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Curtiss-Martin NBS-1

Curtiss-Martin NBS-1

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Curtiss-Martin NBS-1

The Curtiss-Martin NBS-1 was a twin engined biplane bomber of the early 1920s that was designed by Glenn Martin but produced by Curtiss, Aeromarine and L.W.F.

Martin designed the MB-2 in response to a US Army request for a bomber aircraft to replace the wartime de Havilland designs then in use. The MB-2 design was tested against a number of rivals, and was found to have the best performance.

During the 1920s there was never any guarantee that the company that originally designed an aircraft would receive the production order. The US Army purchased the manufacturing rights along with the prototype of any new aircraft, and then allowed other companies to bid to produce it. This allowed companies that hadn't had to pay any of the development costs to underbid the original company. In the worst cases the original company went bankrupt while their design was being built elsewhere, not a good way to build up an industry capable of producing good new designs.

In the case of the NBS-1 Martin had produced the first twenty aircraft, as the Martin MB-2. In 1921 the Army decided to buy another 110 MB-2s, with the new NBS-1 designation (Night Bomber Short Range number 1). The order was split between three companies, with Curtiss producing 50, Aeromarine of Keyport 25 and L.W.F. of College Point the final 35. This attempt to support smaller companies wasn't a great success - both Aeromarine and L.W.F. shut down after building their NBS-1s (Aeromarine was reopened in 1929).

The MB-2/ NBS-1 was a conventional aircraft of the early 1920s. It had a wooden framework for both the fuselage and wings, and was entirely fabric covered. The only unusual feature was the main undercarriage - in most aircraft of the period the main wheels were connected in some way, while on the NBS-1 the main wheels, with each one mounted under one of the two engines.

The NBS-1 was a three bay biplane with equal chord equal length wings. The engines were mounted above the lower wing in the innermost bay. Unusually for a land aircraft the wings folded back from a point just outside the engines. This was done in order to make it easier to handle the aircraft's 74ft 2in wingspan.

The first thirty Curtiss NBS-1s used the standard Liberty engine. The last twenty were given General Electric turbo-supercharges, the first time that device was installed in a production aircraft. Six of these turbo-supercharged NBS-1s were used in Mitchell's famous tests of the value of airpower against surface ships on 5 September 1923, when aircraft sank the surplus warships USS Virginia and USS New Jersey.

The NBS-1 had a fairly short service career, with the last ones being withdraw in 1928, only six years after production ended. During that short period it took part in a number of early experiments in air power. In October 1924 the 2nd Bombardment Group used nine NBS-1s on a night flight from Langley Field to Mitchel Field, New York. Seven arrived on time, one an hour late and one on the following day, demonstrating that sizable formations of aircraft could be moved around the country quite quickly. This meant that the US Army wouldn't need to position aircraft at every vulnerable point, but instead could concentrate its aircraft and move them to any danger spot quickly. The NBS-1 was also used in the 1926 air force manoeuvres.

The NBS-1 was one of the first US Army aircraft to carry radios as standard equipment.

The NBS-1 also took part in some more unusual missions. In March 1924 of NBS-1s and DH-4Bs bombed an ice floe on the Platte River, saving a number of bridges from being damaged or destroyed.

Curtiss was given a contract to produce one improved all-metal version of the NBS-1, which emerged as the XNBS-4. This was only produced in prototype form, but entered production in a modified form as the Curtiss B-2 Condor.

Engine: Two Liberty engines
Power: 420hp each
Crew: 4
Span: 74ft 2in
Length: 42ft 7.75in
Height: 14ft 8in
Empty weight: 7,268lb
Gross weight: 12,064l
Max speed: 98.7mph
Climb Rate: 193ft/ min
Service ceiling: 8,500ft
Range: 550 miles
Armament: Five .30in machine guns
Bomb load: 1,334lb


The Curtiss-Wright Corporation is an American, global diversified product manufacturer and service provider, incorporated in Delaware with headquarters in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, [2] which supplies the commercial, industrial, defense, and energy markets. Created in 1929 from the consolidation of Curtiss, Wright, and various supplier companies, by the end of World War II it was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the United States, supplying whole aircraft in large numbers to the U.S. Armed Forces. It has since evolved away from the final assembly of finished aircraft, becoming a component manufacturer specializing in actuators, aircraft controls, valves, and surface-treatment services. It also is a supplier to commercial nuclear power, nuclear navy systems, industrial vehicles and to the oil and gas industries. It has an integrated supply chain and an extensive worldwide service network and is one of the largest diversified market players in the aerospace sector.


The NBS-1 was a wood-and-canvas biplane without staggered wings, employing twin rudders on a twin vertical tail. Its two Liberty 12-A engines sat in nacelles on the lower wing, flanking the fuselage. Ordered under the company designation MB-2 in June 1920, the NBS-1 was an improved larger version of the Martin MB-1 bomber built by the Glenn L. Martin Company in 1918, also known as the GMB or Glenn Martin Bomber. The first flight of the MB-2 took place 3 September 1920.

In addition to more powerful engines, larger wings and fuselage, and simplified landing gear, the NBS-1 also had a unique folding-wings system, hinged outside the engine nacelles to fold backwards for storage in small hangars. Unlike the MB-1, whose engines were mounted between the wings in a fashion similar to the German Staaken R.VI R-bomber, the engines of the NBS-1 were fixed to the lower wing over the landing gear.

The MB-2 was designed as a night bomber and except for a greater load capacity, had reduced performance characteristics compared to its MB-1 predecessor. The first 20 (five MB-2 and 15 NBS-1) were ordered from the Martin Company, which recommended a further 50 be produced to help its struggling financial condition. However the design was owned by the U.S. Army and subsequent contracts for 110 bombers were awarded by low bid to three other companies: Lowe Willard and Fowler Engineering Company of College Point, New York (35 ordered), Curtiss Aircraft (50), and Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company of Keyport, New Jersey (25). The engines of the last 20 bombers of the Curtiss order came equipped with turbosuperchargers manufactured by General Electric, the first such modification made in production quantity. Although enabling the NBS-1 to reach an altitude of over 25,000 ft (7,650 m), the turbosuperchargers were mechanically unreliable and not used operationally.

The bomber was equipped defensively with five .30 in (7.62 mm) Lewis Guns, mounted in pairs in positions in the nose and upper rear fuselage, and singly in a bottom mount firing behind and beneath the rear fuselage.

The first two Martin MB-2s, Air Service serials 64195 and 64196, were retained at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio, for R&D flight testing, marked with project numbers 'P162' and 'P227' respectively, as was the second NBS-1, 64201, marked as 'P222'. Four Curtiss NBS-1s were also assigned to McCook.

Curtiss-Martin NBS-1 - History

01:03:4120 Title Card Reads: &ldquoAn Airplane flew from New York to Paris in sixteen hours and thirty-eight minutes&rdquo. Leaving from Floyd Bennett Field on July 10, 1938, Howard Hughes and his crew set this record in a modified Lockheed 14 Lodestar aircraft with USA on the tail. The New York-to-Paris France was the first leg of a planned around-the-world air voyage (flight) by Howard Hughes.
Image of a Lockheed 14 Lodestar plane with USA painted on tail taking off and in flight.

01:04:5025 CU aerial view of five (5) Curtiss-Martin NBS-1 bombers in flight.

01:05:2015 Image of Wilbur Wright (on left) with two men. CU image of Orville Wright.

01:06:1205 Image of first glider built by Wilbur and Orville Wright. Image of second glider which was nearly twice as large as the first one was built by the Wright Brothers. Their improved machine in 1902 made about 1000 glides from Kill Devil Hill in Kitty Hawk North Carolina.

01:07:4203 The Wright brothers built their own motor and plane in Dayton, Ohio and re-assembled the plane in 1903 at their hangar and living quarters at Kitty Hawk. December 17, 1903 at Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk North Carolina Orville Wright made the first successful attempt of man to fly a heavier-than-air, power driven machine.

01:08:5401 From 1903 to 1908 the Wright Brothers made many successful flights. Image of a flight made by the Wright Brothers. Shows balloon used to estimate height or altitude of flight.

01:09:2300 Footage of Wilbur Wright's flight at Le Mans, France on August 8, 1908. Newspaper headline reads &ldquoWright Glides In Air As A Hawk Flies 2.17 miles in 106 Seconds&rdquo.

01:09:4407 Wheels are attached to plane and plane is towed to take-off area. The two 25-horse power motors are cranked by hand. After 1904 the Wright &ldquoflying machine&rdquo was catapulted by a falling weight from a rail. Shows men hauling up the weight that catapulted the plane from the rail.

01:11:4612 Shows large gathering of French men and women on October 3, 1908 that witnessed Wilbur Wright remaining aloft with a French journalist for 55 minutes and 37 seconds. Newspaper headlines reads &ldquoWright In New World Record, Carries Passenger 36 Miles&rdquo. On November18, 1908 at Le Mans France Wilbur Wright made a world's altitude record by rising 360 feet as noted by stationary balloons.

01:15:1810 Wilbur Wright delivers first plane to the U.S. Government for trial flights at Ft. Meyers, Virginia. Shows early plane hangar.

01:17:1506 In the group watching the Wright plane being removed from tis early plane hangar was Secretary Taft, Major Squier, Major Saltzman, and Lt. Lahm, that became the first military passenger in a Wright built airplane.

01:18:1604 Lt. Lahm and Orville Wright set world's endurance record of one hour, twelve minutes and forty seconds. Lt. Foulous and Orville Wright make the first cross country flight Fort Myers to Alexandria Virginia and return.

