MIAMI – Today in Aviation, the twin-piston-engined Martin 2-0-2 type aircraft took to the skies for the first time in 1946. The plane was produced for just one year and only 47 were ever built but the airliner went on to fly for 28 years.
Glenn L. Martin had established the Martin company in 1912. It would later merge with the Wright Brothers Wright Company. Martin believed that the Model 2-0-2, also known as the ‘Martin Executive’ would replace the venerable Douglas DC-3.
2-0-2 Vs. DC-3
However, unlike the DC-3, the 2-0-2 had an unpressurised cabin. This made the type less appealing than its rival. It did provide airlines with a range of 635 miles and a larger cabin capable of carrying 40 passengers.
The Martin Executive was powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp radial engines which had high reliability and thus lower maintenance costs. The 2-0-2 also had a max cruising speed of 311mph compared to the DC-3s 230mph.
Pennsylvania Central Airlines became the launch customer for the type when it ordered 35 on November 13, 1945. Colonial Airlines followed suit two weeks later with an order for 20 airframes.
Early orders added up to 137 2-0-2s in January 1947. However delays in production led to a number of carriers cancelling their orders. Northwest (NW) would go on to become the first operator of the type when it introduced it in to service between Minneapolis and Chicago on October 13, 1947.
Featured image: Despite being billed as a replacement for the DC-3, the Martin 2-0-2 sold in limited numbers and the DC-3 remained in service for years after the last 2-0-2 had been retired. (Photo: Bill Larkins, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)