No. 6627. Northrop Alpha 4A (NR11Y c/n 3)
Aeroplane Photo Supply (APS) Photo No. 1833

Northrop Alpha 4A

04/30/2009. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "This aircraft was one of ten delivered to civil customers, a further three were delivered as C-19s to the USAAC. It was built as a transport fitted with a 420 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340C Wasp engine and could carry a pilot and two passengers. Sold in November 1930 to the US Department of Commerce, Aeronautics Branch in Washington, D.C., it was registered NS1, painted black and orange, and flown by the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, Colonel Clarence M. Young.

On April 16, 1931, it was sold to the Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan, who sold it four days later to National Air Transport of Chicago, Illinois. The aircraft was re-registered NC11Y and flown as a four passenger transport. It was sold to Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) on November 27, 1931, and in February 1932 it was flown to Stearman at Wichita, Kansas for conversion to an Alpha 4A.

It received a 450 hp R-1340SC-1 engine, 'trouser' wheel fairings were fitted, wing span was increased by 2 ft (0.61 m), de-icing equipment was installed on wings and tails, passenger seats were removed and all but two of the cabin windows were covered over. The payload increased from 1,060 to 1,250 lb (481 to 567 kg), and the cruising speed raised by 10 mls (16 km). Assigned fleet number 12, the aircraft was used primarily to transport mail.

TWA sold it to Frederick B. Lee of New York, New York, on April 26, 1935; Lee planned a long-distance world flight and therefore had fitted the aircraft with floats, and marked NR11Y. However, the aircraft was reportedly never registered as NR11Y, while the world flight never materialized, eventually the aircraft was converted back to a landplane, and marked NC11Y again.

Between August 1937 and September 18, 1945, the aircraft was resold several times, before it was purchased by Foster Hannaford of Winnetka, Illinois in a dismantled condition. He intended a restoration, but upon his death in 1971, the aircraft was not ready, subsequently it was bequeathed to the EAA.

In March 1975, 57 TWA volunteers started an eight months restoration at the TWA Technical Service Center at Kansas City, Missouri and in February 1976, the aircraft was presented to the National Air and Space Museum. As of this date, it is on display in the National Mall Building in Washington, D.C."

Created July 7, 2007