William Powell Lear is an inventive genius whose restless mind and huge energies have made him, at 56, the head of a $64 million business turning out close to 700 navigational, communications and control systems and devices for planes and missiles. Although he quit school in the eighth grade, Lear can sketch a complete instrument system for a single-engined plane or a jet transport on a nightclub napkin. In 1950, despite his well-earned reputation as a stay-up-all-night playboy, he won the Collier Trophy for distinguished service to aviation as a designer-manufacturer....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!