two or three
4 x 3,750 hp ea.
104 ft. 6 in.
99 to 127
The Lockheed Electra (designated L-188) was the first American built large turboprop airliner. It was introduced in 1958.
Air Spray Ltd. purchased a Lockheed Electra and converted it to an air tanker in 1994. Since then it has acquired a reputation as one of the fastest initial attack air tankers.
Strengths of the airplane include little to no engine warm-up, a high 380 mph cruise speed and the nimbleness of a much smaller aircraft.
Water and retardant delivery is by a proprietary computerized system that is controlled by the pilot with a single rotary switch. Capacity is 3,000 gallons which can be disbursed in a single three second burst or metered out over a large area.
Flying the Lockheed Electra is like operating a very large World War II fighter aircraft. The engines are very powerful, driving big propellers. Their power becomes very apparent during takeoff when the torque requires right rudder to keep the ship centered on the runway.
Once in the air the Lockheed Electra is fast and nimble, responding positively and quickly to control inputs. The ridged wings, necessary to handle engine harmonic imbalance, enhance handling, but are also responsible for a less than smooth ride when encountering turbulence.
Other than the bumpy ride, the aircraft handles cross winds and stormy weather in an extremely capable manner. It will stay on course and maintain heading and altitude where other airliners fall short.
The Lockheed Electra is capable of making quick descents on to short runways while stopping quickly using reverse engine thrust with minimum braking.
Its cockpit is large, well laid out, and the heating and air conditioning is top rate. Cockpit heating comes from electric heaters providing warmed air through ducts, plus floor and wall panels. Selected temperature is automatically maintained throughout the aircraft.
The engines of the Lockheed Electra operate at lower revolutions for taxi and landing reverse thrust. The angle of the propeller blades varies to control aircraft speed. For takeoff and cruise, rpm goes up. A governor maintains propeller speed and synchronizes the engines for less vibrations and noise entering the cabin. Engine starts are accomplished with the use of a pneumatic starter.
Engine oil temperature is controlled manually by cowl flap settings and an airflow inducer powered by the engines. Each engine has its own power generator producing 460 kvA with 120 and 208 V output.
Aircraft hydraulics are triple redundant and electrically driven, with one pump on standby for emergency use. For engine off ground operations, a separate hydraulic pump is used for aircraft braking and the operation of various sub-systems.
The Lockheed Electra is a very comfortable aircraft to fly. It is also rugged, dependable, and easy to maintain.