01:20:0317 In 1909 Wilbur Wright demonstrated his invention (airplane) before the King of Italy and Italian Government officials. During these flights the first motion pictures were made from an airplane.

01:21:1925 Among the most successful competitors of the Wrights was Henri Farman. Farman's plane as it appeared in 1908. Shows a flight made by Farman at Issy-les-Moulineaux France early 1908.

01:22:2419 Shows Louis Bleriot, distinguished French aviator, and first man to fly the English Channel July 25, 1909 piloting one of his airplanes.

01:23:0817 Shows Glenn H. Curtiss, another American pioneer of aviation at Reims France.

01:24:0301 Shows Lincoln Beachey, first man to &ldquostunt&rdquo an airplane. Shows early days of &ldquowing walkers&rdquo and &ldquodare-devils&rdquo transferring from one plane to another in mid-air.

01:25:2701 Shows odd machines developed as rivals to the Wright biplane.

01:25:5424 CU image of Orville Wright. Wilbur Wright (at left) born 1867, died 1912.

01:26:4100 Aerial views, large airfield, rows and rows of early model aircraft parked on same.

01:26:4905 Image of German Junkers G-38, 34-passenger aircraft taking off. Aerial view, large airfield rows and rows of aircraft parked wing tip to wing tip on same, possibly Italy.

01:27:0625 Aerial shot, aircraft stunting in formation, group of ten doing loop the loop.

01:27:2000 LS large building, Russian writing on side, hammer and sickle insignia large formation of Russian four engine bombers passing over the building. Aerial views, head-on, large formation of American type bombers and fighters flying towards camera.

01:28:04:23 In 1908 the Aero Club of France presented the wright Brothers a gold medal. CU image of the gold medal awarded to Wilbur and Orville Wright.

The same year they were presented a gold medal by the Aero Club, United Kingdom, Great Britain. CU image of the gold medal awarded to Wilbur and Orville Wright.

During same year the international Peace Society presented Wilbur and Orville Wright a gold metal. CU image of gold medal.

In 1909 the Congress of the United States presented the Wright Brothers a gold metal. CU image of the gold medal.

01:29:1428 Still photo group picture of the Wright Brothers, President Taft and other VIPs.

01:30:3322 The Wilbur Wright Memorial at Le Mans, France was dedicated July 17, 1920.

01:30:4511 Memorial marking the place of the first airplane flight is at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

01:31:1321 On November 19, 1932 a memorial to Orville and Wilbur Wright was dedicated at Kitty Hawk North Carolina.


Nei primi anni venti la Curtiss era stata coinvolta nel processo produttivo del bombardiere Martin MB-2 (NBS-1, secondo lo schema delle designazioni utilizzato all'epoca dallo United States Army Air Service [N 1] ), in quanto le fu affidato un contratto per la costruzione di cinquanta esemplari [2] . Partendo da questa esperienza l'azienda di Buffalo sviluppò nel 1922 una propria variante, ordinata in due esemplari, che fu denominata NBS-4 l'aereo però rimase allo stato di prototipo in quanto troppo simile al suo progenitore [2] .

Il passo successivo nello sviluppo del progetto fu affidato a Charles Ward Hall, che in quegli anni aveva sviluppato in proprio l'impiego di materiali metallici nella costruzione di aeroplani [3] . Furono quindi impiegati tubi d'acciaio saldati per la struttura della fusoliera e nelle ali fu introdotto l'uso di longheroni in acciaio e di centine in alluminio rivettate [2] .

Un ulteriore considerevole cambiamento riguardò i motori: si passò dai Liberty L-12, risalenti agli anni della prima guerra mondiale, ai nuovi Curtiss Conqueror con un incremento della potenza complessivamente disponibile pari a circa 300 hp (223,7 kW).

Nato con la denominazione aziendale di Model 52, un primo esemplare del velivolo fu ordinato dalle autorità militari (con la denominazione XB-2) nel corso del 1926 [2] e fu portato in volo per la prima volta nel luglio dell'anno successivo [2] [4] (anche se altri indicano che ciò sia avvenuto nel gennaio del 1929 [5] ). Questo primo esemplare andò però perduto in un incidente di volo nel dicembre del 1927 [4] , dopo aver accumulato 59 ore di volo [2] .

Tra la fine del 1927 e l'inizio del 1928 i neonati United States Army Air Corps emisero un bando per un nuovo aereo da bombardamento ed il progetto del B-2 si trovò in competizione con il Keystone XB-1, l'Atlantic-Fokker XLB-2, il Sikorsky S-37 ed il Keystone LB-6 [6] . La commissione giudicante non seppe prendere una decisione univoca in quanto il B-2 mise in luce le prestazioni migliori ma un singolo velivolo sarebbe costato il triplo rispetto a un solo LB-6 [6] . La scelta operata nel giugno del 1928 fu di ordinare trentacinque esemplari di Keystone LB-6 e due di Curtiss B-2, mentre l'anno successivo fu sottoscritto un contratto per la produzione di altri dieci B-2 [6] .

Il progetto del Model 52 fu anche sviluppato in un aereo di linea. L'USAAC diede il proprio benestare a questa variante nel corso del 1928 ed il Model 53 volò per la prima volta nel giugno del 1929. Capace di trasportare diciotto passeggeri, fu conosciuto anche con il nome di "Condor 18" [1] ne furono realizzati complessivamente sei esemplari [1] .

Cellula Modifica

Il Curtiss B-2 si presentava come un grande biplano bimotore dalla struttura metallica. La fusoliera, di sezione rettangolare, ospitava all'estremità di prua una postazione, armata con una coppia di mitragliatrici montate su anello Scarff, dotata di una sottile vetratura nella parte inferiore subito dietro a questa era disposta la cabina di pilotaggio aperta e riparata da un vistoso parabrezza, nella quale prendevano posto due piloti, affiancati.

I due piani alari erano anch'essi realizzati in struttura metallica e presentavano uguale apertura erano tra loro collegati mediante tre coppie di montanti verticali con la coppia di montanti più interna parzialmente annegata nella gondola dei motori: questa, sporgente oltre i bordi del piano alare, presentava una forma imponente tanto che nella parte posteriore vi era alloggiata una postazione per un mitragliere, anche in questo caso equipaggiata con due armi vincolate ad un anello Scarff. La sezione centrale dell'ala superiore era collegata alla fusoliera mediante puntoni cabane.

L'impennaggio era di tipo biplano e aveva un doppio elemento verticale era collocato al di sopra della fusoliera, nella parte estrema del cono posteriore.

Il carrello d'atterraggio era di tipo biciclo e fisso le gambe di forza erano ancorate in tre punti all'intradosso alare e sostenevano una singola ruota l'elemento più esterno (di minore lunghezza) era dotato di ammortizzatore).

Motore Modifica

Abbandonando il classico, e ormai superato, motore Liberty L-12 la Curtiss optò di equipaggiare il Model 52 con un propulsore di propria produzione e di recente realizzazione, il V-1570 [N 2] noto con il nome commerciale di Conqueror (Conquistatore). Questo era un motore dodici cilindri, a V di 60°, raffreddato a liquido la versione utilizzata era dotata di riduttore e ciascun motore forniva la potenza di 600 hp (447 kW). Le eliche montate sul prototipo erano bipala, mentre sugli esemplari di serie fecero la loro comparsa eliche tripala [4] .

Armamento Modifica

La massima quantità di armamento offensivo del Curtiss B-2 era costituita da 4 000 libbre, pari a 1 814 kg, di bombe tale quantità era però relativa a missioni con autonomia limitata, mentre in condizioni ordinarie il carico di bombe era ridotto a 2 508 lb (1 138 kg) [6] .

La dotazione difensiva del Condor era costituita da sei mitragliatrici Lewis disposte in tre postazioni binate: una era situata all'estrema prua del velivolo e due erano collocate nella parte prodiera delle gondole dei motori, elemento caratteristico ereditato dal precedente prototipo XNBS-4.

Militare Modifica

Tutti i dodici esemplari di Curtiss B-2 furono presi in carico dall'USAAC che li ricevette tra il mese di giugno del 1929 e quello di gennaio del 1930 [6] prototipi a parte, gli aerei furono presi in carico dall'11th Bombardment Squadron, che all'epoca era l'unico reparto dell'USAAC dedicato al bombardamento pesante [2] .

L'impiego operativo dei B-2 fu piuttosto limitato e gli aerei, a parte le annuali manovre di esercitazione, spesso finirono per essere impiegati per il trasporto della corrispondenza [2] .

Ben presto resi obsoleti dagli sviluppi tecnologici dei primi anni trenta, i Condor furono dismessi dal servizio tra il 1934 ed il 1936 [6] .

Civile Modifica

La versione da trasporto civile del bimotore Curtiss non conobbe particolare successo in quanto i monoplani, particolarmente i Ford Trimotor e Fokker F.10, avevano già conquistato ampie porzioni del mercato. I sei esemplari costruiti furono acquistati dalla Eastern Air Transport tra il 1931 ed il 1932 rimasero in servizio soltanto un paio d'anni e furono tutti dismessi prima della fine del 1934 [2] .

