Lockheed 9 Orion

Designed and tested in 1930-31, the Orion was the last aircraft built by Lockheed to feature all-wooden construction. The Orion was a single-engine, single-pilot, six-seat passenger plane designed to meet the growing need for commercial light aircraft. Beginning in May 1931, it was adopted by thirteen U.S. airlines, and enjoyed a good reputation for speed and reliability. Unfortunately, in 1934, the Civil Aeronautics Authority passed a requirement that all commercial aircraft feature dual engines and a copilot for safety, and the Orion became obsolete. It continued to be used by private carriers for cargo and mail delivery, and 13 aircraft were supplied to the Spanish Republican air force during the Spanish Civil war. None of these planes survived the war. In fact, of the 35 Orions built, only one example remains in a museum in Switzerland.

The plane had a historical range of 720 miles. The plane uses 20.5 gallons of aviation fuel per hour at routine usage. A full load of fuel costs $24.40.


Lockheed Orion 9D

Subassemblies: Light Fighter-Bomber chassis +3; Light Fighter-Bomber wings +3; 3 retractable wheels +1.

Powertrain: 410-kW aerial HP gasoline engine with 420-kW prop, 122-gallon standard fuel tank, and 4,000-kWs battery.

Occ.: 1 CS, 6 PS Body

Cargo: 1 Body


Armor F RL B T U

Body: 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W

Wings: 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W 2/2W

Wheels: 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3 2/3




Body: Autopilot, navigation instruments, medium radio transmitter and receiver.



Size: 28'x43'x10' Payload: 0.78 tons Lwt.: 2.6 tons

Volume: 312 Maint.: 57 hours Cost: $12,236

HT: 11. HPs: 165 Body, 120 each Wing, 15 each Wheel.

aSpeed: 220 aAccel: 5 aDecel: 17 aMR: 4 aSR: 2

Stall Speed: 57 mph. Take Off Run: 325 yards. Landing Run: 325 yards.

gSpeed: 201 gAccel: 10 gDecel: 10 gMR: 0.5 gSR: 3

Ground Pressure: Very High. 1/8 Off-Road Speed.


Design Notes:

Historical wing area was 294 sf. Design aSpeed was 190 mph. Historical values for wing area and loaded weight were used for performance calculations. Design loaded weight was lowered 7% to the historical; design payload was reduced 633 lbs. to the historical value as well. Historical cost of a new plane was $25,000.



The Orion 9 was the first production model with a 313-kW engine. 14 built.

The Orion 9A Special has a 336-kW engine and minor revisions. 1 built.

The Orion 9B were two planes delivered to Swiss Air with 429-kW engines.

The Orion 9C was a single conversion of an Altair DL-2A.

The Orion 9E were three planes constructed with 336-kW engines.

The Orion 9F was a single executive aircraft built with a 481-kW engine. Another executive plane, the 9F-1, featured a 485-kW engine.

The UC-85 was a single Orion 9D used by the USAF in 1942.

The Orion-Explorer was a single Orion 9E fitted with a 482-kW engine. It was built for a round-the-world flight attempt, but crashed in Alaska, killing both crewmembers.


From the Aerodrome for GURPS

2008 by Jim Antonicic