Lockheed L-188 Electra

The interior of the Lockheed Electra, as designed by Jean Friedkin. (PSA/San Diego Air & Space Museum)
The interior of the Lockheed Electra, as designed by Jean Friedkin. (PSA/San Diego Air & Space Museum)
N175PS, seen in delivery colors at Burbank. (Jon Proctor)
N175PS, seen in delivery colors at Burbank. (Jon Proctor)
A snowy day in Lake Tahoe. (via Jon Proctor)
A snowy day in Lake Tahoe. (via Jon Proctor)
N171PS seen in the short-lived experimental tail colors, in November 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS seen in the short-lived experimental tail colors, in November 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N175PS, seen in Burbank being marshaled. (Lockheed-Martin Corporation, via Jon Proctor)
N175PS, seen in Burbank being marshaled. (Lockheed-Martin Corporation, via Jon Proctor)
N171PS caught before landing at LAX, March 1977. (Frank Duarte, Jr.)
N171PS caught before landing at LAX, March 1977. (Frank Duarte, Jr.)
N172PS shown in SAN, in original colors, on November 18, 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N172PS shown in SAN, in original colors, on November 18, 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N308D, ex-PSA N175PS, caught while sitting in Tucson between operators. (Kevin Trinkle)
N308D, ex-PSA N175PS, caught while sitting in Tucson between operators. (Kevin Trinkle)
N171PS caught on short final to SAN. (Frank Duarte)
N171PS caught on short final to SAN. (Frank Duarte)
N171PS spotted at SAN on November 18, 1963, between flights. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS spotted at SAN on November 18, 1963, between flights. (Jon Proctor)
N6118A seen on departure from the SAN base in October 1978. (Frank Duarte)
N6118A seen on departure from the SAN base in October 1978. (Frank Duarte)
N6106A at Lake Tahoe, during a rare June 1975 snowstorm. (Clint Groves)
N6106A at Lake Tahoe, during a rare June 1975 snowstorm. (Clint Groves)
N6106A caught taxiing in the late 1970's. (Postcard, unknown photographer)
N6106A caught taxiing in the late 1970's. (Postcard, unknown photographer)
N6106A waiting between flights at SAN. (George Hamlin)
N6106A waiting between flights at SAN. (George Hamlin)
N174PS caught in San Francisco, 1964. (Mel Lawrence)
N174PS caught in San Francisco, 1964. (Mel Lawrence)
N6130A caught landing. (via Sara Gradwohl)
N6130A caught landing. (via Sara Gradwohl)
N171PS awaiting departure at BUR in 1977. (Ellis Chernoff)
N171PS awaiting departure at BUR in 1977. (Ellis Chernoff)
N171PS sitting at the gate in BUR, March 1976. (Ellis Chernoff)
N171PS sitting at the gate in BUR, March 1976. (Ellis Chernoff)
N172PS at the gate in LAX, April 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N172PS at the gate in LAX, April 1963. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS on a snowy day in Lake Tahoe. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS on a snowy day in Lake Tahoe. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS at the terminal in SAN, in June 1960. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS at the terminal in SAN, in June 1960. (Jon Proctor)
N6106A lands at Lake Tahoe. (Manuel Kolb)
N6106A lands at Lake Tahoe. (Manuel Kolb)
N6130A between flights at LAX. (John Stewart)
N6130A between flights at LAX. (John Stewart)
Jean Friedkin poses in the PSA lounge before delivery. (PSA)
Jean Friedkin poses in the PSA lounge before delivery. (PSA)
The interior of PSA's lounge. (PSA Photo, PSA Magazine 12/87)
The interior of PSA's lounge. (PSA Photo, PSA Magazine 12/87)
N173PS pauses between flights, on january 16, 1966. (Lawrence Smalley via Jon Proctor)
N173PS pauses between flights, on january 16, 1966. (Lawrence Smalley via Jon Proctor)
N172PS at San Jose, late 1960's. (Aviation Photography of Miami)
N172PS at San Jose, late 1960's. (Aviation Photography of Miami)
N172PS in San Francisco, CA. (John Stewart)
N172PS in San Francisco, CA. (John Stewart)
N171PS in a short-lived experimental scheme in 1961. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS in a short-lived experimental scheme in 1961. (Jon Proctor)
N171PS on a pre-delivery promotional shot. (Lockheed Martin)
N171PS on a pre-delivery promotional shot. (Lockheed Martin)

In 1958, Kenny realized that PSA would need new equipment to remain competitive, as the DC-4s were aging rapidly. After looking at the Caravelle, and failing to arrange financing, Friedkin turned to the Lockheed Electra and placed an order for three new aircraft.

Financing was still a problem, as Friedkin could pay for the initial deposit but nothing else. After much searching, he found Barron Hilton (of the hotel fame) was willing to finance the first three aircraft and engines under a lease arrangement. Hilton formed ElectraHilt corporation as the financing vehicle, lending PSA more credibility.