  • Curtiss Model 52
    • XB-2: designazione assegnata ai due prototipi del velivolo, il primo dei quali andò distrutto in un incidente occorso nel dicembre del 1927 [2] .
    • B-2: designazione con la quale furono contraddistinti i dodici esemplari prodotti in serie posti in servizio dall'USAAC rispetto al prototipo avevano eliche metalliche tripala e radiatori più corti e spessi [4] .
      • B-2A: fu la denominazione attribuita ad un singolo esemplare (il quinto, in ordine cronologico) [6] che fu utilizzato per la sperimentazione di un sistema di pilotaggio automatico nel corso del 1930 [2] .
      • Curtiss Model 53

      Noti commercialmente con il nome di Condor 18, dal numero di passeggeri che erano in grado di trasportare, furono realizzati sei esemplari della versione "civile" del primo "B-2" della storia. Soppresse le installazioni di tipo militare, i velivoli ebbero fusoliera modificata nella zona anteriore, contraddistinta prevalentemente dalla cabina di pilotaggio completamente chiusa. I diciotto passeggeri erano sistemati in tre file di sedili.


      1. ^àbcPolmar et Bell 2004, pp. 69-73.
      2. ^àbTucker 2013, p. 1358.
      3. ^àblorell 2003, p. 28. ( FR ) Robert J. Neal, Liberté Moteur: Une technique Histoire opérationnelle , Spécialité de presse, le 5 Janvier 2009, p. 510, ISBN 9781580071499. Récupéré le 21 Août, ici à 2015. ( FR ) Aviation aux États-Unis dans Armée, 1919-1939 , DIANE Publishing, p. 120, ISBN 9781428915633. Récupéré le 21 Août, ici à 2015. ( FR ) Roger Connor, aviation Virginie , Arcadia Publishing, le 3 Novembre 2014, pp. 25-28, ISBN 9781439648261. Récupéré le 21 Août, ici à 2015.

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        Subscribe to Naval History magazine to gain access to this article and a host of other fascinating articles and stories that keep our maritime history and heritage alive. Subscribers receive this valuable benefit and so much more.

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        1. See Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, United States Navy Aircraft since 1911 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1968), 93–94 and John Wegg, General Dynamics Aircraft and Their Predecessors (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990), 65–67. The latter volume is the more complete.

        2. Consolidated, formed in 1923, became Consolidated Vultee in 1943 by a merger of the two firms and was acquired by General Dynamics in 1953–54.

        Curtiss-Martin NBS-1 - History

        截至 2018 年全球飞机订单达 10000 架 约 15000 亿美元 波音和空客 6:4

        波音( Boeing )、洛克希德马丁( Lockheed Martin )和 诺斯洛普( Northrop Grumman )几乎垄断了美国航空航天防务订单;

        航空发动机及其配件供应集中于通用电气( General Electric )、 普拉特( Pratt & Whitney )和劳斯莱斯( Rolls-Royce )等三家公司。

        This category includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing or assembling complete aircraft. This industry also includes establishments owned by aircraft manufacturers and primarily engaged in research and development on aircraft, whether from enterprise funds or on a contract or fee basis. Also included are establishments engaged in repairing and rebuilding aircraft on a factory basis.

        The aerospace industry consists of space vehicles, space propulsion parts, guided missiles, aircraft, aircraft engines, and aircraft parts. The production and sale of civil and military aircraft constitutes about two-thirds of the total aircraft industry's value, while civil aircraft sector sales (engines and parts) account for the remainder of the aircraft segment of the aerospace industry.

        In terms of commercial aircraft, in the mid-2010s the global market was primarily a duopoly between U.S.-based Boeing and Europe's Airbus. Gillian Rich, in a June 2016 story for Investor's Business Daily, remarked that "Boeing has topped Airbus' market share 60% to 40% for the past 10 years, but Airbus has been winning more narrow-body orders and will catch Boeing in total deliveries by 2018, according to a Moody report last month." The amount of ordered planes the two firms had on their balance sheets was quite impressive--around 10,000 planes worth an estimated $1.5 trillion, according to an October 2016 article by Dan Reed for Forbes.

        Organization and Structure

        U.S. aircraft companies provide airplanes for three distinct markets: the military, commercial aviation, and general aviation, which includes business travel. From the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the U.S. military services had a voracious appetite for sophisticated aircraft, which U.S. firms sought to satisfy. This nearly 50-year boom in military spending guaranteed the health of many manufacturers and allowed them to devote resources to research and development, ensuring that U.S. aircraft would be the most technologically advanced in the world. The end of the Cold War, which reduced military spending in the United States and around the world, provided the greatest challenge for U.S. aircraft manufacturing, which had grown accustomed to lucrative Department of Defense contracts.

        The development of commercial aircraft posed far greater risks than that of military aircraft. The development process for a passenger airliner capable of carrying several hundred people was both lengthy and costly, requiring manufacturers to anticipate the needs of airlines far in advance and to gamble vast amounts of money on the product's success. Manufacturers usually designed new or modified aircraft in response to the demands of carriers, who typically asked for more fuel efficiency and more seating rather than major redesigns.

        Background and Development

        The U.S. aircraft manufacturing industry traces its origin to one of the seminal events of the twentieth century: the Wright brothers' first powered flight in 1903. While many others had flown with gliders, balloons, and dirigibles, Wilbur and Orville Wright marked a tremendous breakthrough with powered flight because they proved the dynamics of flying a wing. In cross section, a wing is flat on the bottom but curved on top. As a wing moves through the air, air passing over the wing is forced to travel a greater distance than air passing under the wing. This difference causes a pocket of low pressure that literally sucks the wing up into the air. In order to work, the wing must be driven forward, or powered. These principles were described years before the Wrights' flight by Samuel P. Langley, a luckless professor whose aviation experiments were either ignored or failures.

        The Wrights originally hoped to sell airplanes to the U.S. Army for battlefield reconnaissance. One of those on hand to witness the Wright brothers' first demonstration for the Army was a young conscript named Donald Douglas. Despite several impressive flights, Army officials were unmoved. The Wrights took their show to Europe, where they flew for the German, French, and British armies. In the process, they prompted interest with such European aviation pioneers as Louis Blériot, Willy Messerschmidt, Anthony Fokker, and Marcel Dassault.

        Aviation was immediately embraced in Europe as a powerful new force in warfare, but it also was good entertainment. Blériot and others like Louis Paulhan built their own airplanes and began touring flying circuses. During 1910 and 1911, these European aviators toured the United States, flying before garage tinkers like Glenn Martin, Clyde Cessna, Glenn Curtiss, and Bill Boeing. Curtiss, a motorcycle repairman, was immediately drawn to flight and had access to the lightweight engines needed to power aircraft. Curtiss was one of the first to mount a propeller on the front of the aircraft in a "tractor" design. Until that time, propellers had been rear-mounted "pusher" models.

        After several of the Army's Wright planes crashed, killing the pilots, the Army found a new supplier in Curtiss, who escaped the enforcement of the Wrights' patents by incorporating the first ailerons. Curtiss thus emerged as the nation's leading aircraft manufacturer and the new supplier of choice to the Army.

        With the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, Germany and France were quick to apply aviation to the battlefield, producing the world's first aces, Roland Garros and Manfred von Richtofen. The United States Army embraced air power in 1914 by creating an aviation group within the Signal Corps. One of its first members was Donald Douglas. Douglas, an engineering graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was briefly employed by Glenn Martin, who had experimented with gliders since 1905. He built his first powered aircraft near Los Angeles in about 1909 with financing from another aviation enthusiast, inventor Alexander Graham Bell. Douglas helped Martin develop his first production aircraft, the TT trainer, before he was dispatched to Washington to oversee the government's aviation program. Thompson's group later purchased Martin's company to form the Wright-Martin Company.

        By 1918 the government showed its interest in aviation through expansion of an air squadron and active intervention in the industry. Having seen the effect of air power in Europe during World War I, the government resolved not to see U.S. air power stunted by legal wrangling or patent hoarders. What emerged was a loosely policed competition for government contracts, which were primarily military and later airmail business. Hundreds of airplane builders emerged from garages and warehouses.

        Automobile executives were chosen to head the government's ambitious 22,000-plane military aeronautics program. Favored for their ability to turn out huge quantities of a standardized product, these executives openly conspired to keep aircraft builders out of the industry. However, Douglas, a member of the government board, fed information on the aeronautics program to other aircraft designers. Finally, upset with the performance of the Army's air squadron and disgusted with government bureaucracy, Douglas resigned in 1919 and moved to Los Angeles to start his own company.

        Wilbur Wright died in 1912, leaving his brother in charge of their company. A poor manager, Orville Wright naively sold the company and its patents to a group of financiers led by William Boyce Thompson. In 1919 automotive interests led by Delco persuaded Orville Wright to lend his name to another venture called Dayton-Wright. Wright was retained only for his venerable name and his ability to draw investment dollars. As an automotive venture, Dayton-Wright built only aircraft engines, and it later fell under the control of General Motors.

        At the close of World War I, the government canceled 90 percent of the aircraft it had ordered, forcing many airplane builders to close. An investigation later revealed criminal collusion and widespread scandal among those who were empowered to grant contracts. However, nearly all involved escaped without prosecution.

        Having briefly regained the services of Donald Douglas, Glenn Martin abandoned Thompson's company and began an important relationship with General Billy Mitchell, the Army's most powerful advocate of air power. With Mitchell's backing, Martin won a contract to build 20 MB-2 bombers, which Mitchell subsequently used in a spectacular demonstration off the Virginia Capes, sinking the supposedly unsinkable captured German battleship Ostfriesland.

