Airlines Lockheed L-188C Electra
N122US (c/n 1077)
This shot was taken at Wold
Chamberlin Field, Minneapolis in the winter of 1959.
delivered the previous July and was one of 18 ordered by the
airline. By this time the airline
had gained rights to serve
Miami from Chicago. On 17 Mar 1960, N121US, NWA's first
was operating a flight from
Chicago to Miami when the starboard wing separated (i.e. fell off) over
Tell City, Indiana, during violent thunderstorm activity.
All 63 passengers and crew were killed.
This was the fourth serious problem of this nature with the Electra and
the FAA immediately grounded
the type. Design
faults were found in the wing and engine installation. Services
were allowed to
continue until the fixes were made, but at greatly
reduced speeds. (The cruising speed was lowered
from 400 mph to 295 mph).
These problems ultimately hurt the sales of Electras although once
it turned out
to be an excellent aircraft. The accident did account for
NWA's decision to hold off
delivery of the final eight of its18 until the
modifications could be built into the new aircraft. The
airline also went out and
replaced the publicity shots it had had of N121US with ones showing the
last of the first batch, N130US (below).
Electra N130US (c/n 1113)