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From live passengers to dead ones

October 6, 1936, National Airways, based out of Boston, Mass., received Lockheed Electra 10A 1069 - registration NC16055. The following year, Boston-Maine/Central Vermont Airways purchased National and its assets and the Lockheed Electra was transferred over. (Fun fact: one of Boston & Maine Airways' founders was Amelia Earhart who became its vice-president in the early 1930s.) Three years later the airline changed its name to Northeast Airlines. Following World War II, Electra 1069 was sold the CAA in 1947, registration N244, having been replaced by the DC-3; by 1951-1952 the Electra had ended up in Chicago flying for Gibbons-O'Keefe Funeral Home which offered services as an air hearse and ambulance.

Just a year later, on February 20, 1953, Lockheed Electra 1069, now flying as N5199N, crashed in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The day before the accident, the Electra took off from Chicago for Ft. Myers, Florida, where it was to pick up a patient before returning to Kalamazoo, Mich. The trip made several stops on its route due to poor weather conditions. Shortly before crashing into a rain soaked Spartanburg field, the aircraft was reported to have been circling alarmingly low over Asheville, N.C., in a heavy rainstorm. News reports and eyewitness accounts vary as to what happened next; some say the aircraft came close to hitting a radio tower before it crashed, others say it DID hit the tower. Regardless, the plane came down in a field, killing both crewmembers; Charles E. Needham, pilot, and Kenneth A. Hughes, co-pilot. No cause for the crash was ever found.

By late November 1940 Boston-Maine/Central Vermont Airways had changed their name to Northeast Airlines

Newspaper ad in the Chicago Tribune for the Gibbons-O'Keefe Funeral Home, featuring the Lockheed Electra prominently in their ad.

A picture of the Electra following the crash in Spartanburg, S.C. (The Greenville News, Sunday, February 22, 1953)

8mm video footage of Lockheed Electra N16055, flying for Boston-Maine/Central Vermont Airways taxiing and taking off.


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