Manufacturer: Lockheed

Model: 6

Name: Arcturus


Date: 1934

Status: Small production run

Country: United States


Designation: none


Lockheed's history has always been rich in little known types, some secret, some obscure, some even undocumented. A long-time mystery for aviation researchers has finally been solved when the death of a former Burbank employee's only son and the subsequent transfer of his family archives to the Smithsonian brought to light the famously unknown Model 6.

Long thought to be reserved for the DL-1 Speed Vega, the Model 6 designation was in fact assigned to a handsome single seat racer, the Arcturus, which used a fuselage and wings similar to those of the Orion, a Vega tail, and an original enclosed cockpit. Registered as NC398H, this sported constructor's number #86. It seems that the Arcturus crashed on first flight, killing not only the pilot but also some Lockheed employees and that were watching. The accident was such an embarrassment that Lockheed disguised the facts by claiming it was only a normal Vega that had crashed, not wishing to compromise the success of other new projects. Consequently the Arcturus was erased from most records, and only a handful of employees ever heard about it.


I've always loved imagining such fantasy stories and sparkling them with lots of credible details such as serial numbers, dates and such. I do this a lot less nowadays, mostly because I realize what a great source of confusion it could become for future generations happening on my images and articles! Hence my desire to properly document my works here.

The Arcturus was created using a photo of the much larger Orion as a basis (see below right). The tail unit was adapted from that of another Lockheed aircraft of the time, the Vega. For the life of me I can't remember where the cockpit was snatched from!!!

The lack of definitive information on the Model 6 designation was pretty convenient to invent that story... The name of the aircraft was chosen to be in line with all of Lockheed's early products, which carried names of stars and constellations (Vega, Sirius, Orion, Altair).

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