cover image Beyond the Horizons: The Lockheed Story

Beyond the Horizons: The Lockheed Story

Walter J. Boyne, Daniel M. Tellwp. St. Martin's Press, $29.95 (542pp) ISBN 978-0-312-19237-2

Although less broadly geared than Beyond the Wild Blue, Boyne's latest is remarkable for its depth of research. Boyne, a retired air force colonel and former director of the National Air and Space Museum, leaves scarcely a wingflap unchecked, tracing in painstaking detail the fortunes of the company founded by Lockheed brothers Allan and Malcolm. He shows how the company rode the high tide of WWI-era military aviation, plunged into bankruptcy during the 1930s and eventually emerged as an industry heavyweight. Along the way, Boyne introduces familiar figures and machines: Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh; Lockheed aircraft such as the Vega and the SR-71. One section presents an intriguing portrait of the legendary Clarence ""Kelly"" Johnson, an engineer who was the force behind the creation of Lockheed's highly secretive Skunk Works plant, which recently produced the stealth bomber. While Johnson was at the helm, the Skunk Works refunded $2 million on the $22-million U-2 project, which actually ran under budget. Elsewhere, Boyne presents marvelous lists--of missile and aircraft specifications and of every test pilot to fly for Lockheed--and delves into cutting-edge projects, like reusable launch vehicles and the forthcoming F-22 Raptor, set to be the primary fighter jet of the next century. Aviation enthusiasts will snap up this most thorough record of a dominant force in the defense industry. Photos. (Oct.)