This marketing brochure provides a unique glimpse of the Northrop Alpha. Not only does it provide a good overview of the design, but it also suggests how the manufacturer saw this airplane's place in the world. All performance numbers must of course be taken as manufacturer's marketing claims.
I have converted this brochure to text in the interest of conserving filespace and bandwidth. Corporate logos and several general pictures of the airplane have been omitted. My thanks go to Gerald Landry of the Graduate Aeronautical Laboratory, Califronia Institute of Technology (GALCIT) for providing me with a copy of this brochure.
Ever present in the evolution of civilized man is his search for improved means of travel. In our day this urge is intensified. We inherit not only the desire for perfect transportation but we live under economic laws which oblige us to minimize time and space. As a result we have the airplane. And through countless experiments -- through constant refinements of design -- an almost endless procession of models has brought us from the crude flying machine of yesterday to the fleet, efficient courier of today. In THE NORTHROP ALPHA some wholly new principles in aeronautical engineering are presented. Its design fulfills the most exacting requirements of transportation lines, companies operating private planes, executives and sportsmen.
THE NORTHROP ALPHA - low wing all-metal six pressenger cabin monoplane - sets a new group of standards for efficient airplane transportation. In its combination of speed, safety, comfort and economy it is without equal. Quick take-off -- up to 5,000 feet in less than four minutes -- 145 m.p.h. cruising speed -- 170 m.p.h. or more with open throttle - it combines such performance with wholly new ideals of strength and beauty. Its structural rigidity....stability....and behavior in maneuvers will impress the most critical pilot. * The sturdy NORTHROP ALPHA is positively stable in all directions. Normal recovery occurs without excessive diving speed. Its roomy cabin is comfortable...luxuriously appointed, and offers excellent vision. Moreover, heat and ventilation control as well as insulation against temperature and sound add to the comfort of travel. Conversation can be carried on easily at all times. * To these high standards of performance, safety and comfort, THE ALPHA adds and astonishing economy of maintenance. Because its structure is without auxiliary bracing and is entirely of metal, it requires only a fraction of the usual service. Inspection of controls and power plant is unusually simple. All controls are readily accessible and the engine is so mounted that ample room is provided for the quick servicing of all parts.
Measured by investment plus expense of operation and maintenance, The Northrop Alpha offers brilliant performance with safety and comfort, at surprisingly low cost.
FEATURES OF DESIGN: Observe the efficient beauty of this new, all-metal transport airplane. Conventional from an aerodynamic standpoint, THE NORTHROP ALPHA'S design embodies many structural achievements. * Among outstanding features is the exclusive fabrication method employed for wing and tail surfaces. An entirely new type of flat plate, multi-cellular wing structure is used -- rugged, durable and trouble-free to a degree hitherto unknown. The wing is not easily damaged -- and repairs are readily made. Recent tests by the U.S. Army Air Corps at Dayton, Ohio, proved that this wing structure has a torsional rigidity far superior to any previously tested. * Another important feature of THE ALPHA is the metal moncoque fuselage. Smooth alclad skin with integrally formed longitudinal stiffeners carries the entire fuselage stresses and ring- shaped bulkheads of channel cross-section provide additioinal strength. The whole fuselage is a perfect streamline in form, from engine cowl to tail-cone. * All highly stressed parts and fittings are made of chrome molybdenum steel, heat-treated where advisable. The use of a special design of N.A.C.A. cowl results in unusually low cylinder head, cylinder flange and oil temperatures. Head temperatures are exceptionally low in continuous wide-open flight. The landing gear and tail wheel structures employ conventional oldeo shack absorbers and Edgewater ring springs. * While special interior arrangements can be made to suirt the needs of individual operators, the standards ALPHA model is designed for six passengers and a pilot. The cabin provides more than 120 cubic feet of space and the areas between the firewall and front seat and between the pilot's compartment and the rear seat are available for luggage. * Powered with a standard Pratt and Whitney "Wasp" motor, THE ALPHA has a cruising speed of 145 miles per hour and a useful load capacity of over 1,900 pounds. Its weight empty is 2,590 pounds. Standard tanks are provided for 116 gallons of gasoline and 13 gallons of oil, giving a cruising range of 700 miles or more. GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS Throughout the entire range of flying speeds, stability is positive about all three axis: longitudinal, lateral and directioinal. The smooth and effective coordination of controls, together with the plane's positive stability, permits its operation over long non-stop flights without exhaustion to the pilot. Even strenuous flying conditions do not affect this performance.
Control: Ailerons are very effective and light at high speeds as well as low speeds. The use of the aileron is not accompanied by the usual yaw in the reverse direction. In a stall below 60 miles per hour air speed, the plane still has positive aileron control. Rudder control is good and brakes are not necessary in taxiing. In flying with feet off the rudder, banking causes turns to start easily and with no perceptible sideslip. In flying with rudder only, when a turn is initiated, the plane banks normally with very little skid, and recovers from the bank without the necessity of giving opposite ailerons. Flight is possible for a time with all controls free. Elevator control is satisfactory and light even at high speeds. All controls are effective below stalling speed. * The cockpit installation is ideal. Its unusual roominess will appeal at once to the experienced pilot. Instruments are effectively groupled and insulated from vibration. All controls are rugged and of ball bearing construction, insuring little friction and no lost motion. Engine controls are heavy, solid and accessible. Vision in flight is exceptionally good. The plane flies nose down at cruising speed, enabling the pilot to see over the nose directly ahead.
Brake Installation: The locking hand lever permits running the engine wide open without blocks. Landing can be made with this lever partially on, giving positive differential brake action with the use of the rudder pedals. In taxiing or in landing, the brakes are not necessary unless it is desired to stop in a short space.
Strength Characteristics: THE NORTHROP ALPHA'S strength factors are in excess of those required by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Practically the entire structure and all important parts have been statically load-tested. The empennage, rear fuselaage section and the otehr control members will stand a fifty per cent overload without failure.
Equipment: Standard equipment includes hand inertia starter, navigation lights, rate of climb, and turn and bank indicator in addition to the usual instruments. Special equipment, such as a generator, landing lights, flares and radio can be installed at slight additional cost.
BEHIND the perfection of THE ALPHA lie years of experimentation along proven lines. Its designer, John K. Northrop, entered the field of aviation during the World War. Later, while an engineer with the Douglas Aircraft Company, he was active in the design of some of the world-famous Douglas craft. Subsequently he was one of the founders of the Lockheed Aircraft Company and is the originator of the famous Lockheed Vega and Air Express designs. One of the "Vegas" designed by Northrop made the great flight with Capt. Sir Hubert Wilkins from Point Barrow to Spitzbergen. * In 1928, Mr. Northrop and Mr. W.K. Jay, another former official of the Lockheed Company, likewise a pioneer designer and builder of aircraft as well as a war-time pilot instructor, organized The Avion Corporation -- which later became the Northrop Aircraft Corporation. Several years were spent in the development of a new type of metal fabrication which utilizes modern machine methods of quantity production. The new all-metal NORTHROP ALPHA, with a structure superior to anything heretofore designed, represents the cumulation of tireless and costly experimentation. * Added to the craftsmanship of these pioneers is the reputation and reliability of the nation's largest aircraft builder and operator -- United Aircraft and Transport Corporation -- of which the Northrop Aicraft Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary. * Thus, with its heritage of skilled designing, the NORTHROP ALPHA also assures you the permanent service facilities and the manufacturing integrity which large resources and widespread operations guarantee.
Northrop Alpha NS-1 purchased by Col. Clarence M. Young, Ass't. Secretary, United States Dept. of Commerce, in charge of Aeronatics. (picture omitted).