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 John Schmidt (dc8schmidt@twc.com) | Home > 
The Fabulous Electras 9/2016
The L-188 was a Lockheed design tailored to requirements put forth by American and Eastern Airlines. At the time, (1955) Capital was introducing the Viscount which was clobbering competitive airlines' piston powered flights.  Even though deliveries of the Electra would not occur until 1959 most American airlines chose to wait for the Lockheed offering.
   It was launched in 1955 with orders for 35 from American and 40 from Eastern, soon followed by most of the other Trunk Lines + PSA.
   The early enthusiasm died upon the loss of 3 aircraft to in flight structural failures. The issues were ultimately resolved, but the early surge of orders stopped at 170.  Nevertheless the Electra served exceptionally in multiple roles. Many had long second lives as freighters.  Now, the few remaining have been reduced to Airsprayers.
Album by John Schmidt. 1 - 41 of 41 Total. 7423 Visits.
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Enlarge photo 1
Aerocondor Electra #8TH
This colorful Electra, was originally the Flagship Cleveland, and operated for American from August 1959 through Sept, 1969 when it was delivered to Aerocondor. It was purchased by Varig in 1976 and operated until Nov. 1992, when it went to the great airliner graveyard in Zaire. The card is one of a number of very nice Movifoto cards of the Electra, by courtesy of Terry Hale.

Enlarge photo 2
Air California Electra #1
This is the somewhat rare Air California issue of their Electra. Air California operated 7 Electras, the first 3 of which came from American. The aircraft shown is likely N278AC, which was the Flagship Tulsa, delivered to Air California in December of 1966. Air California also acquired the LA Dodgers' Electra, and the San Diego Padres' Electra.

Enlarge photo 3
Air Ceylon Electra
Air Ceylon operated only the one Electra depicted in this company issued card. The aircraft as well as the hideous artwork for the card came from KLM. After only one year's service (1961) with Air Ceylon, the airliner made the rounds of US supplementals, operating for Universal, Saturn, Trans International, Interstate, and finally, Galaxy in 1984.

Enlarge photo 4
Air New Zealand Electra
This is the rather common Air New Zealand issued Electra, still for the most part carrying The Tasman Empire livery. ZK TEB operated for 13 years with TEAL and Air New Zealand before heading north for service with Nordair, Reeve Aleutian, and ultimately Buffalo.

Enlarge photo 5
American  Electra #1
This classic American issued Electra card shows the Flagship New York, which I flew as a boy in 1959. It lasted only a month later when it crashed on approach to La Guardia.

Enlarge photo 6
American Flyers Electra #3
A rare and beautiful American Flyers issue of their Electra. This is N182H, their first Electra, which was built for Capital, but not Delivered. After 8 years with American Flyers, it went on to operate briefly for ONA, and then 9 years for Denver Ports of Call. Operated for Gulf Air Transport and Interstate before wfu and b/u at Opelika.

Enlarge photo 7
Ansett-ANA Electra #2
A splendid Ansett issue of VH RMA, their first Electra delivered in 1959. It operated as a passenger airliner until April 28, 1971, when it was converted to a freighter.  Returned to service on August 3, 1972.
  Left Ansett in 1984, and operated for Air Bridge Carriers, and Hunting cargo before sale to Buffalo in 2007.

Enlarge photo 8
Atlantic (UK) Electra
An absolutely stunning Atlantic Airlines Issue of their Electra  G-FIJR. This beauty operated for Atlantic for 13 years before delivery to Conair in 2010. It was originally one of Northwest's Electras, built in 1961. It later operated for NWT Air, Air Bridge Carriers, and Hunting Cargo before arriving at Atlantic.

Enlarge photo 9
Braniff Electra #1
Braniff issued some beautiful postcards, but sadly skipped the Electra. This Aviation World card is the only in flight card I've seen of a Braniff Electra.
N9701C was delivered in 1959, and served Braniff until 1970. It passed through TAME, Varig and Filair of Zaire before being written off in Canada in 2003.

Enlarge photo 10
Buffalo Electra #1
This is the Beautiful Ansett ANA Electra shown on the above card as it is today, a Firebomber for Buffalo. An oversized Buffalo issue.

Enlarge photo 11
Cathay Pacific Electra #2
On the other hand Cathay Pacific issued 5 cards of their Electras. This is the only one in the delivery colors. VR HFO was the first Cathay Pacific Electra, which actually went to Braniff in 1966, before joining Ecuatoriana in 1968.

