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Lockheed L-18 Lodestar

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L-18 Lodestar
Lockheed C-60A Lodestar USAF.jpg
C-60A Lodestar
Type Passenger transport
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation
Maiden flight September 21, 1939
Introduced March 30, 1940
Primary user US Army Air Corps
Number built 625
Developed from Lockheed L-14 Super Electra
Variants Lockheed Ventura

The Lockheed L-18 Lodestar was an American passenger transport aircraft of the Second World War era.

Design and development

The prototype of Lockheed L-18, which first flew in 1939, was constructed from one of a batch of Lockheed L-14 Super Electras which had been returned to the manufacturer by Northwest Airlines after a series of crashes of L-14s. The fuselage was lengthened by 5 feet (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 and part-built Lodestars were impressed for Army or Navy services 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. Many of the New Zealand aircraft were later used for aerial topdressing.


Around 10-15 are still airworthy in the USA alone.


US Army Lodestars

Powered by 760 hp Wright R-1820 engines, 1 aircraft built.
C-56A / C-56B / C-56C / C-56D / C-56E
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690 engines. Total 25 aircraft built.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines, 1 aircraft built.
Troop ship version powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines, 7 aircraft built.
Repowered C-60A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-51 engines, 3 aircraft built.
Repowered C-57A with Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 engines, 1 aircraft built.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet engines, 10 aircraft built. Transferred to RAF as Lodestar IA.
Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines, 36 aircraft built. Transferred to RAF as Lodestar II.
Powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines, 125 aircraft built. Ordered by the Army as troop-carriers.
C-60A with experimental de-icing equipment, 1 aircraft built.
Proposed 21-seat troop transport aircraft, never built.
Powered by Wright R-1820-87 engines. 1 aircraft built, transferred to Brazilian Air Force.

US Navy Lodestars

Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines, 1 aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-97 engines. 3 aircraft built, one was transferred to the United States Coast Guard.
Powered by 850 hp (634 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 engines, 1 aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-34A engines. Originally 4-seater VIP transports, 2 aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Impressed. 7-seater staff transports, 12 aircraft built.
Powered by 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-40 engines. Similar to the R5O-4 but had 14-seats. 14 aircraft built.
35 USAAF C-60A-5-LOs transferred to the USN (US Marine Corps), equipped with 18 paratroop seats.


Not all New Zealand machines ended topdressing: Union Airways of New Zealand converted several as airliners in 1945-6 and these were taken over by National Airways Corporation in 1947, as illustrated.

Military operators

Template:Country data Canada
Template:Country data South Africa
Template:Country data United States

Civil operators

Template:Country data Canada
Template:Country data South Africa

Specifications (C-60)

General characteristics

  • Crew: Three
  • Capacity: 14 passengers
  • Length: 49 ft 10 in (15.2 m)
  • Wingspan: 65 ft 6 in (20 m)
  • Height: 11 ft 10 in (3.6 m)
  • Wing area: 551 ft² (51.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 12,000 lb (5,440 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 17,500 lb (7,940 kg)
  • Powerplant:Pratt & Whitney Hornet S1C3-G , 1,050 hp (780 kW) each


Related Content

Related development

Designation sequence

Related lists

See also

Template:USAF transports Template:USN transports