Museum secures funding for Lockheed Electra

SEATTLE — A 1935 vintage Lockheed Model 10-E Electra transport aircraft identical to the one used by Amelia Earhart on her ill-fated trip around the world in 1937 will be the centerpiece of a permanent Earhart exhibit opening at the Museum of Flight Oct. 12.

Project Amelia, a fundraising campaign conducted by Museum of Flight staff, and led by trustees Anne Simpson and Nancy Auth and consultant Patti Payne, supported by gifts from Wells Fargo and Alaska Airlines, announced today that it has reached its goal of $1.2 million to purchase the rare aircraft for the museum. Donations for the project were received from more than 600 individual donors.

The plane is scheduled to be flown to the museum on Sept. 21, and installed in the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery on Oct. 12 — the centerpiece of a permanent exhibit that will celebrate the life and accomplishments of the world’s most famous aviatrix.

“This rare and remarkable aircraft will be more than an addition to The Museum of Flight’s world class collection,” said Simpson, a Delta Air Lines captain. “The real story here is motivating and inspiring young people, especially girls, to take some risks and become the best they can be. Without a doubt, the way Amelia lived her life has positively influenced women for generations. From pilots, to engineers, to explorers and even fashion designers, Amelia helped pave the way for women to enter those and many other professions.”

This particular aircraft was built for Northwest Airlines and began passenger service in 1935 as a Lockheed Model 10-A Electra. It served in World War II as an Army Air Force transport. After the war the aircraft had a variety of owners, including VARIG airlines in Brazil. Once back in the United States, the aircraft changed hands before it was returned to Lockheed and completely converted to a Model 10-E configuration.

In 1994 Linda Finch restored the aircraft to match the specifications of the Amelia Earhart’s famous Lockheed 10-E. In 1997, the 60th anniversary of Earhart’s fatal, trans-world flight, Finch flew the plane around the globe on a flight path as close as possible to Earhart’s. While flying over Earhart’s last known location, Howland Island in the south Pacific, Finch dropped a wreath in salute of the aviatrix and her navigator Fred Noonan.

There is only one other genuine Lockheed Electra Model 10-E in existence, museum officials noted. 


  1. Woody Peard says

    An interesting article, but incorrect. The plane was modified to 10-E specs in Brazil by VARIG, I believe in 1955, not by Lockheed. Since it started it’s life as a 10-A, It’s not a genuine 10-E, but a 10-A modified to 10-E specs. Since we don’t know exactly what modifications were done to Earhart’s Electra before her ill fated flight, recovering her plane is the only option that will solve the mystery as to what was modified on her 10-E to make it unique is locating her plane and recovering it. Ann Pellegreno was the first to drop a wreath on Howland Island during her recreation of Earhart’s flight in June- July, 1967, flying an original Lockheed Electra model 10-A, a flight that seems to be largely overlooked in the annals of historic flights. Ann is the only one that is left out of her flight crew of herself, William Polhemus, AF Colonel William Payne, and Leo Koepke, the owner of her Lockheed and her mechanic. Leo passed away a few moths ago at the age of 87. Earhart’s plane is not at the bottom of the ocean, nor is it buried on Saipan. It rests to this day buried in a bunker, awaiting discovery and recovery. I would really like to speak to Tom Mellon.

  2. Craig says

    My wife and I were at a fly-in on Saturday. She thought she saw a woman pilot and pointed her out to me. She was mistaken. I told here there are very few women pilots out there but many groups are trying to entice woman to fly. My wife said, “Women would rather be out shopping”. So be it, another one only to take the right seat.

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