        A separate aircraft concern was established in 1914 by Allan and Malcolm Loughead. The brothers built their first aircraft in a small garage in San Francisco with financial backing from Max Mamlock and his Alco Cab company. After crashing it and scaring away Mamlock and his money, the brothers began flying exhibitions and sold Curtiss airplanes to raise money. The Lougheads, intent on military applications for aircraft, embarked on the construction of a large bomber at a site near Santa Barbara. There they met a young builder with an understanding of mathematics named Jack Northrop, whom they asked to join the company as chief engineer.

        President Coolidge appointed Dwight Morrow to devise a government program for measured development of the industry in 1925. The resulting Air Commerce Act of 1926 set annual procurement levels for 2,600 military aircraft. Loughead and Northrop, who had drifted for six years, suddenly regained their market and managed to secure financial backing from a Los Angeles venture capitalist named Fred Keeler. As a condition, however, Keeler demanded that Loughead change the spelling of his Scottish-Irish name to accurately match its proper pronunciation. Apparently tired of being addressed as "Mr. Lug Head," Allan relented, and the new company was called Lockheed. The company later completed an all-metal, single-skin model called the Vega. This model, based on a design by Holland's Anthony Fokker, was developed by Northrop, who then left the company to work for Donald Douglas.

        Douglas, whose business was growing on the strength of government sales, had been approached by David R. Davis, who offered to invest $40,000 for a transcontinental airliner. With Northrop's help, Douglas produced the Cloudster, and the government ordered several hundred for military use. Davis, fearing the risk, bailed out immediately. The Cloudster, however, led Douglas to a series of successful designs, including the DT series torpedo planes and Douglas World Cruiser. Between 1921 and 1928, Douglas's annual production grew from six aircraft to more than 300.

        The growing aircraft industry received a tremendous boost in 1927 when Charles Lindbergh completed the first successful trans-Atlantic flight using a modified Ryan Aeronautical tri-motor. Lindbergh's daring and nearly fatal stunt so strongly revived interest in aviation that investors began to pump millions of dollars into aircraft companies. The following year, Martin moved to Baltimore to be closer to his customers in Washington, D.C. Building bombers, he purchased the engine business of Louis Chevrolet, whose automobile business had been acquired by General Motors.

        United Aircraft was the creation of Bill Boeing, a rich Seattle forester who purchased his first plane in 1910 from Glenn Martin and took flying lessons from the builder himself. Boeing and his partner Conrad Westerveldt built a number of early floatplane models for maritime postal delivery. After producing aircraft for the military during World War I, Boeing was persuaded by a customer named Ed Hubbard to form an airline service. In 1920 Boeing won a contract to haul mail between Chicago and Seattle. For the job, he developed a new design, the Model 40, fitted with a Pratt & Whitney engine. Boeing's association with Pratt & Whitney brought him the acquaintance of that company's president, Frederick Rentschler.

        The Kelly Airmail Act of 1925 returned airmail service to private bidders after a series of crashes by the government's air service. Postmaster William Folger Brown actively encouraged the formation of large airline companies by carefully awarding profitable airmail contracts. Boeing acquired numerous private airmail companies and their lucrative contract rights and in 1928 banded them together to form the National Air Transport Company. The following year, Boeing and Rentschler merged their airframe and engine businesses to form the United Aircraft & Transportation Company. By the end of 1929, the company had taken over two propeller makers as well as Northrop's Avion company and laid out an air transportation network that later became United Air Lines.

        In August 1929, Allan Loughead (who retained his own name) and Fred Keeler sold the Lockheed Company to a group of automotive investors organized as the Detroit Aircraft company. The company drew tremendous investor interest after aviatrix Amelia Earhart crossed the Atlantic with one of the company's Vegas. Only one month later, world financial markets were buffeted by the stock market crash that plunged the nation into the Great Depression. Aviation company stocks, valued at more than $1 billion on total earnings of more than $9 billion, were decimated.

        Detroit Aircraft, whose share price had tumbled from $15 to 12.5 cents, failed in 1932. The Lockheed operation was purchased out of receivership for $40,000 by Robert and Courtlandt Gross. The acquisition included an important new design, the Orion. Meanwhile, Allan Loughead had returned to his original real estate business. Jack Northrop, however, returned to Douglas, where he established yet another company as a subsidiary of the Douglas enterprise.

        Douglas was associated with an aviation combine similar to Boeing's, called North American Aviation, which controlled Eastern Airlines and TWA. As a result of this relationship, Douglas, who had grown rich on military contracts, was called upon to develop commercial airliners for his parent company. The first of these, the Douglas Commercial One, or DC-1, emerged during the worst years of the Depression. In February 1934, the government reduced its subsidy to airmail carriers, creating a sudden demand for faster, more efficient aircraft. Douglas refined his DC design to meet this demand and in 1935 produced the DC-3, an extremely versatile craft that nearly rendered obsolete competitors such as Boeing's 247. The Gross Brothers and their Lockheed Company likewise improved upon earlier designs and emerged with the Electra.

        Even Glenn Martin, spurned by the War Department, was brought into the commercial market. The devout Republican was forced to mortgage his plant under a Democratic New Deal program. Desperate for business, Martin built a luxurious flying boat, called the China Clipper, for Pan American's trans-Pacific routes. However, when Martin managed to sell only three Clippers, the government was forced to support his business by purchasing the company's newly developed B-10 bomber.

        The Depression would have destroyed the aircraft industry were it not for government support. It became official policy to award contracts to an increasingly privileged club of manufacturers, so that their expertise could be preserved and developed for military purposes. This policy hardened the cycle of concentration promoted by Brown. U.S. aviation was controlled by three huge vertical monopolies, each maintaining huge airframe and engine manufacturing facilities and airline services.

        In 1934 Senator Hugo Black completed an investigation of improprieties in these aviation investment trusts, which included United Aircraft, North American Aviation, and a third group called the Aviation Corporation of the Americas, or Avco. Several magnates were called to testify at hearings, including Bill Boeing, Donald Douglas, and Glenn Martin. All admitted huge profiteering from aviation activities but, due to the absence of laws against these practices, no prosecution resulted. Boeing, however, was so incensed by the nature of the investigation that he sold all his aviation interests and retired.

        The combines were eventually dissolved on antitrust grounds, creating an enduring line of business restriction in U.S. aviation. Airframe, engine, and airline companies could no longer be associated in any way. Boeing's conglomerate was divided into the Boeing Company in Seattle, United Aircraft in Connecticut, and United Air Lines, headquartered in Chicago. Likewise, North American Aviation lost its association with TWA and Eastern Airlines, and Avco lost American Airlines and Pan Am. Martin and Lockheed remained intact, as did Consolidated Aircraft, a company whose growth sprung from its acquisition of the defunct Dayton-Wright's designs.

        By 1937 the emergence of the DC-3 and Electra enabled airlines to make money from passenger services alone, ending the reliance on airmail. The efficiency of these aircraft was recognized by belligerents in the small wars being fought in Europe and Asia. Unbeknownst to them, Lockheed, Douglas, and Martin frequently sold aircraft to fictional airline companies and other front organizations for the Japanese and German armed forces. This discovery led to neutrality laws, which prescribed an aircraft embargo to any belligerent. However, the demand for aircraft, particularly from Britain and France, was so great that the Roosevelt administration created loopholes designed to allow the export of aircraft to U.S. allies, which enabled the industry to fund development of new designs from large, lucrative export orders.

        Much of this development was highly experimental. Northrop, whose subsidiary had been consolidated by Douglas in 1937, formed another company in 1939 with backing from LaMotte Cohu. After raiding Douglas of dozens of engineers, he resumed work on his radical flying wing project. Lockheed produced an equally strange design, a triple-hull fighter called the P-38 Lightning, while Boeing began work on its large B-17 bomber.

        Several smaller manufacturers gained admission to the defense industry club during this time. Grumman, a company established in 1929 to build naval aircraft, grew quickly after winning a contract to supply folding-wing F4F Wildcats to the Navy. By 1941, the company, established by Leroy Grumman and Leon Swirbul, had become the primary supplier to the Navy, overtaking even Martin. McDonnell Aircraft began building aircraft on a large scale in 1939, producing fighters for the Army Air Force. Meanwhile, Consolidated merged with the Vultee Company, forming a huge manufacturing operation in Texas called Convair.

        While military preparations were stepped up in 1940 and 1941, the event that sparked tremendous growth in the aircraft industry was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Huge amounts of government money were poured into engineering and production facilities. President Roosevelt ordered 60,000 aircraft in 1942, and 125,000 the year after. Douglas converted its DC-3 into military cargo planes and bombers, more than 10,000 of which were built. Other manufacturers were suddenly able to complete new designs. Convair produced the B-24 Liberator, and Martin the B-26 and A-30 Baltimore bombers and 70-ton Mars freighter. North American turned out the B-25 Mitchell bomber and the P-51 Mustang, while Douglas added the A-20 Havoc and SBD Dauntless dive bomber. The newly reorganized Curtiss Company returned with its C-46 cargo craft. Grumman provided the Navy with its Widgeon, TBF Avenger, and F6F Hellcat.

        Boeing, which at one point turned out 16 bombers a day, went into production on its B-29 Super Fortress. Even Ford, which exited the aircraft business during the Depression, was pressed into service, building B-24s. Northrop got his flying wing, the B-49, to fly. With every surface of the craft devoted to creating lift, it was capable of tremendous payloads. The Army, however, refused to develop the boomerang-shaped bomber, fearing possible instability in flight and the use of electronic, rather than cable, controls.

