Kelly Johnson
Aircraft Designer - Extraordinaire
A Photo Album

Kelly Johnson
I believe in heroes.  I have quite a few.  Kelly Johnson is one of them.  He was the greatest aircraft designer of all time.  Period.

Besides his aircraft prowess, he was a helluva guy.  A helluva manager.  His airplanes were built in record short time, by tiny workforces, at low cost.

We could learn a lot from him today.......a lot.

   Kelly - 1933

In the University of Michigan wind tunnel with the early Model 10 Electra.  He disputed the Wind Tunnel Lab Report on stability with a single vertical fin, pioneered the trademark Lockheed twin tail design, and got hired by Lockheed.

   Working in Flight Test during Model 10 Electra testing - c. late 1930s

   Kelly and P-38 Fighter Pilot - c.1944

   Kelly with Model of P-80 Shooting Star - c.1948

 Shaking hands with Tony LeVier in the YP-80

   With a line up of P-80 Shooting Stars

   Kelly in the cockpit of an F-104

  Kelly receiving the Collier Trophy for the F-104 from then Vice-President Richard Nixon

   Kelly with his new Jetstar -  September 1957

   First Flight of the Jetstar

   Kelly with Francis Gary Powers in front of a U-2A

   Kelly in front of CIA U-2 N803X

 Kelly in front of a U-2 and an F-104

As Tony LeVier said, "One had NO wing, and the other was ALL wing!"

   Kelly with YF-12A


Kelly receiving the Medal of Freedom from President Lynden Johnson at The White House - America's Highest Civilian Award

   Kelly in cockpit of A-12B

   Kelly in front of an SR-71


Kelly receiving the National Security Medal from  President Ronald Reagan

Kelly Johnson - An American Treasure


Read about Kelly's life here - a bio by Ben Rich for the National Academy of Sciences

Lord of the Skunk Works - A Kelly Bio by Walter Boyne for the Air Force Assn

Head Skunk - a Kelly Bio by Peter Garrison for Kelly's 100th Birthday - Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine

A nice collection of photos and Kelly memorabilia

Comments and more photos or information? - write me.

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Copyright 2006 - 2017  Robert A. Bogash.  All Rights Reserved

Revised 12 May 2006
Revised 26 May 2006
Revised 31 Jan 2008
Revised 20 Dec 2008
Revised 29  Sept 2009
Revised 24 Dec 2010
Revised 23 Mar 2017