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Aviation / Aerospace

Lockheed JetStar

Passenger / VIP Transport Aircraft [ 1960 ]

Originally developed for a United States Air Force requirement, the JetStar became the first business jet to enter service when Lockheed finished it as a civilian marketplace passenger hauler.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The JetStar became the first business jet to enter market service when it was introduced in the early-1960s. The relatively compact luxury-minded aircraft, originally drawn up to satisfy a United States Air Force (USAF) requirement, saw production begin in 1957 and the type went on to see considerable public interest thanks to such high-profile passengers as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra. It also served the primary villain in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger".

JetStar BackGround
The JetStar began life as a private venture by Lockheed to secure a standing USAF requirement for a versatile, high-speed, all-weather utility-minded platform - covering such roles as VIP transport, cargo hauling, target towing, high-speed reconnaissance, and navigator-bombardier training. Two prototypes were constructed to meet these demands and the pair originally fitted 2 x Bristol Siddeley "Orpheus" turbojet engines for power, these engines originating from Britain. The initial flight involving the first prototype took place on September 4th, 1957 and proved the design sound while the second prototype introduced optional streamlined "slipper" tanks at the wings for improved operational ranges.

Issues with securing license production of the British engine led Lockheed to select the Pratt & Whitney JT12 turbojet in its place. Unlike the twin Orpheus engines, it would take a total of four PW engines to drive the aircraft at the expected performance specs. The revised aircraft emerged in 1959 with two engines assigned to each side of the fuselage (paired nacelles). In time, budgetary limitations led to the USAF to axing its larger-scale requirement and this left Lockheed to push its in-development jet platform in the potentially lucrative civilian market.

JetStar Walk-Around
As designed, the aircraft incorporated a short nosecone assembly with good vision out of the side-by-side cockpit. The fuselage was tubular in the typical way and lined with rectangular windows. The wing mainplanes were low-mounted along the fuselage sides and well-swept rearwards for aerodynamic efficiency. The tail unit held the sole vertical tail fin and low-mounted horizontal planes. At the section was also fitted the engines in outboard-held nacelles. The undercarriage was a conventional tricycle arrangement and wholly retractable. Dimensions included an overall length of 60.4 feet, a wingspan of 54.4 feet, and a height of 20.4 feet. Empty weight was 25,000lb against a considerable MTOW of 44,500lb. Internally, a crew of two with one flight attendant carried for optimal operation. The passenger cabin could be arranged to carry eight to ten persons in comfort.©MilitaryFactory.com
The original production model was branded the "JetStar I" and this form carried the aforementioned Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojet engines of 3,300lb thrust each. The intended USAF marks began with the "C-140A" to be used for official flight inspection and this was based largely on the JetStar I production model - five being built for the service. Then followed the "C-140B" which was the passenger-cargo transport form based on the earlier A-model. Five were constructed to the standard. The "VC-140B" was intended as the dedicated VIP passenger model for high-level USAF personnel and based in the B-model series; six being built. The "C-140C" were a pair of JetStars ordered under the United States Navy budget portion (as the "UV-1") but never delivered to the service. The "T-40" was a proposed all-purpose training platform based in the C-140 design - though none were built.

Due to civil airspace noise restrictions, the model "731 JetStar" was formulated by Lockheed as a counter and this involved switching out the 2 x PW engines with 4 x Garret TFE731 turbofan engines - larger external fuel tanks also being introduced at this time as well as more subtle changes being brought along. With the 4 x Garret engine configuration in place, the aircraft reached speeds of 550 miles per hour, cruised at over 500 miles per hour, ranged out to 3,000 miles, and hit a service ceiling up to 43,000 feet. Rate-of-climb was 4,150 feet-per-minute.

The "JetStar II" was another market offering by Lockheed and this variant appeared in 1976 through new-build airframes and carried Garret TFE731-3 turbofan engines with modified external fuel tanks. Production of this mark totaled 40 units.

The AAI FanStar versatile conversion prototype was brought about by American Aviation Industries and was set to offer 2 x General Electric CF34 engines OR the 4 x PW JT12 turbojets OR Garrett TFE731 turbofan engines as need. This offering did not proceed beyond the sole example.

Total production of the JetStar ended in 1979 at which point 204 had been built in all. Global civilian market operators became Canada, Iraq, Mexico, and the United States. In the military sphere, operators went on to include West Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.©MilitaryFactory.com
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Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States

Not in Service.


National flag of Canada National flag of modern Germany National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Libya National flag of Mexico National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of the United States Canada; West Germany; Iran; Iraq; Libya; Mexico; Saudi Arabia; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
General transport functionality to move supplies/cargo or personnel (including wounded and VIP) over range.
Commercial Aviation
Used in roles serving the commercial aviation market, ferrying both passengers and goods over range.
VIP Service
Used in the Very-Important-Person (VIP) passenger transport role, typically with above-average amenities and luxuries as standard.

60.4 ft
(18.40 m)
54.5 ft
(16.60 m)
20.4 ft
(6.22 m)
Empty Wgt
24,747 lb
(11,225 kg)
44,500 lb
(20,185 kg)
Wgt Diff
+19,753 lb
(+8,960 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base Lockheed JetStar production variant)
Installed: 4 x Garrett TFE731-3 turbofan engines developing 3,700lb of thrust each.
Max Speed
550 mph
(885 kph | 478 kts)
42,995 ft
(13,105 m | 8 mi)
2,995 mi
(4,820 km | 8,927 nm)
4,150 ft/min
(1,265 m/min)

♦ MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030

(Showcased performance specifications pertain to the base Lockheed JetStar production variant. Performance specifications showcased above are subject to environmental factors as well as aircraft configuration. Estimates are made when Real Data not available. Compare this aircraft entry against any other in our database or View aircraft by powerplant type)

Supported Types

(Not all ordnance types may be represented in the showcase above)
JetStar - Base Series Name; two prototypes flown with 2 x Bristol Siddeley Orpheus turbojet engines.
JetStar I - Original production model with 2 x Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojet engines.
JetStar II - Revised production model with 4 x Garrett TFE731-1 engines; redesigned external fuel tanks.
JetStar 731 - Modified form with 4 x Garrett TFE731-1 turbofan engines; redesigned external fuel tanks.
C-140A - USAF model based on JetStar I; five examples.
C-140B - USAF mdoel based on C-140A; five examples.
VC-140B - USAF VIP passenger model; based on C-140B; six examples.
C-140C - USN model; two ordered as UV-1, none delivered.
T-40 - Proposed dedicated trainer based on C-140; not built nor adopted.
AAI "FanStar" - Model of 1986; modified JetStar by American Aviation Industries and featuring 2 x GE CF-34 OR 2 x TFE731 engines; single example completed; not adopted.

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Image of the Lockheed JetStar
Image from the Public Domain.

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