        Small airplane builders, such as Beech Aircraft, Cessna, and Piper, also participated in the war effort. However, due to their limited manufacturing facilities and lack of advanced engineering talent, they were relegated to building support aircraft and parts for other manufacturers. Employment in the industry peaked at 1.3 million people in 1943, as every manufacturer participated in some way in the war effort.

        The war completely changed the aircraft industry. In addition to demonstrating the power and strategic importance of aerial combat, it established the parallel relationship between investment and technological development. The war allowed the perfection of strategic bombing tactics, carpet bombing, dogfights, naval attack bombing and, in the final days of the war, atomic bombing. Wars that were previously fought with tanks and battleships were now waged from the air. By the end of the war, work had begun on a new generation of aircraft: jets. Larry Bell's Bell Aircraft Company, Lockheed, and McDonnell were the first to experiment with jet power, having gained volumes of captured German jet airframe research.

        While the military threat from Germany and Japan had been vanquished, a new adversary emerged in the form of the Soviet Union and became the focus of continued government investment in aviation. The development that began during World War II was scaled down but concentrated in new technologies for long-range strategic bombers to deliver nuclear bombs to targets in the Soviet Union, and speedy fighters to intercept similar threats from Soviet bombers.

        Transition to a peacetime economy was considerably better managed than after World War I, due to the Contract Settlement Act of 1944. Nonetheless, the industry was forced to choose between commercial and military manufacturing. North American, Grumman, McDonnell, Northrop, and Vought chose to develop only military craft, while Douglas pursued commercial designs. Boeing, Martin, Lockheed, and Convair elected to develop commercial as well as military designs.

        The most important postwar commercial entries were the four-engine Douglas DC-4, the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, and the triple-finned Lockheed Constellation, designed by Howard Hughes for TWA. Having emerged from the war with tremendous manufacturing capacity and engineering talent, these three companies dominated the commercial aircraft industry. Competitors, including Curtiss, Martin, and Convair, were forced to exit the market in rapid succession, taking refuge in the more secure military businesses. Hughes Aircraft, famed for its massive Spruce Goose amphibian freighter, failed to break into the production market. After building a few experimental designs, it became the plaything of its owner, the millionaire Howard Hughes. Hughes Aircraft later retreated into the missile and aviation controls business.

        Boeing and Lockheed also became leading defense suppliers after the war. Lockheed extended its lead in jet fighter designs during the Korean War with its F-94 interceptor and, later, F-104 Starfighter. Boeing developed a family of huge intercontinental bombers, including the B-57, B-50, and B-52. Meanwhile, Convair introduced its B-36, with six pusher propellers, and supersonic B-58 Hustler.

        On the recommendations of the Finletter Air Policy Commission, the government made air power the core of its military establishment. While tremendous competition existed for seemingly open-ended military contracts, manufacturers found new ways to commercialize military designs. Boeing was the first to develop an entirely new passenger aircraft with technologies gained from a jet bomber. Boeing requested permission to use government-funded technologies from its successful eight-engine B-52 to develop a new four-engine jetliner called the 707. Eager to prevent a European monopoly in passenger jets since DeHavilland had just introduced its sleek Comet, the government agreed.

        Soon after the 707 flew in 1954, American Airlines, a good Douglas customer, announced plans to buy 30 of Boeing's new jets. Douglas, which had put off introduction of a jet in favor of its DC-6s and DC-7s, was forced to rush a similar design into production or risk following Curtiss and Martin into oblivion. Douglas emerged the following year with a highly similar jet design called the DC-8. Ironically, United Air Lines, historically associated with Boeing, placed the first order for the DC-8. Boeing, however, had eclipsed Douglas as the premier American aircraft builder.

        Two new jet designs emerged from Europe during the early 1960s, the Sud Aviation Caravelle and Hawker Siddeley Trident. These jetliners featured engines tucked onto the rear of the fuselage, rather than under the wings. At the request of Eastern Airlines, Boeing pursued a three-engine 727, delivered in 1964, while Douglas built a more economical two-engine DC-9, delivered in 1965. Boeing introduced a smaller twin-engine jetliner, the 737, in 1967.

        Tremendous consolidation occurred in the aircraft industry during this period. Convair was acquired by General Dynamics in 1952. Martin, which had abandoned aircraft production during the 1950s to concentrate on missiles and aircraft parts, was acquired by the American Marietta Corporation in 1961. North American, a builder of Air Force fighters, was in deep disarray in 1967 after a fire destroyed one of its Apollo space capsules, killing three astronauts. The company was taken over that year by the machinery manufacturer Rockwell Standard. In addition, financial difficulties that year resulting from the DC-8 and DC-9 finally caught up with Douglas. Unable to keep up with the demand for its aircraft, Douglas neared bankruptcy. Eventually, McDonnell Aircraft, a manufacturer of fighter jets and space capsules, prevailed in its bid to acquire Douglas.

        The 1960s was a decade of feverish development in military aviation, due to continued investments by the Defense Department in new technologies and academic programs and the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Some of the major accomplishments of this period were in the development of supersonic and rocket-powered aircraft. North American built a six-engine, triple sonic delta wing bomber called the B-70. Obsolete before its first flight, this aircraft evolved into the B-1 bomber a dozen years later. Lockheed marked two great achievements with its ultra high-altitude U-2 and triple-sonic SR-71 spy planes.

        After abandoning research on a revolutionary nuclear-powered bomber, General Dynamics' Convair group became involved in the development of a multi-use fighter/bomber called the F-111 and the F-16 fighter. During the 1960s, McDonnell, Douglas, Martin, Boeing, Grumman, and Convair became major participants in the space program. Other manufacturers were reduced to the production of single-mission aircraft, such as Vought, with its A-7 Corsair, and Fairchild, with its A-10 Warthog. Northrop began work mainly as a subcontractor to McDonnell Douglas, building the F-18.

        A postwar boom in private aviation greatly expanded the fortunes of small aircraft manufacturers such as Cessna, Beech, and Piper. General aviation accounted for 17,811, or 90 percent, of all U.S. aircraft by 1978. However, a wave of personal injury lawsuits precipitated by one pilot's suit against Piper Aircraft severely set back general aviation aircraft manufacturers. Manufacture of the most popular single-engine propeller plane in the world was halted in 1986.

        In 1969 aviation engineer Bill Lear introduced the first private jet, which Cessna and Beech later imitated. Fairchild and Beech Aircraft became active in the small-airliner market, defined as 19 seats or fewer. Fairchild, which built the Fokker 27 under contract, developed the Metro airliner. Beech introduced its King Air, followed some years later by its Model 1900. These craft were operated on small-airline "feeder" routes.

        In commercial circles, a new market emerged for large 300- to 400-passenger jumbo jets. Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, eager to maintain their passenger jet franchises, began the extremely costly development of the 747 and DC-10, respectively. Surprisingly, Lockheed reentered the market after 20 years, building a three-engine jumbo called the L-1011 Tristar. Boeing was nearly ruined by its four-engine behemoth and at one point was forced to lay off two-thirds of its workforce. McDonnell Douglas fared little better, and Lockheed, mired in huge cost overruns from its massive C-5 Galaxy military cargo plane, required a federal loan guarantee to remain solvent.

        The 747 and Tristar hit the market in 1970, and the DC-10 followed in 1971. These aircraft revolutionized air travel by offering airlines the capability to move as many as 400 passengers over distances of up to 5,000 miles. While sales of the DC-10 gained slowly, the 747 soon dominated the skies.

        The Airline Deregulation Act, meanwhile, was signed in 1978. This legislation had a tremendous impact on airlines across the country, and plane manufacturers soon felt its repercussions as well. Major national carriers were unprepared for the newly competitive environment created by the act and found themselves with fleets of Boeing 707s and McDonnell Douglas DC-8s that, because of fuel costs, had become prohibitively expensive. In the meantime, new regional carriers utilized fuel-efficient aircraft that fit their needs. The national carriers were forced to examine their fleet configurations and make significant new purchases. Even then, analysts charged that the carriers were sluggish in responding. In many cases, orders for new aircraft were not made to Boeing or McDonnell Douglas or any other manufacturers until well into the 1980s. The backlog of orders subsequently reached all-time high levels, with waiting periods for delivery of one aircraft ranging as long as seven years by 1986.

        Efforts to build a supersonic transport, or SST, were abandoned by Lockheed and Boeing in 1970 after the market evaporated and the government refused to cover skyrocketing development costs. A European consortium succeeded in building a jet capable of breaking the speed of sound, but the plane proved so costly to build and operate, and its sonic boom was so disruptive, that flights were severely curtailed and the planes operated at a loss.

        McDonnell Douglas developed a family of new military aircraft based on the success of its F-4 Phantom in Vietnam during the 1970s, including the F-15 Eagle and A-4 Skyhawk. Boeing developed its venerable 707 into tankers and powerful AWACs airborne radar platforms, while Lockheed built large new military cargo craft, such as the C-130 and the Galaxy. Northrop remained a strong player in the military market with aging entries, such as its F-5, and failed designs such as the F-20 Tigershark, which was intended for export. Grumman did extremely well in the 1970s with its F-14 Tomcat and a smaller version of the AWACs, the E-2C Hawkeye.

