John W. Thorp, 79, an aeronautical engineer, pilot and aircraft designer who in the 1940s designed the "Little Dipper," a tiny, two-passenger, low-wing aircraft powered by a two-cylinder engine. That craft evolved into the Sky Skooter, which remains popular and is still being manufactured in Kentucky and distributed throughout Europe. Thorp was an engineer at Lockheed when he developed many of his designs, among them the T-18, an experimental craft that can be home-built. One has been flown around the world. In Lodi, Calif., on April 17 of the complications of Parkinson's disease.