1913, Allan and Malcolm Loughhead flew their first plane over San
Francisco Bay and were soon in the airplane business. The company
they started was reorganized in 1926 and established as the Lockheed
Corporation in 1932. Amelia Earhart flew its new Lockheed
Vega across the Atlantic. It was only the second such
non-stop flight - the first being the famous flight of Charles Lindberg
- and the first by a woman. The fight resulted in worldwide
Kelly Johnson came to work for Lockheed
Aircraft Company in 1935 as Lockheed's 36th employee. This was probably
the company's single smartest move in its entire history. He became the
company's chief designer. When World War II broke out Lockheed supplied
the U. S. armed forces and Allies with various aircraft, P-38 Lighting,
Hudson Bomber, Model 14, Constellation, as well as B-17s as part of a
consortium. It became the fifth largest manufacturer of aircraft
in the United States. The profits of these efforts allowed Lockheed to
indulge in substantial research and development. The contract for
the first U. S. operational jet aircraft was the impetus for Lockheed
management to allow Kelly to start a research and development department
that became the now famous Skunk Works that developed everything from
the U-2 spy plane to space vehicles. Although the main thrust of
the company has been toward highly advanced military aircraft, Lockheed
also built passenger planes.
In 1995, the Lockheed Corporation merged with the
Martin Marietta Corporation to form the Lockheed-Martin Corporation.
Although Lockheed is famous for its Skunk Works that produced such
leading edge aircraft as the U-2 spy plane and the F-104 Star Fighter,
shown above, the company has also produced some great commercial
of the mid 1960s
L-1049 Super Constellation.
Regarded by many as the most beautiful airplane every built.