        The U.S. military aircraft arsenal gained a huge boost in 1980. The industry, starved for investment since Vietnam, was the primary beneficiary of a massive armament program started by President Carter and tripled by President Reagan. Reagan resurrected Rockwell's $200 million B-1 bomber, canceled by Carter in 1977, and ordered development of a range of new radar-evading aircraft. Pentagon funding poured into these super secret "black projects." One of the beneficiaries was Lockheed, whose success with the SR-71 won it the right to develop the tiny diamond-shaped F-117 Stealth Fighter. Another was not revealed until 1988, when Northrop unveiled its sinister-looking B-2 Stealth Bomber. A flying wing, the B-2 represented the culmination of the late Jack Northrop's lifelong dream. It also emerged, along with the B-1, as the replacement for the elderly but still devastating B-52 and the versatile F-111.

        The flood of investment into military aircraft resulted in a series of scandals unrivaled since World War I. Several companies were investigated for vastly overcharging the Pentagon and misappropriating funds. In response, the government began to shift contracts from offenders, forcing them to compete for business they had earlier taken for granted. In one of the few signs of growth, a consortium of Lockheed, Boeing, and General Dynamics was chosen to develop the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF). The ATF was one of the few large military projects remaining in a period of decline for the defense industry.

        Significant activity also occurred in the commercial airliner market during the 1980s. Boeing introduced several upgraded versions of its hugely profitable 747, and a new series of economical, large twin-engine aircraft, the 757 and wide-body 767. These aircraft finished off Lockheed's otherwise excellent L-1011, which, with three engines and a larger crew, was discontinued in 1981. Unable to design entirely new aircraft, McDonnell Douglas upgraded its DC-9 into the MD-80 series and offered a similarly improved DC-10, called the MD-11.

        For years the industry was propelled by ever-increasing military budgets and ever-increasing numbers of commercial airline passengers, but those stimuli changed in the 1990s. Government military expenditures peaked in 1987, when aircraft manufacturers supplied more than 1,200 planes. In 1994 U.S. manufacturers shipped only 755 military aircraft for $7.9 billion in sales, approximately two-thirds the number shipped in 1987. By 1995 the number of military aircraft had dropped to 410, although the value had risen to $11 billion, generally reflecting budget cuts with corresponding reductions in employment by military aircraft manufacturers. During 1992 McDonnell Douglas, General Dynamics, Northrop, Lockheed, Rockwell, and Grumman cut more than 29,000 jobs.

        In 1993 the Clinton administration took steps to protect the U.S. aerospace industry's long-held technological superiority, increasing NASA's research and development budget, maintaining the Defense Department's research and development budget, and creating the National Commission to Ensure a Strong, Competitive Airline Industry, which attempted to challenge the subsidies provided by European Community countries to their aircraft manufacturers. Such efforts were designed to maintain the technological superiority of the U.S. aircraft manufacturing base even while the number of manufacturers shrank.

        Much of the ordering activity for new planes came from leasing companies. British Aerospace Asset Management's jet and turboprop divisions managed and leased more than 500 planes with $700 million in revenues. Another leader was GE Capital Aviation Services, which ordered 45 Airbus jet transports with options on another 45, with delivery beginning in 1997 and continuing at the rate of 15 to 20 a year until the order was complete. Leasing was the primary means for the global air industry to acquire new aircraft between 1997 and 1999 and beyond.

        While military aircraft manufacturers struggled to adjust to changing military budgets, commercial aircraft manufacturers had to adjust to declining demand for aircraft by major carriers, production overcapacity, and government-supported foreign competition in the first half of the 1990s. These challenges became even more pressing in 1991, when for the first time in commercial airline history the number of passengers declined. The drop in air travel prompted many airlines to cancel or postpone orders for aircraft, leaving manufacturers with excess inventory. U.S. manufacturers shipped 408 large transport aircraft valued at $26 billion in 1993, down from their peak of 610 aircraft valued at $30 billion in 1992. Both Boeing and McDonnell Douglas had to reduce production and lay off nearly 10,000 employees each. Fortunately, by 1996 the industry had begun to recover.

        Industry earnings reached a milestone in 1997 when commercial and foreign customer sales matched sales to the U.S. military, the first time since 1934. By the late 1990s, mergers and acquisitions created three major manufacturers in the United States--Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Corporation, and Raytheon Company, in descending order of size. In July 1998, Lockheed Martin announced the termination of a proposed merger with Northrop Grumman because the U.S. Department of Justice questioned if the merger gave too much market leverage to the merged company in the defense industry.

        During the early part of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the aircraft industry struggled in the wake of downturns in the air transportation market. The leading U.S. airlines lost more than $7 billion in 2001 and more than $3 billion through the first half of 2002. In addition to a decrease in aircraft orders and falling profits, this drop affected industry employment. The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) revealed that, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment within the aerospace industry reached an all-time low in 2002.

        A number of factors, including a slack economy, a decline in travel following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and heightened competition from discount airlines contributed to the air transportation sector's woes. In December 2002, United Airlines, which accounted for about 20 percent of U.S. flights, filed for bankruptcy after losing $4 billion over two years and laying off some 20,000 employees.

        U.S. manufacturers shipped about 4,088 units of complete civilian aircraft (fixed wing, powered craft helicopters and nonpowered types of civil aircraft) in 2002, valued at approximately $34.7 billion. In terms of unit shipments, this figure represented a decrease from 2001, when the industry shipped 4,541 units valued at $41.8 billion, and from 2000, when shipments numbered 5,162 civil aircraft valued at $38.6 billion.

        During 2003 the industry remained flat, but both civil and military orders began to pick up significantly during 2004. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan led to expanded defense funding and military spending. As a result, although the civil aircraft sector suffered during the first half of the decade, manufacturing of military aircraft expanded, thus driving growth for the industry. In 2004 revenue from military aircraft, including engines, parts, and service, was $46 billion, up 15 percent from 2003.

        By mid-decade, the civil aircraft industry segment was showing signs of increased activity. For the first time since 2000, shipment of commercial airliners inched up in 2004, from 281 units in 2003 to 285 units, and both Boeing and Airbus, the world's leading manufacturers, announced plans to increase shipments during 2005. Significant growth came in 2006, when the carriers began to reap the benefits from increased global air traffic. Sales of new aircraft surged 21 percent in 2006. Value of shipments neared $30 billion from just over 400 large commercial aircraft deliveries.

        The recession of 2008-09 affected airlines, as travel was greatly reduced. The commercial airline segment reported a loss of $9.4 billion in 2009. However, in the early 2010s, the industry began to recover. According to the AIA, aircraft sales reached $211.7 billion in 2010. Following a two-year slump, orders grew 23.8 percent over 2009 to $202.5 billion. In fact, Boeing delivered 462 airplanes around the globe in 2010.

        According to the AIA, the aerospace industry exported $85.3 billion in 2011, which translated into a "positive trade balance of $55.8 billion--the largest of any American business sector," according to the Washington Business Journal in March 2012.

        The AIA stated the 16-day government shutdown in 2013 affected general aviation by furloughing more than 15,000 employees, slowing aircraft certification needed for sales, and by delaying deliveries of at least 150 new aircraft. The shutdown lasted from October 1 until October 16, 2013 it occurred after Congress did not take action regarding funds for 2014.

        Despite this, shipments of generation aviation aircraft were estimated to total 1,661 units in 2013, at a value of $10.2 billion. This was an improvement of 9.7 percent over 2012. Shipments of general aircraft for 2014 were forecast to total 1,801 units, with a value of $11.3 billion. In 2013 the two fastest-growing segments of the market were multi-engine turboprops and single-engine turboprops, which increased 42 percent and 10 percent in 2013, respectively, in terms of number of deliveries. Business jets in 2012 and 2013 showed a declining number of deliveries. Between the third quarter of 2012 and the third quarter of 2013, deliveries of business jets dropped 2.1 percent.

        While the news for small aircraft was generally good in 2013, military aircraft sales were down overall. The AIA reported that sales of military aircraft declined to $55.95 billion in 2013, a 6.3 drop from the previous year. Part of this was caused by reduced overseas military spending and part was due to sequestration (a plan that would reduce Pentagon arms purchases by about 10 percent in order to curb federal deficits).

        Current industry conditions

        A July 2016 Aviation Week article by Aaron Karp demonstrated that both Airbus and Boeing were very optimistic about the medium- and long-term future of the global commercial aircraft market. "Boeing forecasts demand for 39,620 commercial aircraft over the next 20 years valued at US$5.9 trillion. The number of aircraft, which includes regional aircraft below 90 seats, is 4.1% higher than the 20-year forecast issued by Boeing in 2015," Karp wrote. Airbus has similar rosy numbers. An increase in the number of middle-class residents worldwide was expected to help spur international air travel, which would boost demand from airlines for planes to fly such people around the globe.

        In the Aviation Week article was a point later emphasized by Dan Reed in Forbes regarding plane types and profitability. Both Boeing and Airbus acknowledged that most growth would occur with single-aisle plans, also known as narrow-body planes. These were expected to account for around 70 percent of demand. Wide-body planes would then be around 30 percent of the market, but the Karp story noted that these planes accounted for the majority (54%) of value. Reed showed the drop in demand for Boeing's wide-body 777: "It has sold only 17 777s this year. And its production line, currently cranking 100 777s a year, already is set to be dialed back to just 66 in 2018, and could be further reduced to 42 in 2018." Demand for aircraft was high, but it was for lower margin narrow-body aircraft, and the decline at the top end of the market could signal the beginning of the end of a boom cycle.

        The Boeing Company acquired the defense and space units of Rockwell International in 1996 and merged with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing posted of $96.1 billion in 2015, compared to 2013 revenue of $86.6 billion.

