The Lockheed C-56 was the designation given to a mix of Cyclone and Hornet powered Model 18 Lodestars that were impressed by the USAAF during the Second World War.
The Model 18 Lodestar was originally designed as an improved version of the Model 14 Super Electra, which had been a commercial failure. Lockheed responded by modifying the aircraft to make it more economical to operate. It was lengthened by 5ft 6in, and two more rows of seats were installed, making it almost as efficient to operate as the rival Douglas DC-3. However by the time the Lodestar was ready to enter service, most US airlines had already committed to the DC-3, so most of its sales were overseas or to the US Military.
The Lodestar was similar in layout to most Lockheed transport aircraft of the inter-war years. It had low mounted tapered wings, with a moderate dihedral. The fuselage had flat sides, and a rather more pointed nose than earlier models. It had a high mounted tail, with twin vertical control surfaces at the ends. The standard version had a row of small cockpit windows on both sides, and a cabin door towards the rear of the left side of the aircraft.
Thirty-six aircraft were impressed as the C-56, and given six different designations. Of these sixteen were powered by the Wright Cyclone engine and twenty by the Pratt & Whitney Hornet engine. These were both nine cylinder single row radial engines,
The C-56 was used by the 21st and 22nd Troop Carrier Squadrons in Australia in 1942, one of a large number of different aircraft types operated by the squadrons in that year.
One Model 18-50 powered by the Wright R-1820-89 Cyclone engine become the sole C-56-LO.
One Model 18-07 powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 Hornet engine became the sole C-56A-LO.
Thirteen Model 18-40s powered by the Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone engine were designated as the C-56B-LO.
Another twelve Model 18-07s, again powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet engine, were designated as the C-56C-LO.
Seven Model 18-08s, powered by the Pratt & Whitney R-1690-25 Hornet, were designated as the C-56D-LO.
Two Model 18-40s powered by Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone engines were designated as the C-56E-LO.
Model 18-07 (C-56A/ C-56C)
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-1690-54 Hornets
Wing span: 65ft 6in
Length: 49ft 10in
Height: 11ft 10in
Empty weight: 11,250lb
Loaded weight: 17,500lb
Maximum weight: 19,200lb
Maximum speed: 218mph at 8,000ft
Cruising speed: 197mph
Climb Rate: 10,000ft in 10.3min
Service ceiling: 20,400ft
Normal range: 1,800 miles
Maximum range: 3,200 miles
Lockheed Aircraft Since 1913, René J Francillon