Thursday, December 13, 2012

Martin B-26 Tail Gunner Saves Flight Crew

He was in battle with a “mystery aircraft”
as told to Nick E.

On a crisp morning in May 1944, tail gunner Bob Ferrara and his crew were flying their Martin B-26 Marauder when they crossed into enemy territory. Off in the distance, he spotted an aircraft approaching fast. Bob could tell it wasn’t an ordinary bomber. The enemy opened fire, the incoming tracers filling the gunner’s window, but none of them hit the B-26 Marauder.
Bob grabbed the handles of his machine gun and retaliated. Through the hail of bullets, he could see there were no propellers on the enemy plane. The mystery aircraft fired again, spraying bullets at Bob and his B-26 bomber.
Bob zeroed in and fired, and finally hit the bandit chasing them. The plane erupted into flames, and plummeted to the ground. Bob and his crew were dazed, and wondered what aircraft could fly at such high speeds without a visible propulsion system, and with that much firepower?
The crew made it back to base for the debriefing and found top brass waiting for them. Bob was reluctant to admit that he had no idea who was chasing them. He was given a book of German planes to look through, and as Bob flipped through the pages, he found a photo of what had been after them.
“This is it,” he said, “this is the plane I shot down.”
It was a German Messerschmitt Me 262, one of the first jet aircraft invented and used in combat.
1943 Enlistment Photo

B-26 Marauder

Bob Ferrara, top row center

From Humble Beginnings

At Lockheed Martin you can reach the sky
by Charles S.

In 1947, having served in the Navy during World War II, I joined Lockheed Aircraft Service Company (LAS) at MacArthur Airport, Long Island, New York. I started as Class C instrument technician at the rate of 89 cents per hour. By 1978, I had advanced to LAS Executive Vice President and Lockheed Corporate Vice President.

As a LAS contract administrator, I was primary contact with presidential flight crews and United States VIP fleet (LAS was then at New York International Airport), which provided all heavy maintenance and modification to the 1254th Air Transport Wing (later designated the 89th ATG).

Starting in the1960s, I was director and vice president of international marketing. I later served as executive vice president and worked to establish and administer LAS International joint ventures and operations in various foreign locations, including Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Malaysia.

Following my retirement in 1983, I continued to serve Lockheed as a consultant for some 12 years and was involved in a number of domestic programs, as well as acquiring additional bases of operation in Hungry and Argentina.

From humble beginnings, I was blessed to be involved in great programs and unique experiences in serving Lockheed Martin, the world’s greatest aerospace company.

The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar

Who says our work can’t also be fun?
by George J.

I was lucky enough to work for Lockheed Martin for over 37 years. I started my career on the L-1011 TriStar as a wash rack attendant working in the paint shop. During the program’s early days, from time to time we were required to lay up various new airline logos and markings on one of the aircraft on the final assembly line in Building 601. We worked with engineering to ensure the placement was aesthetically pleasing.
When we performed this task, we would look at the placement from the first mezzanine on the north side of the building. On any given day, we might lay up the logos on different aircraft. The aircraft used depended on which one the manufacturing department would allow access to. One day, someone noticed we kept changing aircraft and asked why. Being the practical jokers we were, we told them the mezzanine was designed to look like various air terminals around the world. We told him if we moved further to the east it looked like one airport or a little to the west it looked like another.
This rumor seemed to spread fast across the plant, and people actually believing our made-up story. This was just one of many practical jokes we played on the unsuspecting workers. 
I started my career in the L-1011 paint shop.

Expanding the Limits of Achievement and Knowledge

In the end, it was about the people
by Lloyd B.

In 1977, my neighbor worked at Lockheed Martin Michoud on the Space Shuttle’s External Tank program. When he found out I was a chemist and there was an opening in his department, he insisted I interview for the job. It was the best thing I ever did. After 32 years at Lockheed Martin Michoud, I retired. The External Tank program was the most exciting and challenging work I could ever want. But, the best was the great co-workers and friends that I had over those 32 years.

Rising to Meet the Cold War Challenge

It was all about teamwork
by Rick H.

In June 1952, I joined Lockheed-California Company in Burbank. I was hired as a structure assembler helper at the rate of $1.25 per hour. I had to go to school for two weeks to learn how to rivet. And, of course, Jim Burke was hired the same time. He went to the same school and went to work for the same Lockheed supervisor on the swing shift. We reported to the A-1 plant to work on the P2V-3 Neptune. I told the supervisor that Jim and I were structure assembler helpers and he said, “OK, you guys are going to work on this panel, and you will help him and he will help you.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A “Founding Father” of the F-35

It all began in junior high
by Perry W.

