Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
William P. Lear was an American electrical engineer and industrialist whose Learjet Corporation was the first mass manufacturer of business jet aircraft in the world.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Career
- William P. Lear was born on June 26, 1902, in Hannibal, Missouri and later moved to Quincy, Illinois.
- From his early youth, he had shown interest in building electronics so by the age of 12, he had built his own radio set with earphones.
- After completing eighth grade, Lear quit school and joined the Navy at age 16 (by lying about his age) during World War I where he became a non-paid “grease monkey” working on US Air Mail planes flying out of Chicago in 1919.
- During his military service, he studied radio and learned flying planes which helped bolster his mechanical knowledge.
- After discharge, he gained more skills and knowledge as a telegraph operator, a Chicago’s Grant Park Airport’s aviation mechanic, and a ham radio operator.
- He also worked as a radio salesman and rebuilt a radio station at his grandmother’s church.
- At the age of 20, Lear founded his first company in 1922, the Quincy Radio Laboratory, where he first designed a non-battery home radio receiver with a built-in speaker.
- Afterwards, he and his friend Elmer Wavering built the first practical automobile radio, the Lear-o-scope, and later received the Frank M. Hawk Memorial Award for this important aircraft navigation aid.
- However, without the substantial financial backing to produce the radio himself, Lear sold it to the Motorola Company in 1924 for mass production.
- In 1934, he designed a single, universal all-wave radio amplifier which Radio Corporation of America (RCA) immediately purchased.
- This gave Lear enough capital to expand his operations and thus founded the Lear Avia Corporation in 1934.
- He went on designing aircraft navigation equipment with his new companies and developed develop a radio direction finder for airplanes.
- As World War II approached, Lear manufactured aircraft radios, communications, and navigation equipment for military aviation application.
- To aid the war effort, LearAvia Corporation filled more than $100 million in defence orders.
- His radio direction finder Learmatic Navigator helped pilots to automatically hold a course by tuning in to any kind of radio broadcast.
- Post World War II, he continued manufacturing several designs of lightweight autopilots for fighter aircraft.
- He then moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, and perfected the Lear F-5 Autopilot. This new aircraft had the ability to lock onto homing signals and land aircraft in “zero-zero” weather.
- By 1956, more than 100,000 F-5 autopilots had been built, including some for French Caravelle jetliners by Lear, Inc.
- This achievement earned him the prestigious Collier Trophy presented by President Harry S. Truman in 1950 and the Great Silver Medal from the City of Paris.
- In 1960, he moved to Switzerland and proposed a revolutionary new airplane: a small private jet offering the same advantages as jetliners, but more affordable.
- He designed and tested his Learjet in October 1963, which flew at over 40,000 feet, hitting 605 miles per hour and outperforming modern military fighters.
- Despite an initial takeoff crash just before applying for certification in June 1964, he pushed ahead and two months later the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified a second prototype.
I call this my junk pile. It doesn’t tell me what I can do, but it tells me what I can’t do. That’s worth a lot. ~ Life magazine (Mar 3, 1972), 40. William P. Lear
- His plane quickly established a solid reputation as a corporate jet aircraft and by 1975, over 500 Learjets had been produced and delivered.
- In the 1960s, he also introduced the eight-track tape player, using a cassette loaded with an endless loop of magnetic tape, and cartridge system, which became the standard for automobiles for a short while.
- Afterwards, he sold Lear Jet Industries for $28 million and bought Stead Air Force Base in Nevada to develop a radical new pollution-free automotive engine.
- He founded Lear Motors Corporation to develop a vehicle with external combustion, vapour-driven turbine engine which had very low emissions. Despite his enthusiasm, it was never brought to production.
- Continuing with his aircraft innovation, Lear introduced the concept called the Lear Fan, a streamlined aircraft with twin jet engines built into the fuselage and geared together to drive a pusher propeller at the unique tail assembly.
- His Lear Fan was supposed to transport eight to ten passengers at over 400 mph, with fuel consumption aimed to be 10 miles a gallon.
- However, this again was never put into production, after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia and subsequently died on May 14, 1978.
William P. Lear Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about William P. Lea across 26 in-depth pages. These are ready to use worksheets that are perfect for teaching about William P. Lear, an American electrical engineer and industrialist whose Learjet Corporation was the first mass manufacturer of business jet aircraft in the world.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- William P. Lear Facts
- Kinds of Aircrafts
- Aviation Pioneers
- Life of an Innovator
- Learjet Pilot
- Next Big Project
- Advantages of Flight
- Myth Buster!
- Flying Experience
- Plane Riddles
- Dream Big, Work Bigger
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as William P. Lear Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 9, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.