Enlarge photo 12
Cathay Pacific Electra #5
One of three similar Cathay Pacific Electra cards, and the only one with the front text. Not that easy to find.
The aircraft shown is VR HFN, delivered to Cathay Pacific on June 29, 1959. Sold to Ecuatoriana in 1967, and transferred to TAME in 1975. Broken up in 1981

Enlarge photo 13
Channel Express Electra #2
Channel express operated a number of Electras, and issued 2 cards. This over-length card shows G CEXS, originally delivered to Pacific Southwest in 1959, operated by Hawaiian and Evergreen before delivery to Channel Express in October 1990. It operated for Channel Express for 13 years.

Enlarge photo 14
COPA Electra #1
An excellent view of a COPA Electra at the Medellin Airport. COPA operated 2 beautiful ex Eastern Electras in the 70s. This is most likely HP 579, which operated for COPA from 1971-1986
A Medellin airport issue.

Enlarge photo 15
Eastern Electra #1
Surprisingly, Eastern issued no cards of their Electras, and the only vintage card, a Plastichrome issue has "Smooth Flying" plastered over the face of the card. However, Aviation World was kind enough to issue a nice card of N5501. The first Eastern Electra operated a little over 10 years and was then sold to SAM of Colombia. After 8 years with SAM it went to the Argentine Navy. Current status unknown.

Enlarge photo 16
Falcon Electra
A nice in flight company issued card, if somewhat backlit, of Falcon Aviation's Electra SE IVS. Originally KLM's PH LLB, delivered in October 1959, it served with Universal, Saturn, Trans International, and NWT, before arriving at Falcon in 1986. Operated mostly for the Swedish Post Office before lease to Hunting Cargo in 1993.

Enlarge photo 17
Fred Olsen Electra
A splendid in flght view of Fred Olsen's Electra LN FOG. Originally delivered to Western in 1961, it operated for Fred Olsen from 1973 to 1997 when it was sold to Atlantic.  
A U S Publications issue.

Enlarge photo 18
Galaxy (Charter) Electra
A nice portrait style card of the Galaxy Electra N5532. Originally an American Electra which also served with PSA and McCulloch International, this is the Aircraft which crashed at Reno.
An IAWP Historical Issue.

Enlarge photo 19
Garuda Electra #2
Probably the rarest Electra card is this beautiful Garuda issue from 1961.  Garuda ordered 3 Electras, including the last Electra built. This beauty went on to serve with Mandala, and like many Electras is now a firebomber in Canada.

Enlarge photo 20
K L M Electra #5
An excellent KLM issue of an Electra taking off. Delivered in February, 1960, PH LLG operated for KLM, followed by Martinair, Universal, Saturn, Trans International, Interstate, Hunting Cargo, Falcon Air, and finally Atlantic.

Enlarge photo 21
Martinair Electra #1
This is PH LLG in its Martinair Colors. A Skyliner issue.

Enlarge photo 22
McCulloch International Electra
McCulloch International was a Supplemental airline that primarily flew potential clients to real estate developments in Arizona. On board service was elegant, in contrast with most Supplementals.
N6130A was the Flagship San Francisco with American, before delivery to McCulloch in 1972. PSA purchased it in 75, operating until 1979 when it was sold to Evergreen. In 1983 it went to Galaxy, as shown on the above card, and written off at Reno in 1985.

Enlarge photo 23
N W T Air Electra
Northwest Territory Airways became an Electra operator in 1981, acquiring an ex Eastern aircraft, N 5524, built in 1959. An additional Electra was added in 1983, which came from Northwest, as well as 4 others. The last operations were in 1990.  This is an NWT issue from the early 1980s.

Enlarge photo 24
National Electra #2
A splendid, if common National Airlines issue of their first Electra, delivered in 1959.  After 9 years it went to Pacific Western, then Guyana, Hawaiian, Zantop, and Channel Express. Retired in 1994.

Enlarge photo 25
Nomads Electra #2
A beautiful in flight Nomads issue of their Electra N 863E in flight. Originally a Qantas aircraft, it was leased to Air New Zealand prior to being sold to Nomads in 1971. It operated for 10 years, and then delivered to Mandala. Written off in 1985 in a landing accident in Indonesia.