        Lockheed Martin, a leading U.S. defense contractor, posted revenues of $46 billion in 2015. Based in Bethesda, Maryland, the company built F-16 and F-22 fighters and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (Lightning II).

        Northrop Grumman Corp., based in Los Angeles, is a global defense and technology company. In 2015 the company posted revenues of $23.5 billion.

        航空发动机及其配件( Aircraft Engines and Engine Parts )

        This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing aircraft engines and engine parts. This industry also includes establishments owned by aircraft engine manufacturers and primarily engaged in research and development on aircraft engines and engine parts, whether from enterprise funds or on a contract or fee basis. Also included are establishments engaged in repairing and rebuilding aircraft engines on a factory basis.

        Companies in the aircraft engines and parts industry are involved in the manufacturing of propulsion systems, aircraft engines, auxiliary equipment, and other aircraft parts. This industry is highly concentrated and in the United States is dominated by three companies: General Electric (GE), Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce. Part of the reason for this concentration is because start-up costs are very high, given the requirements for manufacturing and technology. The aircraft engines and parts industry is highly dependent on a skilled workforce and on demand from manufacturers of commercial, personal, and military aircraft.

        In the mid-2010s, conditions were favorable for U.S. aircraft engine suppliers. Global air travel was on the rise, with the world's two largest commercial aircraft builders--U.S.-based Boeing and Airbus of Europe--predicting growth of around 4 to 5 percent annually, according to an Aviation Week story by Aaron Karp in July 2016. More air travel meant more planes, which translated to higher demand for aircraft engines and engine parts.

        Organization and Structure

        The manufacture of aircraft engines was once controlled by the same companies assembling aircraft and operating airlines, but industry regulation initiated in 1934 forced aircraft engine manufacturers to work independently of aircraft manufacturers. This antitrust legislation is partly responsible for the intense competition that characterizes the aircraft engine industry, in which each of the leading engine makers seeks to provide engines to fit the requirements of a wide range of aircraft. Engine companies are typically chosen to design an engine at the concept stage of a new aircraft. Once the engine is developed, the engine builder may try to adapt the design for other aircraft. In fact, it is common to find the same engine on a variety of competing aircraft. Engine manufacturers rarely develop an engine that is not capable of multiple applications.

        For decades following the end of World War II, military funding supplied much of the research and development money that allowed U.S. manufacturers to continually upgrade their engines. Technical breakthroughs achieved on military projects found their way into commercial engine applications, thus allowing engine manufacturers to earn substantial profits from commercial engine sales. This arrangement changed significantly after the end of the Cold War when the U.S. military budget decreased dramatically. Therefore, engine manufacturers increasingly faced with incorporating the cost of research and development spending into the price of their engines.

        Background and Development

        The development of powered aviation, which began with the Wright Brothers in 1903, fell mainly to those who understood engines, rather than those who understood flight. Aeronautical scientists such as Samuel P. Langley, who was perhaps the first to describe the dynamics of lift over a wing, actually had very little to do with powered aircraft. Instead, a pair of bicycle mechanics, Wilbur and Orville Wright, and a motorcycle mechanic named Glenn Curtiss, were the first to demonstrate propeller-driven aircraft. In fact, Curtiss gained an early lead over the Wrights and a third aviator, Glenn Martin, precisely because he knew how to build lighter, more powerful motors. The first 10 years of motorized flight were pioneered by eccentric inventors working out of their garages by night and flying in air shows by day. These barnstormers relied on show earnings to pay for their building efforts, and many died in the process.

        Industrial support for aviation did not materialize until European aviators demonstrated the strategic use of aircraft in World War I. Major industrial involvement in the United States occurred only after the U.S. Army requested funding for aviation projects. Financiers and industrial magnates were drawn to the industry not by their love of aviation, but by the opportunity to enrich themselves with government contracts. Some of the earliest investors in aircraft ventures were automobile manufacturers and automobile fleet owners. They sponsored specific aircraft builders and later pulled dishonest financial stunts to take control of aircraft builders' fledgling companies.

        Edward Deeds, founder of Delco and the first to commercialize an electric starter, formed a one-sided partnership with the well-known Orville Wright called the Dayton-Wright Company. The company built engines, but no aircraft. The company was later acquired by William Boyce Thompson, who established the first U.S. aircraft combine. Thompson acquired the patents owned by Wright and later Martin bought the rights to a light, European-designed engine called the Hispano-Suiza and acquired the facilities of the Simplex Automobile Company in which to build his engines. Shut out from the management of the company by Thompson and unhappy only building engines, Wright retired, and Martin started another company.

        Unwilling to allow any single group of financiers to corner the aviation industry, U.S. government officials created the Aircraft Production Board to oversee the development of the U.S. aviation industry. This board was soon dominated by the automobile industry, which assembled an industrial federation called the Manufacturers Aircraft Association. Auto manufacturers, led by the Packard and Hall-Scott Motor Car companies, convinced the Aircraft Production Board to support the mass production of a single type of aircraft motor--a 400-horsepower, 8-cylinder model called the "Liberty." As evidence of the industry's widespread complicity, this huge water-cooled engine featured an unnecessary electronic ignition system supplied by Delco. Completely inappropriate for use on existing aircraft designs, the monstrosity was better suited for a truck or a boat than an aircraft.

        Under pressure from auto manufacturers, the government ordered the production of 11,000 Liberty engines. This action so infuriated Donald Douglas, the leading aircraft designer on the board, that he resigned his position and returned to making airplanes for Glenn Martin. Confident of the program's failure, he simply ignored the Liberty, as did many other aircraft manufacturers. Despite problems with Delco's starter and with the reconfiguration of the Liberty into an even larger 12-cylinder engine, the government remained comfortable entrusting the future of aviation to such experienced transportation pioneers as Packard, Hudson, Nash, and Ford.

        An Indianapolis, Indiana, engine builder named Jim Allison recognized the futility of placing the huge Liberty motor in the light aircraft of the day and decided to build a light engine of his own. As he pursued the development of lighter engines, he stumbled across a variety of high-quality manufacturing techniques. Engines, he discovered, ran most efficiently at about 30,000 rpms (rotations per minute), while propellers generated the greatest amount of thrust at about 2,000 rpms. What was required was a precisely machined reduction gear. Allison was the first major manufacturer to perfect an engine and clutch mechanism with acceptable tolerances. His lead in this area greatly advanced the Allison reputation and provided the company with hundreds of profitable orders.

        Another engine builder of the day was Frederick Rentschler, one of the original founders of Wright Aeronautical. Rentschler grew increasingly weary of managerial interference from automobile magnates, whom he thought were interested only in short-term profit. The development of engines required years of expensive and often fruitless experimentation. Rentschler resigned from Wright in 1924 and began searching for a factory and financial backing to develop better engines. Like Douglas and Allison, Rentschler knew the Liberty design was a failure. He learned from a naval officer that the Navy would soon announce a competition for a powerful, lightweight, air-cooled design.

        In 1925 Rentschler acquired the Pratt & Whitney company, a small machine tool manufacturer in Hartford, Connecticut. Rentschler raided the Wright company of its best engineering talent and enlisted the help of Chance Vought, an aircraft builder. By Christmas of that year, Pratt & Whitney completed its first air-cooled radial engine, the 425-horsepower Wasp. The radial design meant that the cylinders were arranged in a circular fashion around the prop shaft, rather than being lined up along the shaft as in an automobile. This design allowed the cylinders to be directly exposed to the thrust of air generated by the propeller. As a result, there was no need for a bulky radiator or heavy liquid coolant, as in the Liberty. Barely one year old, the Pratt & Whitney company secured an order from the Navy for 200 Wasps, providing the capital needed to develop an even larger, 525-horsepower engine, the Hornet.

        In 1929 automotive interests organized yet another company, Curtiss-Wright, bearing the name of aviation's first pioneers. While neither Glenn Curtiss nor Orville Wright was active in the company, it did manage to turn out a successful product, the Cyclone radial engine. General Motors made the switch to air-cooled engines when its Dutch designer, Anthony Fokker, chose Pratt & Whitney's Wasp engine for his aircraft. Ford, meanwhile, dropped out of the aircraft business to concentrate on automobiles. The Lycoming Foundry and Machine Shop, established in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 1908, began building aircraft engines during the late 1920s. Its position in the industry was secured by the success of its nine-cylinder R-680 radial engine, which was standard on many aircraft.

        Pratt & Whitney gained dominance in the industry when it gained the attention of Bill Boeing, an aircraft builder in Seattle, Washington. Boeing was also looking for a replacement for the Liberty and considered the Wasp to be the perfect engine for his fighters and mail planes. When Boeing installed the Wasp to his Model 40 mail plane, he discovered the aircraft could carry an additional 500 pounds of mail or even passengers, making it extremely profitable. Boeing, Rentschler, and Vought later merged their companies into what became the most powerful aeronautical combine in the United States. The new company, called United Aircraft & Transportation, acquired amphibious airplane builder Sikorsky, light aircraft manufacturer Stearman, Jack Northrop's Avion experimental aircraft company, propeller makers Hamilton and Standard Steel, and a combination of small airline companies.

        United Aircraft grew at an extremely fast pace. While the Great Depression virtually destroyed the industry, United Aircraft continued to expand, taking over the routes of defunct airline companies and providing a stream of exclusive Pratt & Whitney-driven aircraft for the military. In 1934 Senator Hugo Black led an investigation of the industry that resulted in legislation that broke up the aircraft combines. The Boeing Company was separated from United Aircraft, as were the airline services, which were reincorporated as United Airlines in Chicago. Pratt & Whitney, however, remained a division of United Aircraft.

