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Douglas Aircraft Company

From Academic Kids

The Douglas Aircraft Company was founded by Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. in July 1921, following dissolution of the Davis-Douglas Company.

It is most famous for the "DC" series of commercial aircraft, including what is often regarded as the most significant transport aircraft ever made, the DC-3. Douglas also created many aircraft for the United States armed forces, the Navy in particular.

The company initially built torpedo bombers for the U.S. Navy, but developed a number of variants on these aircraft including observer aircraft and a commercial airmail variant. Within five years the company was turning out over 100 aircraft annually. Among the early employees at Douglas were Edward Heinemann, James Kindelberger, and John Northrop. The company retained its military market and expanded into amphibians in the late 1920s, also moving its facilities to Santa Monica. The complex in Santa Monica was so large that the mail girls used roller skates to deliver the intra-company mail. By the end of World War II, Douglas had facilities at Santa Monica, CA, El Segundo, CA, Long Beach, CA, Torrance, CA, Tulsa, OK, Oklahoma City, OK, and Chicago, IL.

In 1934 Douglas produced a commercial two-engined transport, the DC-2, following it with the famous DC-3 in 1936. The wide range of aircraft produced by Douglas included airliners, light and medium bombers, fighters, transports, observation aircraft, and experimental aircraft. In addition to its own designs, Douglas also produced Boeing B-17 and B-47 bombers under license. Douglas was a pioneer in related fields, such as ejection seats, air-to-air, surface-to-air, and air-to-surface missiles, launch vehicles, bombs and bomb racks.

In 1967, the company was struggling to expand production to meet demand for DC-8 and DC-9 airliners and the A-4 Skyhawk attack plane. Quality and cash flow problems, combined with shortages due to the Vietnam War, led Douglas to agree to a merger with McDonnell Aircraft Corporation to form McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas was acquired by the Boeing Company in 1997, ending more than seventy-five years of Douglas aircraft production.

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