The Lockheed Model 33 Little Dipper, also known as Air Trooper, was an American single-seat monoplane, designed by John Thorp and built by Lockheed at Burbank, California. Flown in 1944 and offered to the Army as a "flying motorcycle", it was evaluated as a potential entry for Lockheed into the civilian market, but the program was cancelled before the second prototype was completed.
|Model 33 Little Dipper|
|Role||Single-seat utility monoplane|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||August 1944|
|Developed into||Thorp T-211|
The design of the Model 33 originated with a private venture for a two-seat light aircraft by John Thorp, a Lockheed engineer. In April 1944, the company agreed to build the aircraft as the Lockheed Model 33. Due to wartime restrictions on materials, the company gained the interest of the United States Army in the aircraft as an "aerial flying motorcycle" to equip a "flying cavalry" under the name Air Trooper. The Army, willing to entertain the concept, authorized Lockheed to build two prototypes of the Model 33.
The Model 33 was of ordinary light-aircraft design, with a low-mounted cantilever monoplane wing and conventional empennage; powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Franklin 2A4-49 engine, it was fitted with a fixed tricycle landing gear and proved to have STOL performance.
The Model 33 prototype first flew in August 1944. The handling characteristics of the aircraft were considered satisfactory, but the Army had lost interest in the concept, despite the prototype demonstrating its performance by landing and taking off again in the courtyard of the Pentagon. Lockheed had intended to market the type as an inexpensive light aircraft on the civilian market as the Little Dipper; with the military interest having evaporated, the prototype and the partially completed second aircraft were scrapped in January 1947 for tax reasons.
Data from Francillion 1982
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lockheed Model 33 Little Dipper.|
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era