|Les Whittlesey’s award-winning Lockheed Model 12A NC18906 will be at AirVenture to mark the type’s 75th anniversary.
One of the world’s classic airplanes, the Lockheed Electra Junior Model 12, flew for the first time on June 27, 1936 - 75 years ago this year - and that milestone will be celebrated at AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Les Whittlesey, of Chino, California, owner of an award-winning Model 12A NC18906, is leading an effort to get as many L-12 owners as possible to bring their airplanes to Oshkosh this summer.
“The plan is to get together, maybe even arrive at the same time in trail, and all park in the Vintage Aircraft area,” said Whittlesey, EAA 409631. “Ideally we’d love to get 12 airplanes to participate” for the Model 12, but he admits a more realistic goal might be six. Special presentations at Oshkosh on the L-12 will be announced as they are confirmed.
Whittlesey’s Model 12, the product of an extensive three-year restoration, won the 2006 Grand Champion Antique award in Oshkosh as well as the Paul Garber Trophy in Reno that same year.
Only 126 Electra Juniors were made between 1936 and 1941, when production stopped at the outbreak of World War II. The all-metal, twin-engine planes were designed for use as small feeders for airlines, but most were used by companies for executive travel, as well as government officials and wealthy individuals. It’s a six-passenger aircraft, plus crew, and weighs in at 9,200 pounds fully loaded.
The Model 12A is powered by the 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior SB radial engine and has a top speed of 225 mph with a range of 800 miles.
Lockheed 12s are often mistaken for the plane Amelia Earhart disappeared in, but that was a Model 10, a 10-passenger airplane that first flew a little more than two years before the 12. However, a Lockheed Model 12A (NC2072) owned by Joe Shepherd, EAA 386618, played a Model 10 in the 2009 motion picture Amelia.
EAA featured the oldest flying Model 12, The Spirit of TWA, owned by Ruth Richter Holden, in 2006.
Lockheed 12 general characteristics
Capacity: six passengers plus crew (2)
Length: 36 ft. 4 in.
Wingspan: 49 ft. 6 in.
Height: 9 ft. 9 in.
Empty weight: 5,765 lbs.
Max takeoff weight: 9,200 lbs.
Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior SB radial engines, 450 hp (336 kW) each
Maximum speed: 225 mph at 5,000 feet
Range: 800 mi.
Service ceiling: 22,900 ft.