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Lockheed Aircraft Company

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Last updated 03/18/17

Personal history written by Scott Williams, 2010.

Scott Williams meeting with Allan Lockheed
(Lockheed Aircraft Company)

Interesting story about the B-17.  I have a first-hand experience with Mr. Lockheed I would like to relate.

 I attended the University of Arizona, College of Mines 1962-1966 and one of my classmates was Allan Lockheed.  I remarked to him at some point asking if he was related to THE Lockheed family.  He replied that, yes, that would be my dad.  I asked where his dad lived and he said he lives with his dad there in Tucson.  I asked if I could meet him and Allan said sure, he would check with his dad when it would be convenient for me to come over.  It may have been a couple of days later when Allan asked if I wanted to come to his home to meet his father and I replied yes.  We drove to his home and went inside.  It was a modest brick home in a residential area, not pretentious or overly large or anything that might be expected from a member of a prestigious family.  I was somewhat skeptical that this would be someone that had begun an airline manufacturing company.

 When Allan and I entered the home, there was an older man inside and Allan introduced me to him saying, this is my dad, XXX Lockheed.  I don't remember his first name, but he was a pleasant man, about 5'5" or 5'7", weighed maybe 130 pounds and was maybe 60 years old, maybe a bit more.  He said he was a real estate salesman now.  We visited a short while and I asked if he was the person responsible for the beginning of the Lockheed Aircraft Company.  He replied that he was and then took out a large family photo album filled with pictures of family and lots of aircraft.  Some of the pictures were in front of a hangar with a large airplane and I cannot remember if it was a two- or four-engine aircraft, but it seems that it was a two-engine bomber-style airplane.  All of the pictures that I saw were taken in the 1920's & 1930's and he said that he had completed this large airplane that we were looking at the photos of, and had the trials to complete with the Army.  The pictures were of this airplane and also showed many uniformed military images.  I think I remember him saying they were all generals and colonels to witness the testing flight of the airplane.  He said the airplane took off and headed west over the coast, and that was the last he ever saw of it.  The pilot radioed that the aircraft was shaking violently and he could not control it and the radio went silent.

 When Mr. Lockheed told me this, I asked him what happened then and he said he found out later that the airplane circled around out of sight and landed at another airport.  But at the time the pilot radioed he was experiencing this violent shaking and then silence, the military men were unwilling to wait for another airplane to be built and tested.  Money was due to the lenders and they took over the company and Mr. Lockheed was out.  He said they were in collusion to take his company, which they did.  A few months later, that same airplane flew and was just fine.  We visited a bit more and I left.  I remember being there about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  I always kept in contact with Allan during the school term and he occasionally asked me to accompany him to the Marana Air Park where he would fly his remote-controlled airplanes he had built, but I never did go with him. 

 I graduated from the U of A Mines in 1966 and Allan might have graduated a year earlier or later.  I was a Navy veteran (Seabees) and older than most of the students.  The last contact I had with Allan was about six or eight (maybe 10) years ago (2000 to 2004) when I contacted him in Colorado.  I don't remember the circumstances of this contact as it has been quite a while.  But the meeting and visit with his dad has always been a memorable occasion for me and I remember it pretty well, even though it has been almost 40 years.

Scott Williams
williash@aol.com

 

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