Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Art and Science of Aviation

It was natural that one would want to work for Glenn L. Martin
by David B.
At the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River Maryland, in 1951, Mr. E. E. (Pete) Clark, the chief of aerodynamics, interviewed me for several hours, including lunch and afterwards. We agreed I should work there. It was the gift of a lifetime! Mr. Clark found out that I had built model airplanes all my life and had worked at a grass strip airport covering wings, welding and riveting, repairing, inspecting and modifying light planes. He found out, too, that I had earned a Bachelor of Science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in aeronautical engineering. I had graduated with honors, and was placed number one in the class. I felt lucky to be hired.

Starting on August 2, 1951, the company assigned me to the Canberra project in the aerodynamics group. Joe Burghardt was the project engineer and Howard E. (Howie) Schick was in charge of stability and control, so I sat next to him. The English Electric Company had earlier delivered three Canberra aircraft to be used at Martin, and we still had WD932 and WD940, in the effort to turn it into the United States Air Force B-57. It required not just changing skin gauges and rivet sizes, but meeting MIL-SPEC-F-8785 ASG, the flying quality spec for piloted aircraft. It was said, at the time, that this was something to do with the balance of payments abroad, having to do with the war. This was hard to swallow, as we still had a Martin XB-S1 on the field, a really advanced aircraft with swept wings, two pod-mounted jet engines, a high T-tail, bicycle landing gear and other features to make it a really high-speed bomber. Later, it became clear that the Canberra had the greatest ratio of low speed to high speed of anything in the inventory, and this became increasingly important as we improved the high subsonic capability in flight test and then were invited to build a special purpose high-altitude variant. Wing Commander W. E. W. Petter had designed a beautifully streamlined, low-drag airframe with lightweight structure. He had chosen the equivalent of a NACA 0012 airfoil, inboard, which had plenty of room for deep spars but also avoided the early Mach problems over the upper surface of cambered airfoils. Contributing to low weight, he had avoided hydraulics on the controls, and used geared and spring tabs on the ailerons, elevator and rudder. All of this later enabled us to use the aircraft in a special high altitude variant—the BS7D.

These are my first memories at Martin. Thank you!

The Martin B-57 Canberra

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It’s a True Honor

Helping defend our nation is motivation enough
by Albert  Y.

Working for Lockheed Martin has been one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences in my career. There are very few people who get the opportunity to work on technologies and products of the future; and even fewer who have the honor of producing the tools and the means that defend our people, our homes, our soldiers, but most importantly our nation. When I get up for work, I am motivated to produce my best effort; not only because I find the work exciting and interesting, but also because our nation and our soldiers deserve and need the best we can offer. It is with a sense of pride and appreciation that I am able to claim that I help defend my country; that I work at Lockheed Martin.

P.S. I learned to fly an airplane before I learned to drive a car!

Pride Boiled Over

My career began on December 31, 1941
by Tudor D.

Thank you for the privilege of sharing my story. I was sworn in as an Apprentice Seaman in the United States Navy at the Old Seaman’s Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was December 31, 1941. I participated in the Murmansk Patrols and the invasion of Africa and Casablanca. I later served on the USS Halibut (SS 232) on its 5th through 10th war patrols. After World War II, I remained in the Navy and served on submarines. In April 1958, I was accepted for Polaris Training School, in Sunnyvale, California. I graduated in September 1958, and assigned to the USS Observation Island (EAG 154) to proof Polaris launch system. At the time, I had the good fortune to work with Lockheed engineers on the ship and in the shops at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Little did I know, my future was being planted, and a new career was in the making!

We commissioned the USS George Washington (SSBN 598) on December 30, 1959, and proofed all 16 launch tubes and the remainder of the missile system. We eventually loaded out the Polaris A1 missiles and went on patrol. We loaded out in Charleston, South Carolina. Our skipper took us on the first patrol. After more than 60 days at sea, in places unknown to the majority of us, we returned to New London, Connecticut. After going through the boat with our reliefs, we were assigned new orders. Some of us went on to more schools at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company and other companies involved with the intricate parts of the missile.

I was fortunate to be accepted by Lockheed. J.T. McFarlane, supervisor at the office in Groton, Connecticut, explained my future, location of where I would be assigned and other job details. I was assigned to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company and reported aboard in early 1961 with my wife and two daughters in tow. We were on our way to more adventures with Lockheed. The beginning of a second career was about to commence!