In 1955, as a junior high school student, I wrote a paper about "what you want to be when you grow up" that I hoped to be good enough to launch my career as an aeronautical engineer. Later, I managed to get two degrees in aerospace engineering and enter the industry I had dreamed about. I spent the majority of my 41-year aerospace career working for Lockheed Martin and its legacy companies, General Dynamics and Lockheed. I did not intend that longevity when I joined General Dynamics in 1967, but once I got into it, I couldn’t give it up. I was fortunate to work with and to know many very fine fellow engineers and aerospace professionals. They enabled my success as an engineer and manager. I experienced several major highs (F-16, X-35) and lows (A-12) during my time, as programs came and went.

The high point in my career was the award of the F-35 production contract, a program I helped begin as a small technology effort in 1993, and which I also helped mature into the current centerpiece of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, and arguably the Lockheed Martin Corporation. I consider myself one of the "founding fathers" of that program. This also satisfied my junior high challenge I think!

Celebrating a high-point in F-35 history

The Best Decision I Ever Made

Lockheed Martin is a great company to work for
by Eugene M.

I went to work to work for Martin Marietta in 1961, right out of electronics school. I worked on all the major contracts at that time, since most of them went through the environmental and structures laboratory for testing where I worked. My starting salary was $72 per week. I thought that was pretty good. I spent all my time working in environmental laboratories until my retirement in 1998.

I enjoyed my time with Lockheed Martin, and deciding to work there was the best decision I ever made. It’s a great company to work for.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I’m Celebrating over 60 Years

It all began in 1951, the year Lockheed-Georgia opened its doors
by Sam M.

I hired in at Lockheed, then known as Lockheed-Georgia Company in Marietta, Georgia, in 1951 at a pay of $1.10 per hour. That same year, Lockheed-Georgia opened its doors.

I worked in assembly inspection, contracts and finally in marketing. I marketed C-130s and C-141s to the United States government. I was appointed marketing representative on a Lockheed Jetstar tour of Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. I married a fellow worker, Joan, and later took an early retirement in 1990. I left many loving friends at Lockheed Martin.

Show and Tell

This story has a happy ending
by Richard R.

Back in the mid-1970s, I worked in the facility in Sunnyvale that developed and produced the High Temperature Reusable Surface Insulation (HRSI) tiles that covered two-thirds of the surface area of a Space Shuttle. We had made about a dozen very special fragile tiles that were kept in a locked cabinet awaiting shipment to NASA. On the day we were prepping them for delivery, one of the workers suddenly got a funny look on his face and said he had to go home right away. When queried as to why, he confided that he had taken one of these delicate tiles home for his son to take to school for "show and tell." Fortunately, he found it safe on the teacher's desk, although it did have a few tiny fingerprints on its delicate surface.

Built to Last

Quality shines through in everything we do
by Glenn A.

I worked at the Ft. Worth plant in the 1980s and 1990s. I was always amazed at the huge air compressors and the electrical motors that drove them. Installed at the south end of the main factory when the plant was built in the early 1940s, they were still humming away some 50-odd years later.

Bringing Them Home to Safety

My story began decades ago
by Melvin B.

Circa 1940, I helped a pilot get to Floyd Bennett Field during a very overcast summer's eve. He circled several times until I got my father's 3D or 4D flashlight and signaled him. I pointed the flashlight up, turned it on and swung it down to point toward FB, then shut it off (the approximate heading of 220 degree from my corner in Canarsie, Brooklyn, New York.) I repeated this five or six times, and the engine droned off in the direction of FB. Since I didn't read or hear of a crash, I assumed he made it. I felt good!

And that was just the beginning. I was a mechanical engineer for 40 years with Republic Aviation Corporation. The last program I worked on was the manual flight control system for the A-10.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Looking Back at 50 Years

I lived my childhood dream
by Bob B.

I knew from the time I was a child that I wanted to be an aeronautical engineer. In 1961, during a particularly snowy winter day, I spotted an ad in the New York Times for Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California. I had no idea where Sunnyvale was, but I had previously worked in Los Angeles (for a competitor), and it sure sounded good to me. I applied, was accepted and drove cross country figuring I would be there a few years. Fifty years later, I retired from Lockheed. How exciting those years were! Great people, great products and wonderful opportunities.

The Challenge of Manned Space Flight

Transforming ideas into reality
by Ivan S.

I worked at Lockheed Martin long before it became Lockheed Martin. Back in 1960, it was called Martin Marietta. I worked at the Denver facility from 1960 to 2002. It was exciting working on the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle projects. It was a great time and a great company to work for.

Working at the Front of Our National Defense

We helped advance warhead accuracy
by Richard G.

