navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies California Studies
Biographies Unit Biographies

Allan Loughead (Lockheed) 1889-1969
Malcolm Loughead (Lockheed) 1887-1958
Airplane Designers and Manufacturers

Allan and Malcolm Loughead were pioneers of California's airplane industry. (They pronounced Loughead “lock-heed.” Later in their lives they changed the spelling to match the pronunciation.)

The brothers were born in Niles, California. They became interested in airplanes as teenagers, after their older brother showed them a book that he wrote about planes and flying.

As young men, the Loughead brothers worked as auto mechanics. They designed and built airplanes in their free time. In 1913, they flew their first plane over San Francisco Bay. It was one of the biggest planes ever built.

In 1916, the brothers opened an airplane factory in Santa Barbara, but their planes did not sell because they were too large and expensive. Malcolm Loughead went back to work in auto mechanics. He designed a successful braking system for cars, which made him wealthy.

Allan Loughead stayed in the airplane industry. In 1926, he designed the popular Vega airplane. Orders for Vega airplanes began to pour in and the Lockheed Aircraft Company became a success.

Comprehension Check

What did the Loughead brothers do in 1913?

Critical Thinking

The first plane the Lockheed factory built did not sell well. Compare and contrast Allan and Malcolm's responses to this failure.