P-38

YF-12A

SR-71 BLACKBIRD

CLARENCE L. "KELLY" JOHNSON

Few innovators have designed such an incredible number of legendary aircraft over the years as Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. Born in a poor town in northern Michigan, Johnson got his start at Lockheed during his early 20s and quickly won the trust of his colleagues with his visionary ideas and incisive insight. He first assisted in the creation of the Lockheed Electra and a few years later produced one of his most valuable aircraft of World War II — the uniquely crafted P-38. As the head of the super-secret Skunk Works, Johnson would go on to spearhead the design of aircraft like the P-80, the T-33, the F-104, the P-2V, the U-2 spy plane, and the ultra-fast SR-71. Despite his at times brash and dominant demeanor, Johnson’s intellect and direct managerial style commanded respect far and wide. All in all, Johnson lent his expertise to the creation of more than 40 aircraft designs over his decades-long career. One of Lockheed’s former test pilots summed up Johnson’s legacy well when he said that Johnson’s designs “kept us out of World War III.”

A-12 & D-21 SUPER SONIC DRONE

LOCKHEED ELECTRA

P-80

A-12

F-104 STARFIGHTER

T-33 SHOOTING STAR 

PV-2 HARPOON

U-2 DRAGON LADY