Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae"

This is the story of two of aviation’s finest
by Eugene P.

Kelly Johnson's high altitude expertise goes back further than the U-2. I was one of the CIA engineers in the program office that managed the U-2, A-12 Oxcart and Corona. Having a lifelong interest in aviation, I learned of Kelly Johnson's earliest high-altitude project in which he modified Wiley Post's Winnie Mae to attempt altitude and speed records in 1934. Wiley bet Kelly a new K&E slide rule he would set a new world record. Kelly knew that would be possible only if Wiley found the jet stream. Wiley didn't make the record, and would later fly off with Will Rogers to Point Barrow, Alaska, where they crashed and were killed. When Kelley learned of Wiley's death, he is reported to have said, "Why that Wiley never did give me that slide rule.”

I am the president of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).