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Forced Down in Alaska's Tundra Wilderness

Delta Airlines received their first Electra 10B, 1049, on December 21, 1935, registration NC14990. The Electras helped to bring the airline out of the barnstorming era, and the company introduced their first ever onboard meal service with their Electra, which consisted of box lunches while the co-pilot served coffee! On July 11, 1942, NC14990 was requisitioned by the USAAF, two months earlier Delta had officially retired their fleet of Lockheed Electra aircraft. While serving the USAAF, the aircraft received registration 42-57219; just under two years later, on May 15, 1944, the Electra was sold to Alaska Airlines where the registration was reverted to NC14990. On July 7, 1945, the aircraft took off from Nome bound for Fairbanks; however, 300 miles from Nome the aircraft ran out of fuel and came down in the wilds of the Alaskan Tundra. Answering the distress signals received from the downed aircraft, the Nome Air Base Search and Rescue flew to the scene in a PBY Catalina flying boat dropping supplies only five hours after the crash. None of the passengers or crew were injured; according to a handful of sources the wreck was abandoned. However, in the early 1960s Midwest Airways purchased the aircraft for spare parts.

Delta's first Lockheed Electra 10B, NC14990

Kodachrome shot of NC14990 in the background with models posing in the foreground

Kodachrome shot

Models posing in front of NC14990

Great Falls Tribune Sunday, July 15, 1945

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