Learning Center Our Enshrinees

John Leland “Lee” Atwood

  • Was Chief of Advanced Design for the Douglas Company and helped design the DC-1 airliner.
  • Helped design Douglas DC-3 commercial transport, a plane vital to the rise of the passenger airline industry.
  • In 1934 became the Vice President and Chief Engineer at North American Aviation, Inc. where his BT-9 Air Corps trainer launched the company into military aviation. He designed the B-47 plane, the improved BT-14 trainer, the AT-6 Texan combat trainer and the B-25 Mitchell bomber.
  • Originated the design of the P-51 Mustang fighter.
  • Led North American Aviation, as the company designed planes such as the T-6, B-25, F-100, X-15 and B-1.
  • Following World War II he directed the design of the FJ-1 Fury, the B-45 Tornado and the AF-1 Savage.
  • Became president of North American Aviation and oversaw the development of the F-86 Saber jet, FJ-2 Fury and the F-100 supersonic super Saber fighter as well as the Redstone rocket used to launch the first American astronauts, X-15 research aircraft and the XB-70 Valkyrie bomber.
  • Became North American CEO in 1960 and Chairman of the Board in 1970.
  • During his career, Atwood was directly responsible for the design of more aircraft than any one person.

Interested in learning more?

Fill out the form to receive John Leland “Lee” Atwood's full bio.

"*" indicates required fields