Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coming Full Circle

Proud to be part of the greatest aircraft design and development company in the world
by Jerry C.

I grew up in Lancaster, California, in the heart of the Antelope Valley, an iconic site in aviation history. From Chuck Yeager’s historic breaking of the sound barrier in “Glamorous Glennis” to the X-series aircraft (X-1 through X-15), I was a childhood witness to wondrous sights across the desert sky. My father and uncle both worked at Edwards AFB (Dryden Test Center). My dad refueled all of the experimental aircraft, and my uncle maintained the propulsion systems. It seemed like half the population worked in aviation in the 1950s and 1960s. Our windows would shake often from test aircraft breaking the sound barrier. I, too, started my 30-plus year federal career at Edwards, all focused around aviation with the Air Force at depots and eventually at the Pentagon.

My most memorable moments were catching glimpses of the SR-71 “Blackbird” – the fastest plane in the world, setting records as yet unmatched. Through my father, I was able to see one up close. The all-black paint, the design, the sleek body seemed a work of art, all accomplished by Lockheed’s inimitable “Skunk Works,” of which I read everything I could lay my hands on.

After finishing my government career, I was thrilled (and still am) to have the opportunity to come to work for Lockheed Martin and become a part of the greatest aircraft design and development company in the world. In a sense, my childhood fascination and dreams have come full circle, something my father and uncle would be proud of.

The love of aviation has been a part of my life since childhood.