Enlarge photo 26
Northwest Electra #1
A beautiful Northwest issue of N121US, the Electra lost in the Tell City crash that essentially led to the death of the Electra itself. It operated for less than a year.

Enlarge photo 27
Northwest Electra #2
An excellent vintage Plastichrome issue of Northwest's first Electra. A little harder to find than the airline issue.

Enlarge photo 28
Pacific Southwest Electra #1
Pacific Southwest made a great leap in 1959 from DC-4s to the state of the art Electra. N 171PS shown in the Aviation world issue above was delivered in Nov. 1959, operated for 9 years, before a lease to Hawaiian from 68-75. It returned to PSA, and served for 5 more years until sold to Channel Express. This aircraft is also shown on the Channel Express issue above. The Electra was a major step for PSA, but they only issued an interior card of the lounge.

Enlarge photo 29
Qantas Electra #2
Qantas operated a total of 4 Electras, and issued 2 nice cards.. This one, VH ECB was delivered to Qantas on October 30, 1959, and went to Air California in 1967. It was later leased to Intermountain, and then sold to Ecuatoriana in 1974.  Written off in 1989 while operating for TAME.

Enlarge photo 30
Reeve Aleutian Electra
An outstanding in flight view of Reeve Aleutian's Electra N1968R, extracted from the 4 Panel oversized Airline Issue. The airliner served Reeve for 32 years from 1968-2000, when sadly this great airline perished.
    The airliner, built in 1959 served with Qantas and Air New Zealand prior to Reeve. It is currently with Air Spray Ltd.

Enlarge photo 31
SAM (Colombia) Electra #3
This beautiful SAM Electra was Eastern's N5505, which operated for 11 years, before delivery to SAM. It operated for SAM from 1971-1977 and was then returned to Eastern and ultimately broken up. A Movifoto issue.

Enlarge photo 32
T A A Electra #5
My absolute favorite Electra card is this vintage Plastichrome beauty. VH TLA was delivered to Trans Australia in June of 1959 and operated until May of 1972, when it went to Royal Air Lao. Hard to believe, broken up in 1976.

Enlarge photo 33
T A A Electra #4
This outstanding view of the Electra in the short lived dayglow scheme is an Aviation World Issue. The aircraft shown is VH TLC, the last of the three TAA Electras, which left in 1970 for Trans Continental, and subsequently operated for TACA International, Galaxy, ATSA of Peru, and is now current with Vigo Jet of Mexico.

Enlarge photo 34
TAN Electra #1
The common TAN Electra card was the 2nd company issue from TAN, issued in 1970, following an excellent C-46 card around 1960. Most likely the aircraft represented was HR TNL, an Ex Braniff aircraft which operated from 1969 until crashing in Honduras in 1990.

Enlarge photo 35
TAN Electra #2
This splendid Avimage issue shows an Electra in the final TAN livery, just before merger with SAHSA.
The aircraft operated for Eastern from 1959-1969, was purchased by F B Ayer and arrived in Honduras in 1984. TAN operated it on daily cargo flights to Miami until 1991. It's now a Tanker with Air Spray in Canada.

Enlarge photo 36
TEAL Electra #1
This is the more common of two TEAL issues of Electra ZK TEB, The other being a Menu Card.
The aircraft left TEAL for Nordair in 1972, then to Reeve Aleutian, and finally to Buffalo, where it is still active.

Enlarge photo 37
Varig Electra #2
A very nice Varig issue of PP VJN, one of 4 Ex American Electras delivered in September of 1962. They operated for Varig for 30 years!  This one left for the airliner graveyard in Zaire, where it was written off operating for Blue Airlines in 1999.

Enlarge photo 38
Varig Electra #1
A beautiful in flight view of Varig's Electra PP VJW, which was originally American's Flagship Baltimore. It was one of 3 additional ex Americans delivered in 1967. it served Varig for 25 years. The  card is a Mary Jayne's Issue

Enlarge photo 39
Western Electra #1
An excellent Western issue of their first Electra superimposed on the Golden Gate. There were at least 2 printings of the card.

Enlarge photo 40
Western Electra #2
This is the very nice vintage Dexter issue of N 7135C, Electra SN 1046, which served Western from 1959-1970. I can find no record of it after 1970.

Enlarge photo 41
Zantop Electra
A nice portrait style card of Zantop's N 5517, an early Eastern Electra, actually built in 1958. Zantop flew at least 23 Electras over a period of 20 + years. The card is a Buchair issue.

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