Saturday, March 12, 2022

North American Aviation

North American on December 6, 1928 by Clement Melville Keys as a holding company that bought and sold interests in various airlines and aviation-related companies. Its founder intended for it to invest in a range of aviation businesses rather than become another aircraft manufacturer.

It brought together interests in Curtiss Aeroplane, Douglas Aircraft and Transcontinental Air Transport. The holding company later purchased aircraft manufacturer Berliner-Joyce as well as the General Aviation Manufacturing Co.

However, the Air Mail Act of 1934 forced the breakup of such holding companies. Its manufacturing capabilities, represented by Berliner-Joyce and General Aviation (Fokker), were consolidated into a single manufacturing company, which was incorporated on Jan. 1, 1935, as North American Aviation Inc. run by James H. "Dutch" Kindelberger, Kindelberger, who had been recruited from Douglas Aircraft Company.

Its first planes, the GA-15 observation aircraft and the GA-16 trainer led to the O-47 and the NA-16 (also called the BT-9), a low-wing monoplane that won the 1934 Army Air Corps trainer competition.

The BC-1 of 1937 was North American's first combat aircraft; it was based on the GA-16. [1] In 1940, like other manufacturers, North American started gearing up for war, opening factories in Columbus, Ohio , Dallas, Texas , and Kansas City, Kansas.

During the WWII, the North American Aviation facility in Los Angeles was one of the most efficient in the world and set a single-type production record when it delivered 571 P-51s in just one month.

In 1946, North American produced its first FJ-1 Fury jet fighter. The next year, it was redesigned into the XP-86, first flown on October 1, 1947. Its test pilot, George "Wheaties" Welch, became the first pilot to fly the plane at Mach 1 in routine flight.

In 1955, North American spun off its Rocketdyne division, which would become the premier American producer of liquid-fueled rockets.

Through a series of mergers and sales, North American Aviation became part of North American Rockwell, which later became Rockwell International and is now part of Boeing.
North American Aviation

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