W.T. LARKINS COLLECTION
No. 12490. Consololidated 20-A Fleetster (NC13209 cn 2) Transcontinental and Western Air
Photographed at San Francisco, California, USA, by W.T. Larkins

Consololidated 20-A Fleetster

07/31/2014. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The final Fleetster model was the 20-A built for Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA). This featured the larger wing from the 17-A, a bubble canopy over the cockpit with rear decking extending to the tail, fuel capacity increased to two 80 gal (303 l) wing tanks and one 35 gal (132 l) center-section tank, and a swiveling tailwheel in a streamlined fairing (later removed). One of the original Model 20s had been tested by Larry Fritz, a TWA pilot, at Buffalo including a series of loops and rolls to verify the soundness of the parasol wing layout.

As a result, seven 20-As were acquired and these were introduced on September 10, 1932 on a shuttle-type service for the Detroit–Toledo–Fort Wayne–Indianapolis route which was advertised as an 160 mph (257 kmh) schedule. One crashed in January 1935 and the survivors (TWA's last single-engined type) were withdrawn from service a month later. Subsequently, two went to Condor Air Lines of Alameda, California, which operated a sporadic service to Salinas, Monterey, and Sacramento over the next two years, and the three others found their way to Spain. Known locally as La Pantera (panther), one of the Republican aircraft was incorporated into the Nationalist Air Force in 1939.

Despite the several innovative design features of the Fleetster series, the manufacturer never considered the type a great success and of the 26 built, none are known to survive today."

Created July 31, 2014