The Lockheed Y1C-17 'Speed Vega' was a single example of the DL-1B Vega purchased by the USAAC, and was lost in 1931 during an attempt to break a transcontinental speed record.
The DL-1B was an improved version of the Lockheed Vega, produced during the brief period in which the Detroit Aircraft Company owned Lockheed. It was a high wing cabin monoplane, normally powered by a 450hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp radial engine, with wooden wings and a duralumin fuselage. The DL-1B was designed for use as a six passenger transport aircraft.
The first Lockheed designed aircraft to enter USAAC service was a DL-1, which became the Y1C-12 and remained in use until May 1935.
The second was a modified DL-1B, which became the Y1C-17. This aircraft was given a more powerful 500hp Wasp engine, a wire braced spatted main undercarriage and a faired doughnut tailwheel. It was built with four passenger tanks. It was completed in December 1930 and allocated the military serial number 31-408.
When it entered service the Y1C-17 was the fastest aircraft in the Army Air Corps, and so it was chosen for an attempt at the eastbound nonstop transcontinental record. The four seats were removed and extra fuel tanks installed in the cabin.
The task was entrusted to Captain Ira C. Eaker. He took off from Long Beach, California on 10 March 1931, and managed to complete 1,740 miles before one of the fuel lines clogged over Tolu, Kentucky. He was forced to make an engine-off landing, and although he got down safely, the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. At the time he had covered 1,740 miles in 7hr 20min, at an average speed of 237mph, putting him somewhat behind schedule - the record then stood at 10hr 19min from Los Angeles to New York, at a speed of over 270mph.
Engines: Pratt & Whitney R-1340-17 Wasp
Wing span: 41ft
Length: 27ft 6in
Height: 8ft 2in
Empty weight: 2,595lb
Gross weight: 4,720lb
Maximum speed: 221mph
Cruising speed: 190mph
Service ceiling: 26,000ft
Normal range: 600 miles
Payload: 4 passengers