Northrop 4A Alpha

    CCO - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This media is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    IIIF provides researchers rich metadata and image viewing options for comparison of works across cultural heritage collections. More - https://iiif.si.edu

    View Manifest

    View in Mirador Viewer

    Northrop 4A Alpha

    Air transport; mail plane; single engine; mono plane.

    1 of 1

Introduced in 1930, the Northrop Alpha represents a transitional air transport design, a blend of old and new aircraft technology. The Alpha could enclose six passengers in a snug, comfortable cabin, but the pilot remained exposed to the elements. The aircraft was all metal and streamlined, but had fixed landing gear and only one engine.

Designed by John K. "Jack" Northrop, the Alpha was a great step forward in metal aircraft. Many of its features, particularly the multicellular wing design, were later used in the Douglas DC-2 and DC-3. Although more powerful twin-engine aircraft rendered the Alpha obsolete for passenger service, it continued to serve as a fast express cargo plane.

This aircraft was restored by volunteers from Trans World Airlines.