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Sun, Mar 31, 2013

Warbirds And Legends Event To Feature Vintage TWA Story

Lockheed Model 12 In TWA Livery Joining The Event

The year was 1932. America struggled to launch airline service that could reliably connect major cities. In this time, names like Jack Northrup, Howard Hughes, Donald Douglas, and Paul Richter were industry giants of early airline travel. Paul Richter was an experienced line pilot, but he also held an executive position of the fledgling Transcontinental and Western Airlines (TWA) in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Richter flew the Douglas DC-2, the DC-3, and both the Lockheed Model 12A and the Model 18. Lockheed had built the Model 12A, dubbed the Electra Junior, but also had orders for numerous Model 18s, or Lodestars. “I remember sleeping on those trans cons [transcontinental flights] aboard a DC-3 sleeper many times,” says Ruth Richter, daughter of Paul Richter. “My father took me on numerous trips across the country. It was a fabulous time in history, and I was so fortunate to have been old enough to now remember so many of those flights and the legends that I met growing up with that airline.”

Ruth Richter is also the proud owner of Lockheed N18137, a model 12A that was owned by TWA. It was considered to be her father’s personal company aircraft. “It was love at first sight for me,” says Richter. “I had no choice whatsoever. When it came up for sale a few years ago, I had to own it.” The 12A project has been a labor of love, but it has since rekindled Ruth’s connection with TWA and her father, who left a huge legacy and a warm remembrance for Ruth.

Speaking to us this week from her home in California, Richter spoke in a tone that clearly demonstrated how much she cherished these opportunities to share the TWA story, and her father’s plane, which have remained intact for all of these years. This particular aircraft was built and entered service in July 1937, the same month and year that Amelia Earhart was lost in the Pacific, also flying a Lockheed.

It is with great pleasure that the Gathering of Warbirds and Legends announces that both Ms. Richter and her original Lockheed model 12A will be just one of the rare and unusual featured exhibits proudly displayed where all can have easy access. Ms. Richter is looking forward to showing her plane and meeting the many friends and well-wishers of TWA and the early airline industry.

In addition to the 12A, the gathering will also feature a pair of Lodestars (Lockheed L18), as well as a pair of Lockheed PV-2 aircraft. The organizers of this gathering have made this opportunity to go back in time, and speak directly with all of these aviation legends. Ms. Richter looks forward to meeting you, and as always, pictures and autographs are free.

(Images: Top, 1937 photo of a TWA Lockheed Model 12. Bottom, Ruth Richter with Lockheed Model 12.)

FMI: www.WarbirdsandLegends.org


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