Online Extras

E-mail Article to a FriendPrint ArticleBookmark and Share

Northrop Alpha: Gateway to modern aviation

By Mark Hembree
Published: November 16, 2012

To 21st-century viewers, Jack Northrop’s Alpha mail and passenger plane looks quirky and primitive. However, its 1930 debut marked the appearance of a seminal design that would lead to permanent progress in aeronautics and such famous airframes as the DC-2, DC-3, and SBD Dauntless.


Until the late 1920s, Northrop was working with the Lockheed brothers (neé Loughead). He and Gerrard Vultee had designed the Lockheed Vega, a popular, speedy, and durable plane of wood construction that was introduced in 1928.


Northrop, Lockheed’s chief engineer, had even bigger ideas — including a nascent obsession with the “flying wing” — but Lockheed was happy with the Vega and more inclined to develop it further.

Subscriber Only Content
You are currently not logged in. This article is only available to FineScale Modeler magazine subscribers.
Already a subscriber to FineScale Modeler magazine?
If you are already a subscriber to FineScale Modeler magazine you must log into your account to view this article. If you do not have an account you will need to register for one. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.
Login Register
Non-subscribers, Subscribe TODAY and save!
Current Issue
SUBSCRIBE TODAY and get 10 issues of FineScale Modeler magazine PLUS these great online benefits:
  • Search more than 1,300 model kit reviews
  • Receive early access to the latest model kit reviews
  • Search more than 13,000 product listings in our Modeling Products Directory (updated weekly)
  • View our database of helpful modeling tips
  • View bonus model kit photos not published in the magazine
  • Access how-to stories and online exclusives
  • Post comments in the forum
  • Watch videos
  • Receive our e-mail newsletter
  • Manage your account online
Get Our Free Newsletter
Get our twice-monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox
Expand Ribbon
close logo