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In 1954 American Airlines was in the market for a 75 to 100 passenger for its short to medium range domestic routes. In response Lockheed developed the low wing L-188 Electra powered by four sleek turboprops instead of the usual large radial engines or jet turbines. The combination of engine and the Hamilton Standard propeller offered a much more reliable and fuel efficient aircraft that could travel at 375 mph for 2000 miles at an altitude of 20,000 – 25,000 feet. When production ended in 1961 there had been 170 Electras completed.
1929 saw what was to become the birth of Eastern Air Lines when Clement Keys purchased Pitcairn Aviation. Next it became Eastern Air Transport and later Eastern Air Lines. In 1959 Eastern became the first air line to fly the new Lockheed L-188 Electra. Eastern offered an “all first-class service” with the aircraft wearing the famous “Golden Falcon” paint scheme. The two-tone blue Eastern emblem represented the fact they flew both day and night. Eastern was the last major US carrier to operate the Electras retiring them in 1977 after carrying an estimated 27,000,000 passengers.