We had three shifts on the SSBNs, which we helped prepare for commissioning. Three to five men were on a shift—depending on the amount of testing to be performed. At times, the home office at Sunnyvale would send assistance to support us on seven-day workweeks. We observed and supervised all active/inert missile movements for testing in the 16 launch tubes in preparation for sell-off by the shipyard to the Special Projects Office and United States Navy.

I worked on the submarine tender USS Hunley (AS 31) as my first assignment. The greatest feeling on the job effort was being at commissioning ceremonies after many hours of testing, frustration with changes in operations and performing SPALT changes—pride boiled over.

In 1972, I retired, though not for long. Lockheed called me back in 1976, and I was sent to POMFPAC in Bremerton, Washington, as the logistic rep between POMFPAC, POMPFLANT, the shipyards, the training centers and Lockheed’s Sunnyvale office. I had the good fortune of a two-year assignment at POMFPAC. I witnessed its transformation into the Strategic Weapons Facility, Pacific (SWFPAC). I was promoted to supervisor of warehouse operations, and then retired in 1987.

How lucky we were as a family! So much good fortune was bestowed upon us. Thank you, God, the United States Navy and Lockheed Martin!

Here I am in SWFPAC.

Expecting the Unexpected

I learned to maintain a wild field of view at work and at play
by Rich F.

I began working at Martin Marietta in 1985 as an hourly production control expediter on the LANTIRN program. I later worked in product support for TADS/PNVS. I was known as a sort of “Radar O’Reilly,” because I was the requisition expediter for worldwide Apache operations, including Army bases, Special Repair Activities and foreign military service units. I enjoyed the whirlwind demand for repair parts' and maintenance compounds. They were vital for keeping the Apache fleet in the air across the globe. How did I deal with the job stress? I loved to ride my Harley-Davidson motorcycle. I still put the rubber to the road.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Hitched My Career to a Star

I was there from the Golden Age of Aviation to the Space Age
by George D.

In the late 1930s, I was “shaping up” in various aircraft manufacturer employment lines while working as a night watchman at Paramount Studios in Burbank, California. On February 28, 1939, Lockheed’s winged star became my lodestar.

Lockheed played a key role in my home life. In 1940, I met my future wife, Margaret Harris, when we both worked in spare parts sales. My children—Bonnie, Gary and Marsha—were all born in Dayton, Ohio, when I was assigned at Wright Field.

Wright Field and Lockheed also played a part in a remarkable experience for me in 1943. Lockheed sponsored a photo opportunity on the tarmac at Wright Field, and I saw Orville Wright peering out the pilot’s window of a C-69 military Constellation!

My career developed through field offices, soared through the aircraft industry’s mass production Golden Age and flew into the 1960s Space Age era. After 35 years, I retired from Lockheed in 1974. But I’ve never forgotten the thrill of the projects I worked on—the B-47 joint modernization programs involving Lockheed with Douglas and Boeing; the 1957 United States Air Force X-7 Ram Jet test vehicles and Q-5 Drones and the United States advanced satellite reconnaissance satellite system of the 1960s and 1970s.

Now, revisiting those epic times makes me feel proud to having been part of aerospace history. I am grateful for my long and productive career at the core of a great company. I am glad I followed that lodestar.

I met Margaret at Lockheed!

A Testament to Hard Work

The sacrifice was well worth it
by Mrs. Charles C.

I am going to tell this story as if my husband were speaking it to you. He was the Lockheed employee.

“During the building of the C-5 Galaxy, we were so busy that, one year, I worked 352 days. That is a long haul with no time off. I was a supervisor and pushed hard to meet our deadlines. Of course, I was present at the roll out of that big monster. I also worked on the C-141. We worked hard, but the results were worth the effort."

A Bit of Middle River History

My father worked on every major project there
by Ed W.

My father, John, worked at Martin Marietta in Middle River. During his tenure, from 1936 to 1973, he worked on every major project there, including the M-130 China Clipper, the B-26, the PBM Mariner, the Martin Mars and the P6M SeaMaster Supersonic Seaplane. He also worked on the early guided missiles Martin developed, as well as the Titan rockets. He loved his job and the company. His Martin ring was buried with my brother in 1987.