Many will remember the Lockheed Vega owned for years by AAA Founder and President, Robert Taylor.
The Vega in Rick Barter's shop
That particular Vega, NC12288, was a DL-1B Special, sn # 161. NC12288 was one of nine metal fuselage Vega’s built and it was originally assembled from leftover parts while Lockheed was in receivership in 1933. The original owner was John Morrell Meat Packing Co. here in Ottumwa, Iowa where the airplane was operated as the "Morrell Pride II”. In later years it was owned/operated by the likes of Braniff, Texas & Northern Airways of Sioux City, IA, Green Construction Co (another Iowa based company), where it was used to haul personnel/equipment during the Alcan Hwy project, Northern Consolidated and others.
The airplane was purchased as a basket case by APM Founder J.G. “Jack” Lowe in 1964 with RLT beginning restoration shortly thereafter. A totally new wing was constructed, taking Lyle & Tom Hoselton (both deceased) four years of full time effort to accomplish that daunting task.
Original trim and markings
The Vega was finished and test flown in the summer of 1968 but unfortunately Jack passed away a few months before. Ownership of the airplane then passed to RLT and it was flown but occasionally over the next fifteen years.
RLT sold the Vega in 1983 and the new owner had very little success in being able to operate the aircraft safely. It was severely damaged and later sold to John Magoffin of Tucson, AZ. John started extensive repairs with the fuselage being moved to Eloy, AZ and the wing being shipped to John LaNoue, builder of the Vickers Vimy project, in Novato, CA.
The project languished for a time then enter Rick Barter, Skywords Aviation LLC, Avra Valley Airport, Marana, AZ. The Vega was transported to Rick’s shop where he has been hard at work on the restoration.
As can be seen by the attached picture, the fuselage has been straightened, repaired and is back on the gear. In recent correspondence Rick indicates that “the tail is ready for color and today I am putting the surface tapes on the wing”.
On the delivery flight to new owner, Dec 30th, 1983. Well known airshow pilot, Dave Dacy, was the delivery pilot.
It’s hoped that John and Rick will be able to have the Vega flying in time to participate in the AAA/APM Invitational Fly-in, Aug 29th - Sep 3rd, 2012. The Vega would certainly be a key airplane in our “Cow Pastures to Commercial Carriers” celebration.