Very interesting article Dave, I wonder if all five aircraft were converted as planned? I see that the article date was April 1956, which would explain why they even attempted such conversions. This was ten years after the end of the war, so the stock of Lodestars still in service may well have been decreasing, pushing up re-sale prices for the survivors. However Hudsons, apparently being considered unacceptable as commercial airliners for various reasons, were probably dirt cheap, thus making them an attractive proposition. Also mentioned is that the Hamilton conversion turned out an aircraft that was somewhat different to a production Lodestar in that the rear fuselage was rather shallower, having to follow the curve designed for the shorter Lockheed 14. I wonder what sort of conversion was accomplished on the one and only Hudstar? Did the designer of this use the same logic as the later Hamilton conversions? David D
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 17, 2018 23:00:15 GMT 12
Yes it was later than I'd remembered. I was surprised when I finally located the article on Facebook where I had posted it on WIX that it was as long ago as two years since I put it up there. There were several replies and one chap has been trying to research and locate the Hudson Lodestar conversions. It seems that Jacqui Cochrane's estate had one, according to one comment two years ago.
Was there really only "one and only" Hudstar though? It seems there were definitely several conversions, and I wonder if the "one and only" tag is yet another case of misconception by a journalist or enthusiast back in the olden days before the internet when you could not check such facts so easily?
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 18, 2018 9:01:19 GMT 12
Baz on a factory built Lodestar the fuselage sweeps up with a curve where it meets the horizontal tailplane to lift the tail higher than the top of the fuselage. With these ones the tailplane is a different shape and lower.
Phil Nelson says N31G was built as a C-60 and N637IC was an L-18-56, so even though they look the same as N41CW, they were apparently not Hudson-based. They have clearly been modified from the original design though. Sadly N637IC crashed and burned a few years ago.
Yeah, it is not the tail (empennage) as such, it is the built up structure to raise the tailplane mounting to a higher level, not as stylish as the original Lockheed Lodestar design, but obviously just as, if not more efficient. On a slightly different slant, I note that all the three excellent photos posted by Dave H seem to share an awful lot of similar modifications, and all still have Wright Cyclone engines. The nose structure of all three seem the same (longer and more pointy than the original, very like the Howard conversions), although there are two configurations of windscreens, with one looking like the later Howard conversions. The raised tailplane support structure (including the tailcone extension) seems identical on all three, and quite different to the factory built Lodestars. All have semi-clipped rather than pointed wing tips, and the wing trailing edge of all three appear to be non-standard for a Lodestar, not quite bat-wing, but not Hudson either. The long picture windows also suggest the same converter of these three aircraft (along with the noses and tailplane support structures), and I would say they are all Howard conversions of Lodestars (and NOT Hudsons!) The belly line of all three also appears to be identical to a factory stock Lodestar, rather than the more shallow type mentioned in the article published on this thread detailing the Hudson conversions. I would say that all three examples illustrated here are Howard 250s. Apparently the Howard 350 was a strengthened Lodestar powered by a pair of P&W Double Wasps of 2,500 HP each, thus doubling the power. The Lear Learstar was another high performance Lodestar conversion in the USA (fitted with late-model Cyclones of 1425 HP each), and Rausch was another American firm which did major Lodestar upgrades. I am certain that at least one, or possibly more, published books have been devoted to the Lockheed twins, and perhaps one to the Howard conversions. A photograph of the Rausch "Hudstar" appears in the Rene Francillon Lockheed book, page 158 - it appears to have the civil USA identification N387. It has a noticeably flat belly line from about the C of G position till well aft of the passenger entry door, then suddenly curves up again to match the original tail cone - a very odd looking fish. David D
Ah, OK Dave, kinda overlooked that, although I did read it initially -but then promptly forget it! Still it looks very much like a Howard Aero conversion, so can anybody come up with some words of wisdom from any good reference book which reasonable coverage to the Howard rebuilds - perhaps they were running out of original Lodestars by the time this one was converted, as was probably the case with the Hamilton (USA firm) conversions which seem to have started in 1956 Dave D.
But N31G is referred to as a Lodestar, It's owner's website has the following info on it:
"Our Lodestar was built as a C-60A and delivered to the USAAF on December 22, 1942. ... In 1947, the War Asset Corporation sold the Lodestar to Grubb Oil Co., and it was converted to executive configuration. The Lodestar was also owned and operated by Dehli-Taylor Oil Corporation as N4495N. The Lodestar flew as the personal transport for Columbia Gas Transmission's president until 1968. It received many of the popular Dee Howard executive aircraft modification, including panoramic windows, new tail cone, wingtips and nose."
Whereas on several sites the converted Hudson N41CW is referred to as a Lockheed 18-56 Lodestar.
So we have two Lodestars and a Howard 250, all looking the same. Confusing.
And none of them look like the Hudson converted to a lodestar in the actual article about Gordon Hamilton's conversion. That looks like a regular Lodestar, perhaps with a slightly lower tail? We cannot see if the batwings are present. It's a shame we cannot read the serial on the tail.
And of course none of this has cleared up whether Hudson, Lodestar and Ventura wings are all the same basic design.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 18, 2018 19:23:08 GMT 12
Bingo! N41CW was a Lockheed A-29-LO Hudson, and it was owned by Gordon B. Hamilton Co, Tucson, AZ, then To Thomas H. Peterson, Tucson, AZ. and next in 1955 to Giddings Lewis Machine Tool Co, Fond du Lac, WI. December 1956 Converted to a L-18. Completed as a Model 18 Lodestar.
That's the two companies mentioned in the article so N41CW is probably the actual aircraft referred to as the first conversion. It has had several regos too. And it is the very one that Steve Searle's Wirraway Aviation bought and was going to convert back to a Hudson.
So technically up till 2015 there have been two Hudsons flying in the world!