Northrop 4A Alpha

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    Northrop 4A Alpha

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

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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.