Having been retired for 20 years, after 33 years at Lockheed Missile and Space Company, Port Canaveral, Florida, I remember the pleasure of having worked with the best-of-the-best aerospace company! We were a small group, approximately 300 people, but we worked on some of the most important projects of the Cold War: the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident missile systems. It was great being at the front of our national defense. I still dream of the many co-workers who have since passed away. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pushing the Bounds of Discovery

My “mission” was the Space Shuttle
by Marion M.

In 1977, I began working for Lockheed Martin in Houston, Texas, as an on-site computer programmer at the NASA Johnson Space Center.

I wrote and maintained a computer program that processed real-time telemetry data from the Space Shuttle. It decommutated, converted to engineering units and displayed the results on a monitor.

I was in in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL) running the program for a NASA engineer on January 28, 1986, when the computer monitor went blank due to the Challenger disaster.

Thus began many hours of rerunning the program with recorded tape input and printing the last seconds of selected data items for analysis by investigative personnel.

Thanks Lockheed Martin, it was a wonderful ride!

Proud of My 40-Year Career

Working here has been a family affair
by Chuck C.

My mother retired from Philco-Ford with about 25 years of tenure, and I started there in 1971 in Palo Alto, California. Eventually, Philco-Ford became Aeronutronic Ford and Ford Aerospace, and was later purchased by Loral Corporation. About two years later, Lockheed Martin bought the San Jose Western Development Laboratories (WDL) division. I eventually met my wife, who also retired from Lockheed with about 32 years of service. I'm proud of the 40-year career I had with Lockheed Martin. The funny thing about my mother and wife working there is that they both share the same February 13 birthday!

Congratulations Lockheed Martin!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Building the Air Force's Strategic Nuclear Force

The technologies also benefited the way in which we live
by H. Miller

I started working on the Titan 1 missile launch control/checkout system on February 9, 1959. I performed the same duties for Titan II, Titan III and Titan IV until I retired May 27, 1990. In the course of these years, I was involved with an Apollo Onboard Checkout System, a long duration space flight electronics study, a battlefield intelligence system, All Source Analysis System and Checkout, and the Control and Monitor Subsystem for the Space Shuttle.

The Titan I work involved the first transistorized circuits used for countdown timing and propellant loading. This required close work with Texas Instruments field engineers to understand and to account for design problems. My subsequent work involved integrated circuits, which finally became a complete computer. I was so glad that my years Lockheed Martin allowed me to keep up with ever changing electronics engineering field.

Celebrating More than 50 Years

We worked on every aircraft built at Ft. Worth from 1942 to 1997
by Diena P.

My dad, mom and their five children moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1942. Dad started to work for Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation in September of that year. He bought a house on the west side of White Settlement in a community called “Liberator Village,” named for the first aircraft built at the “Bomber Plant,” the B-24 Liberator. My parents raised their family in that community and Dad worked at the plant for 29 uninterrupted years. He retired in 1971. The company changed names several times over the years. It was known as Consolidated, Convair, General Dynamics and lastly, Lockheed Martin.

I went to work for General Dynamic in 1966 and worked in every area of the facility, from receiving inspection in the south end to the electronics building on the flight line. I went to night school and was promoted to senior quality engineer. I retired in 1997 after 31 years. I have many service pins earned by my dad, my late husband and myself from all of the companies listed above. Between the three of us, we worked on every aircraft built at Ft. Worth from 1942 to 1997.

Thanks Dad for the memories and wonderful life!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Skill, Courage and Selflessness

A little known story about the Hubble Space Telescope
by Phillip C.

The acoustic test of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was a critical and challenging effort. The acoustic chamber was located in a 175-foot high-bay facility. The satellite was eased into the facility and lifted into a vertical position with a set of huge cranes that were built into the facility. While moving the HST into the chamber very slowly to control momentum build-up, disaster struck!

Due to the very slow speed, the crane motor stopped with the billion-dollar satellite hanging 25 feet above the floor. We quickly determined the cause of the problem, but the fix had to be performed on the motor 160 feet above the floor. The problem was how to get up there without risk to the satellite.

As we discussed our options, looking up at the hanging satellite, I asked the facilities manager if he had a boatswain’s chair and if the young facilities technician (his name was Dewey) if he was afraid of heights. “No,” so up went Dewey to the crane platform in the boatswain’s chair where he installed the fix. After the fix, Dewey, still dangling 160 feet above the floor, asked if he could come down. I said “No,” not until the satellite was safely in the chamber. So there hung Dewey for 20 minutes, 160 feet above the floor.

Dewey’s skill and courage was one of the selfless actions that made the success of the Hubble Space Telescope a crowning achievement of Lockheed Martin.