Learned to fly in a Curtiss N-9 seaplane while in the U.S. Navy Reserve Flying Corps.
Went to work as a mechanic for EM Lairs Company in 1920 on the Laird Swallow airplane.
Learned the finer points of flying from another EM Laird employee, Walter Beech (enshrined 1977).
Became chief engineer of the Swallow Airplane Company in 1924 where the Swallow airplane became one of the most coveted planes among America’s sporting pilots.
Formed the Stearman Aircraft Company in 1926 which produced the C-1, C-2, C-2m and the C-2C.
Joined with others to purchase Lockheed Aircraft Company in 1930 and became its first president.
Designed the famous Electra airplane as President of Lockheed.
In the late 1940s, the Stearman Aircraft Division of Boeing produced the Boeing Model 75 trainer for the Army and Navy and it became known as the Stearman.
Wanted to rejoin Lockheed but never told the employment office that he used to be the president. While at Lockheed, he assisted on designing the F-104, vertical takeoff and landing craft, re-entry vehicles, and the Lockheed Constellations.