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In the Studio
with Richard Louis Newman

At home, in the studio, Richard works on a Lockheed L-188 Electra, applying the first coats of paint to one of four nacelles that house the aircraft's mighty Allison propjet engines. (Please watch this site for more photos from Richard's studio as the Electra nears completion.)

I became interested in the Electra after reading The Electra Story: Aviation's Greatest Mystery, by Robert J. Serling. Even though the Electra was one of the most tested airliners of its day, two unexplainable crashes shortly after it began service in the late 1950's gave the airliner a very bad name. The cause of the crashes was eventually determined, and Lockheed launched a massive recall program through which all Electras underwent extensive wing and engine nacelle modifications to ward off a deadly force known as "whirlmode".

Electra finally earned back her reputation and regained public confidence by delivering comfort, speed and style to all air travelers who entered her spacious cabin. She was known as "a pilot's airplane" by most pilots who flew her, and in the opinion ofthis artist, she was in her own special way, quite beautiful.

Eastern Airlines was the last major U.S airline to operate the Electra in regular passenger service. On November 1, 1977, Eastern retired its last L-188 from the Washington - New York Shuttle.

It's been nearly 22 years since that retirement. I just wanted to see her fly again.

(June, 1998) "Morning Electra", the title of this work, will capture Electra as she might have appeared some twenty years ago, banking in a gentle climb at the will of her captain, while in her cabin, dishes and silverwear clink together delicately as passengers breakfast on steaming scrambled eggs. Breathe deep the aroma of fresh coffee. Look out the windows at the moist, lavender morning passing beneath your feet... Fly away with, Morning Electra!

(August 11, 1998) In this shot you can see how work has progressed since the last photo was posted. The base paints on the fuselage are in, the Eastern lettering is completed, and the number two and four engines have been undercoated. The engine nacelles are proving to be quite a challenge, with their "sugar scoop" air intakes and their complex curves. Next I will begin blending the shades of paint that will bring them to life. The cabin windows along the fuselage are coming along, and if you look closely, you can see the captain's profile beginning to appear through the side cockpit windscreen. Glazing also continues on the clouds.

(February 9, 1999) MORNING ELECTRA is now completed. To see the finished painting and learn more about Electra and how to order MORNING ELECTRA merchandise, click HERE!

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