 over Ohio. An Ashland Oil private plane.


Klaatu, e-mail, 10.07.2011 18:51

An armed version of this transport became the AAF's B-34 Ventura and Navy's PV Harpoon.


Don Humphreys, e-mail, 06.06.2011 04:29

Had many an hour as M /Sgt / copilot on 39618 out of EL Toro in 1944. Went from there to USN Flight School


Darrell Meldrum, e-mail, 15.03.2011 18:56

Worked on one at Hobby in Houston in the 60's Coming back from Cosamel it lost oil in one eng. flew 600mi into Galveston on one eng. mine very proud of my work


Ron Hedges, e-mail, 07.03.2011 04:06

I flew as co-pilot /mechanic early in my career on a Dee Howard converted Howard-250 with all the mods. Great airplane !!

Ron Hedges


Bsrney Snyder, e-mail, 07.02.2011 06:54

My dad worked for Forest Oil of Bradford, PA at the time.. . . 1952. They hired a Pan Am pilot who flew them all over the USA. The company -a private one, obviously- let my dad use the plane for his personal use. All he had to do was pay for the gasoline. What a plane. I can't begin to imagine the rudder pressure needed to keep it lined up on take off under full throttle.


Dan Feltham, e-mail, 04.12.2010 18:31

Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. owned two Lodestars in the late '50s and early '60s. I helped manage aerial surveys in Morocco and Libya using a magnetometer for oil exploration purposes. We flew most of the northern half of Libya, including the Sirte Basin, using aerial photos and SHORAN for exact navigation. The Lodestar performed flawlessly!


dan naugle, e-mail, 20.11.2010 02:25

I have a propeller off of a lockeed laodstar that crashed at willow run in 1965 if anyone has any info of this crash please let me know


Jack Thompson, e-mail, 11.11.2010 02:53

I previously made comment. As I have an e-mail change will comment futher. I flew Lockheed N343S in many of Governor George C. Wallaces campaigns through out the United States. I certainly miss this grand L-18 (C-60)


Dan Colburn, e-mail, 07.11.2010 05:36

I flew Lodestar for the Rock Island Lumber Co.The Weyerhaeuser family from 1956 to 1962 company. Our Lodestar was a Navy R3D had Wright 1820 engines.
Our license number was N4S for "Four Square" lumber. I flew it 2500 hours without an engine failure. This was due to our wonderful maintenance man Mr. Bob Sanders. I don't remember ever canceling or delaying a flight due to mechanical problems.


1-20 21-40

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