The Loughead brothers: Aeromotive innovators
On Dec. 17, 2003, the world celebrated the centennial of flight. Just 100 years earlier, a drop in an ocean of time, the Wright brothers made the world's first power-driven, heavier than air, manned flight at Kitty Hawk, South Carolina. Lockheed Aircraft was one of the companies in the forefront of these developments, a company that produced such famous aircraft as the U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers that was shot down over Russia; the SR-71 Blackbird that still holds speed and altitude records; the F-117A stealth fighter featured so dramatically in the Gulf War; and America's fighter for the 21st century, the YF-22. Lockheed was the brainchild of two brothers, Malcolm and Allan Loughead (pronounced Lockheed), who forged new horizons in aviation. Born in California to a headstrong, iconoclastic mother who was a novelist, farmer, journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, amateur scientist and inveterate gold prospector, Malcolm and Allan were also influenced to some degree by Victor Loughead, their older half-brother, who penned two prominent and influential books on aviation in 1909.