Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Love and Obsession with Aircraft

Lockheed Martin has been part of this family for over 70 years
by Lewis M.

My father's love and obsession with Lockheed aircraft began in the late 1930s when he was hired by Mid-Continent Airlines and checked out on the Lockeed-10 Electra. During this period, he met fellow Mid-Continent pilot Tony Levier (later a Lockheed test pilot) and forged a friendship that would last almost 50 years. In 1946, at the urging of Tony Levier, Dad purchased a Lockheed P-38 from War Assets for $1,250 and immediately outfitted it for racing. He successfully crossed the finish line of the 1946 Bendix Trophy Race, even after passing out due to oxygen equipment failure and flying off course for 20 minutes.

In 1950, just before his wedding day, Tony Levier offered Dad a test pilot job with Lockheed. For whatever reason, Dad chose an airline career instead. Prior to ushering in the Jet Age, Dad had many hours in the Lockheed Super Constellation and the Lockheed L-88 Electra. One of Dad's best experiences was an invite by Tony Levier to visit in California and tour the mock-up of the SST L-2000. 

Lockheed Martin remains in our family, as my wife Jody enters her 39th year with the company. Dad never got to meet her, if he had, conversation around the dinner table would have been exciting. Happy 100th to Lockheed Martin!

My love and obsession with Lockheed Martin aircraft began early.