Wiley Post Lockheed Model 9E Orion Explorer
First Albuquerque Visit: 1935
The Lockheed Explorer was the least successful wooden airplane design produced by the Lockheed Aircraft Company. Lockheed used the Vega fuselage and combined it with a cantilevered low wing. A seat for a single pilot was located in an open cockpit behind the wings.
The Lockheed Model 9 Orion was a single-engine passenger aircraft built in 1931 for the commercial airline industry. Designed by Richard A. von Hake, the Orion was one of the fastest aircraft of that time and it was the last of the wood aircraft produced by the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.
The Orion Explorer was a modified Lockheed Model 9E. The 9E had its damaged wing replaced with the wing of crashed Explorer 7 by aviator Wiley Post. Post also equipped the aircraft with a 600 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H1 engine. The aircraft could also be configured to have fixed landing gear or floats.
Wiley Post along with humorist Will Rogers used the Orion Explorer, N-2283, for an attempt at a round-the-world flight in 1935. Post and Rogers stopped in Albuquerque for several days of fishing at Eagle Nest Lake on their way to Alaska on July 31, 1935. During the visit in Alaska, the aircraft, which was nose-heavy, crashed shortly after takeoff near Point Barrow after the engine failed on August 15, 1935, taking the lives of both Post and Rogers.
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