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Northrop (1895-1981) excelled as a designer of conventional aircraft and strikingly unusual concepts.
He is associated with many design breakthroughs, ranging from the famous Lockheed Vega of the 1920s to the giant Northrop flying wings of the 1940s.
In 1916, while working for the Loughead Aircraft Company (later Lockheed), he co-invented a process for making monoplane fuselages and helped design the F-1 flying boat.
He became chief engineer at Lockheed in 1927 and built the Vega monoplane.
As founder of Northrop Aircraft, Inc. (1939) he built the first successful N-1M flying wing and the XP-56 flying wing fighter. He also created the first U.S. rocket-powered aircraft, the JB-10 flying bomb, the P-61 Black Widow night fighter and the XP-79 flying wing fighter.