Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Heritage Flight of Electra Jr.

So just what does famed photographer Michael Malak do for fun on the weekends, he invites his sister and brother-in-law along for an air to air photo shoot at Yanks Air Museum out in Chino, California. Under brilliant blue skies and few clouds and temperatures hovering around mid 80's, we all meet for a pre-flight check for the Lockheed 12-A Electra Jr (C-40D) (UC-40D), a plane similar to that of the one Amelia Earhart purchased and flew. Built in 1938, this nostalgic plane had quite the flying history.

This glistening beauty was polished and shined to perfection for an air to air shoot using the Texan T-6 Trainer as the plane that Michael would use for the photos you see represented here. As the pilots gathered for a pre-flight check and discussion of the types of shots that they wanted to gain, it was agreed that they would do two passovers the Yanks Air Museum before heading out to Lake Elsinore and Lake Matthews for some brilliant air to air shots that only a handful of people ever get to witness.

Michael was strapped in the gunner's seat which is capable of rotating 360 degrees allowing for freedom of movement within the plane itself. The only thing lost in the process was Michael's Texas Tech baseball cap (pictured above) probably landing somewhere over the airport or the city of Chino. If you happen to find it, please drop it off at Yanks and tell them you found Mike's hat! All in all the photo shoot was pretty incredible and can't wait for even more opportunities to do this in the future.

Some fun facts about the Lockheed 12-A Electra Jr (UC-40D) (C-40D) that is housed in Yanks Air Museum is that it was the fastest transport plane in the world. It could out-climb and out-fly any other twin, it handled nicely, had power to spare and pilots liked to fly it. Night crossings and poor terrain were restricted to twin aircraft in 1934, this created a need for the new Electra. Big and small businesses like the advantage of landing in many small town airports. Many options were offered including: autopilot, partitions, plush seats, couch, lavatory, desk and typewriter. The first all-metal aircraft and the first twin-engine aircraft built by Lockheed was the Electra. The fastest transport aircraft in the world was the Lockheed Electra Jr. The Electra name was made famous by the story of Amelia Earhart. A favorite of oil barons, the steel industry and the government this was a glistening, glamourous, revered aircraft. Just being inside this beauty was truly a once in a lifetime experience. (Yanks Air Museum.) 

Photo Credits: Michael Malak, Malak, Yanks Air Museum, Steven Smith Photography (Behind the Scenes Photo)

Special Thanks to All Pilots involved: Lockheed Left Seat Pilot: Matt Walker, Right Seat Pilot: Frank Wright, Back Seat: Bob Haden, T-6 Camera Ship Pilot: Chris La Fave, Christen Wright

A heart felt thanks goes out to Yanks Air Museum for the opportunity to take part in this Heritage Flight of the Electra Jr Air to Air Photo Shoot! What a memorable time!

After 76 years it's still going strong!

1 comment:

  1. Nice Job Frank,
    Would love too fly in that thing.
    Joe D