Ralph S. Johnson
Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame
A pioneer in aviation, Ralph Johnson began his flying career in 1930 after graduating from Purdue University, with a Bachelors Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Johnson grew up around aircraft and recounts “wanting to be around aircraft since my earliest memory.” Johnson had a distinguished career serving in the Army Air Corps, United Airlines and General Aviation. Johnson operated WWII bombers such as the B-18. B-17 Flying Fortress, C-82 Packet, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Invader, DC-3, DC-4 and Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon, to name a few.
Mr. Johnson is credited with many accomplishments and innovations in his career, including the propeller deicing system, the flight deck coordinator, and the wing tip dispensing system. The flight deck coordinator, a scrolling checklist used by major airlines and the military, is still in use today; thousands were made by Johnson’s Master Equipment Company. Among Johnson’s legacies are also the stabilized glide path approach, the systematic use of a checklist, and the cockpit resource management (referred to as Aircrew Team Dynamics, or Crew Coordination). As one of the few flying octogenarians, Johnson has surely left the aviation community much better than he found it.
Donated a Lockheed PB -2 to the Pima Air and Space Museum.