Today is the birthday of Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson, the American aeronautical and systems engineer. He is recognized for his contributions to a series of important aircraft designs. Besides the first production aircraft to exceed Mach 3, he also produced the first fighter capable of Mach 2, the United States’ first operational jet fighter, as well as the first fighter to exceed 400 mph, and many other contributions to various aircraft. As a member and first team leader of the Lockheed Skunk Works.
Johnson was the engineer credited with developing many aircraft that SSS pilots flew in addition to the F-100.
- F-80 Shooting Star, the first successful American jet fighter. First west-to-east Atlantic crossing by single-engined jet.
- T-33 and TV-2, trainer versions of F-80.
- XF-90, prototype penetration fighter. First USAF jet with an afterburner and the first Lockheed jet to fly supersonic.
- F-104 Starfighter, first Mach 2 fighter to enter service. With its GE J79 engine, it won the 1958 Collier Trophy for its Lockheed and GE technical achievement.