Angel Lascurain y Osio (March 26, 1882, December 24, 1957) was a prominent Mexican aeronautical engineer. After an interesting pre-war career (outlined here, and in translation here) he designed one more machine post-war.
This was the 1957 Lascurain Aura. The Aura was at the time the most advanced design from the tiny Mexican aircraft industry, but only one was built. It was lost in a fatal accident that killed the test pilot and also the designer Lascurain - undoubtedly a key reason the machine is not more widely known.
Lascurain's aircraft was an ambitious project: to provide Mexico with a twin-engine aircraft with capacity for 14 passengers able to operate on short routes at high altitude and off rudimentary runways. He called it 'Aura' (Dawn) and it was equipped with two 245 hp Jacobs engines enabling a cruising speed of 200 km/h (125mph).
Tragically, during a test flight on 24 December 1957, Lascurain decided to accompany the test pilot, one Carlos Castillo Segura. On take off the Aura's engines stopped and the pilot tried to turn back to the runway, but the landing gear hit a ditch, causing the aircraft to crash and the death of their two occupants Lascurain and Castillo.
A remarkable insight into this unique aircraft is this five minute film, which shows rare detail of the machine, and gives, I think, a flavour of the excitement and optimism of the designer and pilot - featured as two subjects in this movie.
What would have happened if there had not been this tragic crash? The Aura has the look of a Lockheed 10 or Beech 18 but with a fixed tricycle undercarriage, and a thick wing (incorporating baggage containers, seen in the film, just like the Lockheed 10). The fuselage interior seems narrow (for two rows of seats) but may have been viable.
It would have been difficult to have been competitive with the war-surplus light transports available, and bigger aircraft like the DC-3. One thinks of another fixed-gear specialised postwar feederliner (the DHA Drover) that found it difficult to expand its niche into a profitable space.
Aesthetically, the design has some lovely cues, with a delicate tail 'signature' and a curvaceous structure, although the nose seems a little stumpy, and I'm nonplussed as to the purpose of the wingtip blocks. It would have been a complex aircraft to build, although perhaps with simple systems.
But who knows? The crash brought a remarkable designer's life to a premature end, and also ended the dream of a successful specialised Mexican airliner.
[With thanks to 'aguilanegra4' on YouTube, and 'Kwinopal' on the Key Forum, the latter bringing the aircraft to my attention, and posting the attached images in this thread.]