Clarence L. "Kelly" Johnson: From Skunk Works To The Edge Of Space
by Daniel Alef
Kelly Johnson designed the Blackbird, a plane that flew non-stop from London to Los Angeles in less than four hours, outracing the sun and landing four hours before it had taken off, a remarkable feat--and this was more than 35 years ago. Johnson was the innovative genius behind Lockheed's "Skunk Works," and played a leading role in the development of more than forty aircraft, including some of America's most sophisticated planes. In 2003, as part of its commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight, an Aviation Week & Space Technology poll ranked him 8th on its list of the "Top 100 Stars of Aerospace" in the first century of flight, just behind the Wright brothers, Leonardo Da Vinci and Charles Lindbergh. Lockheed's chief engineer once said: "That damned Swede can actually see air." Award-winning author Daniel Alef tells the remarkable tale of the man who garnered 35 major awards for his aviation feats, including the Medal of Freedom, and brought us to the edge of space. [3,846-word Titans of Fortune biographical profile].
- Titans of Fortune Publishing, October 2010
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