Bowen Air Lines Lockheed 9
indicated in my overview of Bowen Air Lines in the entry for the DL-1
Vega, Temple Bowen
something of a 'speed freak'. In fact, he purchased the prototype
(X-960Y) and the first prod-
uction model of Lockheed's new Model 9 Orion. Seen above
first one (by then NC960Y)
being accepted by Bowen in 1930. The two gentlemen
left are Lockheed representatives,
then Temple Bowen (holding hat), and, on the right, Bill Ponder, who
was one of Bowen's pilots
WWI ace with 8 victories to his name. The Orion was
developed from the earlier Sirius and
Altair aircraft, and was billed as the 'fastest airliner in the world'
at the time. The cabin had seating
seven and, powered by a 450 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp attained a
cruising speed of 180 mph.
The shot below shows the second
machine (NC964Y) at Meacham Field, Fort Worth, Texas when
Perry F. 'Pop' Hotchkiss was unable to get the Orion's gear extended.
There were no injuries and
clearly the aircraft was repaired since it was sold later to Aerovias
Centreras in Mexico as X-ABEI.
It later returned to the US as
NC13997 for Pan American Airways, before being seconded to that
carrier's Mexican subsidiary Cie
Mexicana de Aviacion as XA-BAY. Finally, at the foot of the page
is an evocative image of one of Bowen's
Orions in a head-on shot (probably NC964Y again).
All photos are
from the History of Aviation Collection at the University of Texas at