Military Review

Lockheed's last aircraft: Alcor C-6-1 Junior Transport


Experienced C-6-1 at the airfield. Photo

In 1934, Lockheed Brothers Aircraft completed work on the Duo-6 experimental aircraft - and went bankrupt. However, Chief Designer Allan Haynes Lockheed continued to work, and a few years later presented a new version of the original twin-engine aircraft. Now, customers were offered a full-fledged passenger aircraft called the Alcor C-6-1 Junior Transport.

Another attempt

In 1934-37, despite various problems, A. Lockheed continued to develop his ideas and developed a new project for a passenger aircraft. In February 1937, he founded a new company, which was to build, test and bring a promising machine to the market. The company, based in San Francisco, was named Alcor Aircraft Corp. (Alcor - Allan Lockheed Corporation).

Having solved organizational problems, A. Lockheed completed the design and began the construction of a prototype machine. The new type of passenger aircraft received the designation C-6-1 Junior Transport. Construction continued until early 1938, after which the prototype was registered (registration number NX15544) and taken out for testing.

Top view - the layout is better visible. Photo

The goal of the project, as before, was the creation of a light cargo-passenger aircraft with a twin-engine power plant of the original layout. Due to the two motors, it was planned to provide a high total power, and their installation under a common fairing on the nose of the fuselage was supposed to improve aerodynamics. Previously, such a scheme was tested on a Duo-4/6 aircraft and proved to be good.

New design

C-6-1 was made in the form of a cantilever low-wing aircraft with a small sweep of the leading edge of the wing and traditional tail. The glider had a mixed design; the most loaded elements were made of steel pipes, and the rest of the parts were made of spruce. The cladding included plywood and duralumin elements.

The nose of the fuselage was made of metal, the rest of the sections were made of wood. Inside the fuselage, a double cockpit, a passenger cabin, a luggage compartment and a radio equipment compartment were sequentially located. At half its length, the fuselage was connected to the center section.

Front view, the conjugation of nacelles, fuselage and wing is clearly visible. Photo

The wing was built on the basis of two steel spars with wooden frame elements. In the center section there were fuel tanks, next to which there was a duralumin sheathing with the possibility of dismantling. The rest of the sections were sheathed with plywood. The wing mechanization consisted of hydraulically operated flaps and Fries-type ailerons.

At the nose of the fuselage there were developed influxes that smoothly merged into the wing and served as fairings for the power plant. The C-6-1 was equipped with a pair of Menasco C6S-4 Super Buccaneer engines with a capacity of 250 hp each. The air-cooled six-cylinder in-line engines were "laid on their side", the cylinder blocks were turned to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. The motor mounts were attached to the wing spars using longitudinal beams.

The engines were equipped with Hamilton Standard propellers of constant rotation speed with variable pitch. The propeller shafts were installed with a deviation of 4 ° to the sides of the aircraft axis. There was a gap of 300 mm between the swept discs.

Machine diagram. Graphics

The aircraft received a three-point landing gear with a tail wheel. The main supports were attached to the center section and retracted into the wing by turning back; the wheel turned 90 ° during harvesting. The track of the main struts exceeded 4 m, which ensured good stability when taxiing, taking off and landing.

The two-seater cockpit received a full set of necessary devices and instruments, typical for that time. The control of the steering surfaces was carried out through a cable wiring. The passenger cabin of considerable volume accommodated six seats - in three rows with a central aisle. There was a cargo hold and a compact toilet cubicle behind the cockpit. Access to the interior of the aircraft was provided by a door on the port side.

The wingspan of the Alcor C-6-1 aircraft exceeded 14,9 m, the length was 9,65 m.The empty plane weighed 1,88 tons. The maximum take-off weight was more than 2,8 tons. According to calculations, thanks to more powerful engines, the new aircraft was flight characteristics should have surpassed the previous experimental Duo-4/6.

Lockheed's last aircraft: Alcor C-6-1 Junior Transport
The plane is parked. You can see the minimum gap between the screws. Photo

Short trials

Construction of the C-6-1 prototype aircraft started by the end of 1937 and continued until the beginning of 1938. The finished car was delivered to the San Francisco airport, where it was planned to conduct tests. The first flight took place on March 6 and went without any complaints. Flights in the area of ​​the city and over the bay continued for several weeks and made it possible to capture all the main characteristics.

