Johnson, Clarence Leonard (Kelly)

SUBJECT AREA: Aerospace
[br]
b. 27 February 1910 Michigan, USA
d. 21 December 1990 Burbank County, California, USA
[br]
American aircraft designer responsible for many outstanding Lockheed aircraft over a period of almost forty-eight years.
[br]
The large and successful Lockheed Aircraft Corporation grew out of a small company founded by Allan and Malcolm Loughhead (pronounced "Lockheed") in 1913. The company employed many notable designers such as Jack Northrop, Jerry Vultee and Lloyd Stearman, but the most productive was "Kelly" Johnson. After studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Michigan, Johnson joined Lockheed in 1933 and gained experience in all the branches of the design department. By 1938 he had been appointed Chief Research Engineer and became involved with the design of the P-38 Lightning twin-boom fighter and the Constellation airliner. In 1943 he set up a super-secret research and development organization called Advanced Development Projects, but this soon became known as the "Skunk Works": the name came from a very mysterious factory which made potions from skunks in the popular comic strip Li'lAbner. The first aircraft designed and built by Johnson's small hand-picked team was the XP-80 Shooting Star prototype jet fighter, which was produced in just 143 days: it became the United States' first production jet fighter. At this stage the Skunk Works produced a prototype, then the main Lockheed factories took over the production run. The F-104 Starfighter and the C-130 Hercules transport were produced in this way and became widely used in many countries. In 1954 work began on the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft which was so secret that production was carried out within the Skunk Works. This made the headlines in 1960 when one was shot down over Russia. Probably the most outstanding of Johnson's designs was the SR-71 Blackbird of 1964, a reconnaissance aircraft capable of flying at Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound). Johnson was not only a great designer, he was also an outstanding manager, and his methods—including his "14 Rules"—have been widely followed. He retired from the Lockheed board in 1980, having been involved in the design of some forty aircraft.
[br]
Principal Honours and Distinctions
National Medal of Freedom (the highest United States award for a civilian) 1964.
Further Reading
Obituary, 1991, Aerospace (Royal Aeronautical Society) (March).
B.R.Rich, 1989, "The Skunk Works" management style: it's no secret', Aerospace (Royal Aeronautical Society) (March) (Rich was Johnson's successor).
Details of Lockheed aircraft can be found in several publications, e.g.: R.J.Francillon, 1982, Lockheed Aircraft since 1913, London.
JDS

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kelly Johnson (engineer) — Clarence Kelly Johnson Clarence Leonard Kelly Johnson Born February 27, 1910(1910 02 27) Ishpeming, Michigan, USA Died …   Wikipedia

  • Kelly — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Kelly peut être : Sommaire 1 Patronymes 1.1 Kelly 1.2 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clarence Johnson — Clarence Leonard Kelly Johnson (February 27, 1910 – December 21, 1990) was an aircraft engineer and aeronautical innovator. As a member and first team leader of the Lockheed Skunk Works, Johnson worked for more than four decades and is said to… …   Wikipedia

  • Clarence Johnson — Clarence “Kelly” Johnson neben einem Modell der Lockheed Electra im Windkanal, 1933 Clarence Leonard “Kelly” Johnson (* 27. Februar 1910; † 21. Dezember 1990) war ein US amerikanischer Flugzeugkonstrukteur. Leben Johnson wurde als Sohn… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Clarence "Kelly" Johnson — Clarence Johnson Clarence Johnson devant une maquette de l’Electra Clarence Leonard « Kelly » Johnson, né à Ishpeming (Michigan) le 27 novembre 1910 de parents suédois, mort le 21 décembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clarence “Kelly” Johnson — Clarence Johnson Clarence Johnson devant une maquette de l’Electra Clarence Leonard « Kelly » Johnson, né à Ishpeming (Michigan) le 27 novembre 1910 de parents suédois, mort le 21 décembre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Clarence Johnson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Johnson. Clarence Johnson devant une maquette de l’Electra …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kelly Johnson — See: Johnson, Clarence Leonard …   Biographical history of technology

  • Johnson, Kelly — ▪ American aeronautical engineer byname of  Clarence Leonard Johnson   born Feb. 27, 1910, Ishpeming, Mich., U.S. died Dec. 21, 1990, Burbank, Calif.       highly innovative American aeronautical engineer and designer.  Johnson received his B.S.… …   Universalium

  • David Kelly — Kelly Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Kelly peut être : Sommaire 1 Patronymes 1.1 Kelly 1.2 …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.