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Table of contents What's This?
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Scope and Contents
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Air and Space Museum Library and Archives
    Title: Robert Reedy Personal Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: SDASM.SC.10163
    Physical Description: 3 Cubic Feet The collection contains items reflecting Mr. Reedy’s career and his lifelong passion for aviation. There are papers, photographs, albums, scrapbooks, drawings and patents, reports, models and other memorabilia, from the late 1920s up through the 1980s. Included are Swallow and Stearman files; AiRover/Vega models and the Menasco Unitwin; patents for aircraft design; photos, proposals and specifications for the "Sky Skooter"; and files relating to Hiller and Radioplane. Lockheed files include promotional material, program and engineering notes, corporate information, and photos of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, Constellation, Electra, Orion, F-104, SST, and L-1011. SDASM also has many of the donor’s scratch and manufacturer models, including the prize-winning TriMotor, and other memorabilia. This collection consists of four archival boxes, 12-1/2 x 15 x 9-3/4H, three of which contain folders, and one containing scrapbooks, photograph albums, presentation slides, and photographs. There is also one oversized archival box, 18 x 24 x 6H that contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, and other memorabilia. In addition, SDASM received models, calendars, glass plates, a tea tray, coffee mugs, a leather helmet and goggles, plus other memorabilia, which has been turned over to Curatorial.
    Date (bulk): bulk
    Abstract: The collection contains items reflecting Mr. Reedy’s career and his lifelong passion for aviation. There are papers, photographs, albums, scrapbooks, drawings and patents, reports, models and other memorabilia, from the late 1920s up through the 1980s. Included are Swallow and Stearman files; AiRover/Vega models and the Menasco Unitwin; patents for aircraft design; photos, proposals and specifications for the "Sky Skooter"; and files relating to Hiller and Radioplane. Lockheed files include promotional material, program and engineering notes, corporate information, and photos of the Big Dipper and Little Dipper, Constellation, Electra, Orion, F-104, SST, and L-1011. SDASM also has many of the donor’s scratch and manufacturer models, including the prize-winning TriMotor, and other memorabilia.

    Biographical / Historical

    Robert Reedy's career in military and commercial aviation lasted over 50 years. He was born on October 7, 1912, in Texas, and as a boy in the Texas panhandle in the 1920's, the plane-crazy boy built scratch models and drew planes at every chance. At the University of Wichita, a top aviation engineering school, Bob flew gliders and was elected branch president of Tau Omega, the national aviation fraternity. When Will Rogers autographed Mr. Reedy’s prize-winning model Ford TriMotor in 1933, Rogers commented, "This is better than some planes I have ridden in." From 1934 to 1937, Reedy worked part-time and summers at the Swallow Airplane Company in Wichita, doing everything from preliminary designs to selling tickets for airplane rides; he took some of his pay in the form of flight instruction.
    After graduating cum laude from the University of Wichita in 1934, Mr. Reedy joined Stearman Aircraft (later Boeing) in Wichita. He was design engineer on detailed aspects of more than a dozen models, including variants of the Stearman Kaydet, PT-13, and XOSS-1. In 1937, Reedy and Mac Short, VP/Chief Engineer of Stearman, produced a design for a "4-place monoplane with dual geared engines, powered by Menasco." Ties between Stearman, Lockheed and Menasco led to the establishment of the AiRover Company in Burbank. Mac Short took Reedy and three other engineers out to Burbank to form the engineering nucleus of the new company.
    In 1938, AiRover became the Vega Airplane Company, where Reedy headed Preliminary Design. His team was involved in development of the 'Unitwin' Model 2, guided missiles and targets, patrol and scout-observation types, the PV-2 and early development of the P2V Neptune. By 1944, Vega had become part of Lockheed. Reedy was Chief Project Engineer in the Special Projects Branch at Lockheed, focusing on the Model 33 "Little Dipper" and the Model 34 "Big Dipper." Work ended abruptly after Big Dipper crashed in February 1946.
    Later in 1946, Mr. Reedy joined his former Lockheed colleague, John Thorp, at the new Thorp Airplane Company as VP Sales for the "Sky Skooter." The postwar period was difficult for private aviation; many on the Thorp team were working on reduced pay, so Reedy also worked for Radioplane as Assistant Chief Engineer to make ends meet.
    In late 1949, Mr. Reedy rejoined Lockheed full-time as Manager of Sales Engineering, and there his team promoted the Constellation and Electra worldwide. When President Kennedy announced a competitive National Supersonic Transport (SST) program in 1963, Reedy became Program Director for Lockheed's SST project. When Lockheed's SST ambitions ended in December 1966, Reedy was needed on the new L-1011 TriStar. He led Commercial Programs and Marketing Administration until 1981, when Lockheed announced it would soon cease production. Bob Reedy continued to represent Lockheed in a number of industry bodies until retirement in 1984. He passed away on December 20, 1995 in Los Angeles.

    Conditions Governing Access

    This collection is open to research by appointment.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of four archival boxes, 12-1/2 x 15 x 9-3/4H, three of which contain folders, and one containing scrapbooks, photograph albums, presentation slides, and photographs. There is also one oversized archival box, 18 x 24 x 6H that contains scrapbooks, photograph albums, and other memorabilia. In addition, SDASM received models, calendars, glass plates, a tea tray, coffee mugs, a leather helmet and goggles, plus other memorabilia, which has been turned over to Curatorial.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection was donated to the San Diego Air and Space Museum.

    Related Materials

    Lockheed aircraft files.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Lockheed Aircraft
    Lockheed Model 34 Big Dipper
    Lockheed Model 33 Little Dipper
    Thorp Airplane Company
    Vega Aircraft Corporation
    Lockheed R7V-1 Super Constellation
    AiRover Company
    Thorp Sky Skooter
    Reedy, Robert
    Thorp, John
    Short, Mac