The maximum speed of the aircraft with two motors running in the nominal mode reached 340 km / h. Cruising was lower - 305 km / h. The service ceiling exceeded 7300 m. The range was over 1300 km. With one engine turned off, the C-6-1 could continue flying and retained good flight characteristics, although the maximum speed dropped to 235 km / h, and the cruising speed dropped to 210 km / h. On one engine, the plane climbed only 3800 m.

Like the previous experimental machines, the new aircraft confidently took off, flew and landed with one engine. At the same time, there was a slight deviation towards the inoperative motor, easily parried by the rudder. Thus, piloting the passenger Alcor C-6-1 in all modes, including emergency, was not difficult - and the aircraft stood out favorably from competitors in terms of safety.

C-6-1 during testing. Photo

Already in the spring of 1938, Alcor Aicraft launched an advertising campaign to attract the attention of potential customers. During this period, American air travel was gradually recovering from the crisis, new companies appeared, and they needed aircraft of all major classes. A. Lockheed planned to interest airlines operating on local lines and in need of small passenger aircraft.

Test and demonstration flights were carried out alternately. Aircraft manufacturers showed customers the aircraft in flight on two and one engine - demonstrating its main advantages. According to some reports, from a certain time it was about the imminent signing of a contract for the supply of serial aircraft.

The next flight was planned for June 27, 1938. A test pilot and a passenger were on board. The car was lifted into the air and taken to the San Francisco Bay. During a dive over the bay, the plane lost control. The crew was unable to rectify the situation and was forced to flee with parachutes. Left without a crew, the experienced C-6-1 entered a wide downward spiral, made a hard landing on the water and sank.

Experienced Alcor C-6-1 in flight. Photo

First and last

The Alcor C-6-1 Junior Transport plane existed only in one copy and, fortunately, was insured. However, the insurance payment was only enough to pay off the current debts of the developer company. To continue the work, new loans or interested investors were required. Naturally, A. Lockheed tried to save his company and its only project.

It was not possible to find new investors. The restoration of the sunken aircraft was not possible, and there were no funds for the construction of a new one. After months of obscurity, in 1939 Alcor Aircraft Corp. closed due to the impossibility of continuing activities. The C-6-1 project stopped and was no longer renewed.

Unfortunately, this was Allan H. Lockheed's last independent development in the field of aviation... After the failure of C-6-1, he retired from the aircraft industry and later went on to other business. In the XNUMXs, he was involved in the development of new aircraft as a consultant - but not in the role of chief designer. In general, A. Lockheed's experience as a creator of aviation technology was useful for new projects. However, none of them used the original scheme, which provided obvious advantages.

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  1. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 5 September 2021 07: 45
    Once I read about this plane in the "corner of the sky". Thanks to the author, I refreshed it.
  2. Catfish
    Catfish 5 September 2021 10: 30
    Unfortunately, this was Allan H. Lockheed's last independent development in the field of aviation. After the failure of C-6-1, he retired from the aircraft industry and later went on to other business.

    But what about the famous Lockheed U-2 spy, safely (almost) shot down by our missile? Near Sverdlovsk, over Cuba and, they say, over China.
    1. paul3390
      paul3390 5 September 2021 11: 30
      But what about the famous spy Lockheed U-2

      His Kelly Johnson sculpted like ..
  3. dauria
    dauria 5 September 2021 12: 52
    strange scheme. Benefits in case of failure of one engine - here it has no equal. Why did you sculpt a vegetable garden?
    1. Mountain shooter
      Mountain shooter 5 September 2021 23: 54
      Quote: dauria
      strange scheme. Benefits in case of failure of one engine - here it has no equal. Why did you sculpt a vegetable garden?

      Aerodynamic gain. Two engines with a total power of 500 hp. accelerate the plane with a takeoff weight of almost 3 tons to 350 km / h! The weight return is high. An interesting scheme. Didn't go ... It happens.
      1. wlkw
        wlkw 6 September 2021 12: 46
        The money ran out ... even for the most successful project you need money and a little luck. And then the only one sank .... Curtain.
  4. Vadim Ananyin
    Vadim Ananyin 18 October 2021 10: 30
    And the plane was beautiful.