Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. That’s what they have in common. The groundbreaking aircraft designer behind some of the greatest aircraft ever built. At the age of 28 Kelly started working at Lockheed Martin. It was the start of a lengthy career at Lockheed and most of the iconic Lockheed aircraft were his design. After working on the Lockheed Electra, with which he earned his stripes, he came up with the P-38. Which is remarkable not only for it’s special looks, but also because of it’s large contribution to World War II. After working on the F-80, T-33 and some other well known aircraft, he lead the team that designed the F-104. The Widowmaker, as the F-104 was sometimes nicknamed, may not have been the safest airplane, but judging the looks of it you can only agree when I say it looks so damn good. When it comes to looks, Johnson has some other impressive achievements on his list. The U-2, SR-71 and Constellation are all from his design team. Johnson, who died in 1990, has made the fastest flying, highest flying and some of the best looking planes and changed both military and commercial aviation.
As a member of the Aviation Photocrew I’ve been photographing a wide range of special aircraft. But the most exotic flight was definitely the one with Al Fursan. They would make a couple of passes under the Skyvan. They did one and came so close they filled up the cabin with their smoke! I must say it’s an indescribable feeling when you see such a large formation coming straight at you. After the first pass they seemed comfortable and just stayed in formation behind us. The results are in the gallery below.
Let us know your most ‘exotic’ catch in the comments below.
Some pilots may look good in a flight suit, but there’s undoubtedly nothing more tough looking than a World War II bomber jacket. The crews from the bombers would paint their own text and drawings on it, often depicting their number of missions, squadron markings and if possible a though looking figure or a good looking pinup. Make sure to read this interesting article on bomber jackets and have your afternoon sorted! http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/wwii-war-paint-how-bomber-jacket-art-emboldened-our-boys/