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Jack Northrop

AKA John Knudsen Northrop

Born: 10-Nov-1895
Birthplace: Newark, NJ
Died: 18-Feb-1981
Location of death: Glendale, CA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Engineer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: All-wing aircraft

Military service: US Army (WWI)

With only a high school education, Jack Northrop worked as an auto mechanic and an architectural draftsman before being hired by the Loughead Aircraft Company (later spelled Lockheed), where he eventually became the fledgling company's chief engineer, designing seaplanes and biplanes. Among the first to advocate airframes constructed entirely of metal, his first design was the Loughead S-1, utilizing a monocoque (single shell) fuselage covered by a groundbreaking molded plywood skin. His subsequent efforts included the sleek Vega, Alpha, Gamma, Delta transport, and the Dauntless dive-bomber.

Northrop was fascinated with the concept of "flying wings" -- aircraft with cockpit, engine, all controls and any passengers or freight held within the wing -- and at his Northrop Corporation he designed the N-1M flying wing, the JB-10 flying bomb, the P-61 Black Widow night fighter, and the XP-56, XP-79, XB-35, and XB-49 flying wing bombers. Though he had retired decades before his company began work on the top secret project that became the B-2 Spirit or "Stealth Bomber", its design is clearly a descendant of Jack Northrop's work in the 1940s, and he served briefly as a consultant on the project before his death in 1981.

Father: Charles W. Northrop (b. 1859)
Mother: Helen Knudsen Northrop
Wife: Inez Harmer (high school sweetheart, b. 16-Dec-1894, m. 30-Jan-1918, div. 1949, three children)
Daughter: Bette Inez Northrop Johansing
Son: John Harmer Northrop
Daughter: Inez Stephanie Northrop Koch

    High School: Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara, CA (1913)

    Northrop Founder & President (1939-52)
    Northrop Aircraft Corporation Founder & President (1932-39)
    Avion Corporation Founder & President (1928-32)
    Douglas Aircraft Engineer (1923-27)
    Lockheed Engineer (1916-20)
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    Institute of Aeronautical Sciences President (1946)
    Royal Aeronautical Society Foreign Fellow
    National Aviation Hall of Fame
    International Aerospace Hall of Fame


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