Update: It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the US, and the Ars staff has a long weekend accordingly. As we all reflect on the sacrifice of the people bravely serving in the Armed Forces, we thought resurfacing this piece—an homage to some of the finest aviation ever deployed by the US—would be a welcomed accompaniment. This story originally ran on March 4, 2016, and it appears unchanged below.
Roughly 110 years ago, one of the world’s greatest aircraft designers—Clarence “Kelly” Johnson—was born in Ishpeming, Michigan. And since we’re gigantic aviation nerds here at Ars Technica, the week of his birthday (February 27) is as good a reason as any to celebrate some of his legendary designs. Johnson spent 44 years working at Lockheed, where he was responsible for world-changing aircraft including the high-flying U-2, the “missile with a man in it” F-104 Starfighter, and the almost-otherworldly Blackbird family of