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Lockheed Model 8 Sirius

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Lockheed Model 8 Sirius

Model 8 Sirius
Sirius at National Air and Space Museum
Role Utility transport
Manufacturer Lockheed Aircraft Limited
Designer Jack Northrop
Gerard Vultee
First flight 1929
Introduction 1929

The Lockheed Model 8 Sirius was a single-engined, propeller-driven monoplane designed and built by Jack Northrop and Gerard Vultee while they were engineers at Lockheed in 1929, at the request of Charles Lindbergh. Two versions of the same basic design were built for the United States Air Force, one made largely of wood with a fixed landing gear, and one with a metal skin and retractable landing gear, designated Y1C-25 and Y1C-23, respectively. Its basic role was intended to be as a utility transport.[1]


  • History 1
  • Variants 2
  • Specifications (Lindbergh's Sirius 8, landplane configuration, Wasp engine) 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Fifteen Sirius' were constructed in 1929 and 1930.[2]

The first and best known Sirius was bought by Lindbergh, and in 1931 it was retrofitted to be a sea plane. He and his wife Anne flew it to the Far East, where she wrote a book about their experiences there entitled North to the Orient. The aircraft was damaged in Hankou, China when it accidentally capsized while being lowered off the aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, and had to be sent back to Lockheed to be repaired.

In 1931, György Endresz and Sándor Magyar made a successful USA - Hungary transatlantic flight with a Lockheed Sirius 8A plane named "Justice for Hungary".[1].

In 1933, the Lindberghs set out again with the plane, now upgraded with a more powerful engine, a new directional gyro, and an artificial horizon. This time their route would take them across the northern Atlantic, with no particular destination, but primarily to scout for potential new airline routes for Pan Am.[3] While at a refueling stop in Angmagssalik, Greenland, the Inuit of the area gave the plane a nickname, "Tingmissartoq" or "one who flies like a bird". They continued on their flight and travelled to many stops in Europe, Russia, then south to Africa, back across the southern Atlantic to Brazil and appeared back over the skies of New York City at the end of 1933, after 30,000 miles and 21 countries, where droves of people turned out to greet them as they landed.

The aircraft was in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City until 1955, when ownership of it was transferred to the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. It was given to the Smithsonian Institution in 1959, and it went on display at the National Air and Space Museum when the original facility opened on the National Mall in 1976.


Paul Mantz's Lockheed Sirius photo ship
Lockheed 8 Sirius
Single-engined two-seat long-range high-performance aircraft; one built for Charles Lindbergh.[4]
Sirius 8
First production version, similar to the Lockheed 8 Sirius; one built.
Sirius 8A
Equipped with an enlarged tail surface; eight built.[5]
Sirius 8C
Four-seat version, fitted with an enclosed cabin seating two passengers, located between the engine and the pilot's cockpit; one built.
One aircraft with a metal fuselage and wooden wings. One built by the Detroit Aircraft Corporation.

Specifications (Lindbergh's Sirius 8, landplane configuration, Wasp engine)

Data from Lockheed Aircraft since 1913[6]

General characteristics
  • Crew: two
  • Length: 27 ft 1 in (8.26 m)
  • Wingspan: 42 ft 9 14 in (13.037 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 3 in (2.82 m)
  • Wing area: 294.1 sq ft (27.32 m2)
  • Empty weight: 4,289 lb (1,945 kg)
  • Gross weight: 7,099 lb (3,220 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 416 US gal (1,570 l; 346 imp gal)[7]
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine, 450 hp (340 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 185 mph (298 km/h; 161 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 150 mph (130 kn; 241 km/h)
  • Range: 975 mi (847 nmi; 1,569 km)
  • Service ceiling: 26,100 ft (7,955 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,280 ft/min (6.5 m/s)

See also


  1. ^ "Lockheed Sirius History, April 1973 American Aircraft Modeler". Airplanes and Rockets. Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  2. ^ M. Regis Donovan. "A Short History of the Wooden Wonders". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  3. ^ "Lockheed". Retrieved 2010-07-29. 
  4. ^ "Lindbergh Picks A Plane" Popular Mechanics, November 1930
  5. ^ "LOCKHEED SIRIUS 8A NC117W", Delta Mike Airfield, 2008
  6. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 100.
  7. ^ Francillon 1982, p. 93.
  • Francillon, René J. (1982). Lockheed Aircraft since 1913. London: Putnam.  

External links

  • Aircraft of the Smithsonian: Lockheed 8 Sirius
  • Lockheed Sirius in Geneva (1933)
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