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Amelia Earhart set two of her many aviation records in this bright red Lockheed 5B Vega. In 1932 she flew it alone across the Atlantic Ocean, then flew it nonstop across the United States-both firsts for a woman.Introduced in 1927, the Vega was the first product of designer Jack Northrop and Allan Loughead's Lockheed Aircraft Company. Sturdy, roomy, streamlined and fast, the innovative Vega became favored by pilots seeking to set speed and distance records. It sported a cantilever (internally braced) one-piece spruce wing and a spruce veneer monocoque fuselage (a molded shell without internal bracing), which increased overall strength and reduced weight. A NACA engine cowling and wheel pants reduced drag and provided streamline style.Amelia Earhart bought this 5B Vega in 1930 and called it her "Little Red Bus." After a nose-over accident later that year, the fuselage was replaced and strengthened to carry extra fuel tanks. Three types of compasses, a drift indicator, and a more powerful engine were also installed.On May 20-21, 1932, flying in this airplane, Earhart became the first woman (and the only person since Charles Lindbergh) to fly nonstop and alone across the Atlantic Ocean. She took off from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, Canada and landed 15 hours and 2,026 miles later in a field near Londonderry, Northern Ireland. The feat made Earhart an instant worldwide sensation and proved she was a courageous and able pilot.Later that year, Earhart flew the Vega to another record. On August 24-25, she made the first solo, nonstop flight by a woman across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey. The flight covered a distance of 2,447 miles and lasted about 19 hours.Earhart sold her 5B Vega to Philadelphia's Franklin Institute in 1933 after purchasing a new Lockheed 5C Vega. The Smithsonian acquired it in 1966.

Details

  • Title: Lockheed Vega 5B, Amelia Earhart
  • Physical Dimensions: Wingspan: 12.49 m (41ft.)Length: 8.38 m (27ft. 6in.)Height: 2.49 m (8ft. 2in.)Weight: Empty 748kg. (1,650lbs.)Gross: 1,315-1,450kg. (2,900-3,200lbs.)
  • External Link: https://airandspace.si.edu/collection/id/nasm_A19670093000
  • Medium: Fuselage: wooden monocoqueWings: wooden cantilever

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