Widgets June 26 ~  An Idea Executive Jets

"What you need is an idea." ~ William P. Lear

William P. Lear

A man with remarkable ideas, aviator inventor William Powell Lear (1902-1978) was born on this day in Hannibal, Missouri. This creative genius was a high school dropout who joined the Navy and learned radio electronics.

"There was nothing I couldn't do if I had the will to try," he once said. Inspired by the rags-to-riches story of Horatio Alger, Lear started his first company in 1922.

As French cleric Ernest Dimnet once observed, "Ideas are the roots of creation." And create Lear did.

With a name synonymous with flight, the self-made millionaire formed Learjet, a company that became the world's first mass-manufacturer of business jet aircrafts. Creating a lightweight aircraft with maximized engine power, his jet made its first flight in October 1963.

"You never have to repair or replace what you leave out of the design," he said about his reputation for design excellence.

With hundred of other patents to his name, Lear created all his life, with many inventions including the practical car radio (1924), navigational gear for airplanes (1930s), and the eight-track tape player (1964).

"Bill's great strength," praised former Motorola President Elmer Wavering, "was that he was an idea man. He had great creativity and liked to brainstorm. Ideas would just flow in numbers."

In later years, Lear sought to elliminate pollution and experimented with the design of practical steam vehicles. He observed, "The best of life is the exercise of ingenuity--in design, in finance, in flying, in business."

An idea is salvation by imagination.