First flight airmail sleeve. (Webmaster collection)

Electra deliveries happened late in 1959, with the DC-4s rapidly pulled out of service. The Electra was the perfect aircraft for PSA, and cut flight times dramatically over the three-city network. PSA was now even more competitive with arch-rivals United and Western.

After the tragic Electra crashes, a meeting between FAA administrator Elwood "Pete" Quesada and operating airlines occurred. The meeting was quite boisterous, with Northwest's Don Nyrop advocating a grounding. All the argument ceased when a female voice was heard, saying "We're opposed to the grounding". Quesada said only airlines operating the Electra were allowed to attend, with a reply "I'm the Vice President of PSA, and we oppose the grounding." It was Jean Friedkin. Quesada apologized, and the meeting continued. Jean Friedkin was the only female vice-president of an airline at the time.

As PSA's traffic grew, they could afford additional aircraft. The fourth aircraft was the first prototype, refurbished by Lockheed. It was the only A-model in the fleet. The fifth and sixth aircraft were repossessed from their original owner by Lockheed, and sold to PSA after overhaul.

In 1975, PSA started service to Lake Tahoe airport. To do this, they bought/leased 4 Electras (again!), but kept them in service only when needed to serve Tahoe, which is unsuitable for 727s. Service to Lake Tahoe directly ended in 1979, and the Electras were retired permanently.

The fleet statistics listed below are from PSA archives. They do not correspond with what I have seen in production list books. In this case, I have elected to use PSA data over the production list data.



Flt #RegistrationTypeMSNLNHistory
72N6130AL-188-A1121American 'Flagship San Francisco' 02/12/1960 - 04/23/1969
McCulloch 4/23/69-10/29/75
PSA 'Toto' 10/29/1975 - 03/19/1979
Evergreen Intl N5532 3/19/79-4/23/81
Galaxy Airlines 8/83
CR Reno, NV 1/21/85
73N6118AL-188-A1072American 'Flaghsip Hartford' 07/25/1959 - 05/15/1968
McCulloch 05/15/1968 - 11/17/1977
PSA 'Prince' 11/17/1977 - 02/07/1979
Evergreen Intl N5534 2/7/79-9/9/83
Argentine Navy 6-P-104 9/9/83-
74N6106AL-188-A1028American 'Flagship Dallas' 01/27/1959 - 01/18/1968
McCulloch 01/18/1968 - 01/18/1978
LT PSA 04/01/1975 - 06/01/1975
PSA 1/18/78-5/1/79 'Annie' 01/18/1978
Honduran Air Force HR-EMA 8/1/79, Stored 08/01/1979 - 10/04/2011
Air Spray Canada C-GNPB 10/04/2011
171N171PSL-188-C1091PSA 11/06/1959 - 08/29/1968
Holiday N971HA 10/16/68-6/75
PSA (FLN 071, 'Cindy') 08/26/1975 - 02/15/1979
Evergreen Intl N5539 3/1/79-/84
Channel Express G-CEXS 10/90-3/03, for sale
Air Spray C-GZCF 5/6/03 "90"
172N172PSL-188-C1109PSA 11/30/1959 - 03/07/1969
Bill Murphy Buick 5/20/70 LT Holiday Flamingo
Bluegrass Ventures LT Flamingo 12/28/1973 - 05/01/1974
MCA Leasing 6/19/74-5/75 LT Guyana
LACSA TI-LRN 'Cocon' 12/76-7/6/77
Hawaiian N340HA 8/7/78-9/2/80
Zantop 9/2/80-, BU YIP 6/08
173N173PSL-188-C1110PSA 12/09/1959 - 05/14/1968
Universal Airlines N862U 5/14/68-5/5/72
ONA N289F 06/28/1972 - 04/19/1974
Zantop 4/25/74
Lynden Air Cargo /95-/98
Renown Aviation /98, WFU ROW
Segers Avtn SA 4/02, not seen since
174N174PSL-188-A1001Lockheed 12/06/1957 - 05/11/1961
PSA 05/11/1961 - 10/22/1968
Holiday 10/22/68-/75 10/22/1968 - 01/01/1975
BU Oakland 1975
175N175PSL-188-C1130Capital N181H NTU
US Navy 7/60-1/26/61
PSA 01/31/1962 - 02/29/1968
King Resources N595KR 2/29/68-5/5/72
Omni AC sales 5/15/72 LT NCAR 5/18/73
NCAR N308D 12/1/75-2/01, Neptune Aviation 2/04-11/06
Air Spray C-FLXT 11/06-, still in NCAR c/s
376N376PSL-188-C1133Capital N182H NTU
Sports Aloft N181H 1/31/62-12/27/62 (repo)
PSA 05/17/1963 - 05/24/1968
Universal N863U 5/24/68-5/5/72
ONA N290F 5/28/72-4/26/74
Zantop 4/26/74-, WFU YIP
LT Hawaiian 4/26/77-10/78