        The importance of efficient, powerful engines was well understood by manufacturers in Germany and Japan, who embraced aviation as an instrument of warfare during the mid-1930s. Companies such as Daimler-Benz and Mitsubishi closely studied the advancements in American engine designs and were heavily sponsored by their governments. As a result, during the years leading up to World War II, Japanese and German aircraft advanced beyond the capabilities of U.S. designs. By 1940 however, with the war raging in Europe, the U.S. government began a massive mobilization of its war industries.

        Pratt & Whitney, which had developed a 2,000-horsepower Double Wasp engine, was required to vastly expand its production capacity. Still unable to meet the demand for nearly 8,000 of these engines, Pratt & Whitney licensed production of its designs to Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, and Nash-Kelvinator. By the end of the war, Pratt & Whitney and its licensees produced a staggering 363,619 aircraft engines, representing half of all the horsepower used by the U.S. military during the war.

        Meanwhile, Curtiss-Wright's R1820 Cyclone was used to power the Boeing B-17 bomber, the Douglas Dauntless dive bomber, and a number of DC-3s. A second design, the R3350, powered Boeing's B-29 bomber and, later, Lockheed's Constellation airliner. Curtiss-Wright provided 35 percent of U.S. wartime horsepower. Allison held a special position during the war, producing 70,000 of its V1710 engines for aircraft such as the Lockheed P-38 and Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk. Lycoming, then a division of Avco, built only smaller engines, one of which powered Sikorsky's first helicopter in 1939.

        Another manufacturer, the Garrett Corporation, was drawn into engine manufacture during the war. Garrett entered the market first by building intercoolers and turbochargers, devices that heated and concentrated the mix of oxygen and fuel in the combustion chamber for higher engine performance. Garrett turbochargers were fitted to existing engines on U.S. aircraft, vastly improving their performance. Garrett also was active in the production of air conditioning systems and flight controls. Established in 1935 by Cliff Garrett, the company emerged from the war with an excellent reputation among airframe builders and later launched an aggressive diversification that included the development of engines. Garrett's first engine design was the 575-horsepower Model 331 gas turbine, intended for use on helicopters and light aircraft. This engine was later used to power the Beechcraft 18, Aero Commander, and Mitsubishi models.

        Curtiss-Wright emerged from the war as the number-two engine builder in the industry, but did not maintain that position. Rather than plow its substantial earnings back into product development, Curtiss-Wright chose to invest its profits in other businesses, thus ceding its position to more enlightened competitors such as Pratt & Whitney and General Electric.

        During the war, government war procurement officials designated Pratt & Whitney, Curtiss-Wright, and Allison to produce only piston-driven engines. Meanwhile, the development of jet engines was given to Allis Chalmers, General Electric, and Westinghouse, since they were experienced with steam turbines. The introduction of the jet engine was the most significant development in aviation since the Wright Brothers' first flight. Existing engines used fuel to drive pistons down, turning a shaft while driving other pistons up for another firing. Jet engines used the entirely different principle of scooping air into a chamber and compressing it with a series of turbine blades. Behind these blades, a highly refined fuel was sprayed into the compressed air and ignited. The resulting blast was channeled out the back of the engine, where it drove a second turbine that powered the intake compressors. With their enormous thrust, jet engines could propel an aircraft at much greater speeds than conventional propellers.

        The first jet engines were successfully built in Germany and England. Britain's Rolls-Royce held a strong lead in jet engine technology, due to the work of the inventor Frank Whittle. It was several years before U.S. companies assumed leadership in jet technology, using Whittle's designs. General Electric, whose experience in turbine technology originated with steam-driven electrical generators, was given a government contract to develop Whittle's engine for a new jet, the Bell Aircraft XP-59A, which first flew in 1942. A practical jet engine emerged only after the war, however, with the J33 and J35, which were used to power the Boeing B-47 and Northrop B-49 flying wing. GE turned over its licenses for these designs to Allison in 1946.

        Westinghouse scored an early coup in jet technology by building the first axial flow engine. Earlier models used less efficient centrifugal compression. However, Westinghouse lost its early lead in jet technology when the Navy changed its weight specifications for the engines and canceled millions of dollars worth of orders for Westinghouse engines. Unable to adapt quickly, Westinghouse simply abandoned the jet engine market.

        Pratt & Whitney was first introduced to jet engines as a subcontractor to Westinghouse. Later, because U.S. law required that foreign designs for military craft be manufactured domestically, Pratt & Whitney built versions of Rolls-Royce's Nene and Tay jet engines, which saw action during the Korean War. Pratt & Whitney's future was secured when it achieved a major engineering breakthrough. General Electric had been planning engines with up to 7,000 pounds of thrust, but Pratt & Whitney decided to leapfrog other competitors by building an engine that would produce 10,000 pounds of thrust. The result, the J57/JT3, was used to power the F-100, F-101, and F-102 fighters, while eight of the engines were used on Boeing's massive new B-52 bomber. Thus, the continuing battle for ever-increasing amounts of jet thrust began.

        General Motors' Allison division, initially paralyzed by postwar labor action, pursued jet engine development with GE's J33 design. Allison manufactured 15,525 of these engines for a variety of fighter aircraft and secured its position in the postwar engine market. Lycoming capitalized on its involvement with helicopters after the war. Under the direction of Dr. Anselm Franz, the company built the T53, the first jet engine designed specifically for helicopters. Nearly 20,000 were produced.

        Following World War II, government-led industry coordination ended and free market competition, fueled by Cold War military budgets, began. As a result GE terminated its technological partnership with Allison and began work on the J47, which drove the North American F-86 in combat over Korea. A later model, the high-performance J79, powered Convair's B-58, the Lockheed F-104, and McDonnell F-4 Phantom. As in the airframe industry, many of the advances made for wartime engine development were applied to commercial markets. Thousands of airliners were retrofitted with more efficient turbo-powered engines.

        The advent of jet-powered bombers gave aircraft builders the experience necessary to create jet airliners. After Britain's DeHavilland built the first commercial jet, the Comet, Boeing, Douglas, and Convair scrambled to develop their own jetliners. When Boeing's 707 was introduced in 1954, it was powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT3s. Douglas' DC-8, which took to the air in 1955, used the same engine. A commercial version of GE's J79 powered Convair's short-lived 880 and 990 jetliners.

        While jet engine companies successfully converted military engines to civilian uses, the Defense Department continued to press for even greater advancements in propulsion technology. The leading manufacturers began testing ramjets, engines that were designed for such high-speed flight that they required no compressor fans. General Electric was given a contract to build a nuclear-powered jet engine, and Pratt & Whitney was asked to develop liquid hydrogen-fueled rocket motors. Allison built a counter-rotating propeller engine for Convair's vertical takeoff and landing "Pogo Stick" airplane. All the projects were successful, though only the rocket technology was developed.

        Within the conventional jet engine arena, General Electric built a massive J93 engine in 1963. This boron-fueled engine, rated at 30,000 pounds thrust, was developed for North American's brilliant but obsolete Mach-3 B-70 bomber. Pratt & Whitney had better luck in triple-sonic flight, developing the J58 engine for Lockheed's SR-71. Capable of crossing the United States in only 68 minutes, the SR-71 established numerous performance records. Pratt & Whitney also built the J75 for Lockheed's high altitude U-2 spy plane. The J52, however, was the company's military mainstay. In production for 30 years, the J52 powered a long line of naval aircraft.

        Among the small manufacturers, Curtiss-Wright's sales were declining rapidly by 1960. In 1963, as part of a scheme to bolster its position in the market and acquire a staff of talented engineers, Curtiss-Wright launched a hostile takeover bid for Garrett. Garrett's management remained deeply suspicious of its suitor, however, and enlisted the support of Signal Oil & Gas, a company with the financial resources to thwart Curtiss-Wright's bid. Signal acquired Garrett in 1964, permitting the company to operate autonomously. Garrett was firmly established as a manufacturer of auxiliary power units, small engines that are used to provide power to start main engines. Garrett built this business into a series of successful small propulsion engines, principally the TFE731, which powered the Learjet 25, Cessna Citation, and Hawker Siddeley 125 business jets.

        Lycoming regained its position in the fixed-wing market in the mid-1960s, after developing its own small turbofan. This design evolved into the ALF502 which, like Garrett's design, was popular with a variety of business jets. The engine was chosen to power the Hawker Siddeley 146, which eventually emerged as the popular British Aerospace BAe 146 commuter jet.

        In the airliner market, Allison briefly extended the life of turboprops by developing a T56 power plant for a family of Convair airliners, the 440, 540, and 580. Meanwhile, Boeing was developing a new medium-range tri-jet called the 727 and asked for an engine similar to Rolls Royce's Spey. Allison formed a partnership with Rolls-Royce but lost the 727 business to Pratt & Whitney, whose JT8D became a best-seller in the industry. In addition to the 727, the versatile engine was used on four twin-jets: the Boeing 737, Douglas DC-9, Sud Aviation Caravelle, and Dassault Mercure.

        While Pratt & Whitney and its JT8D dominated the commercial market, General Electric's J79 derivative declined with the increasingly unpopular Convair jetliners. However, General Electric expanded its market for jet engines well beyond the aircraft industry. Variations on the company's engines powered missiles, helicopters, hovercraft, speedboats, and even electrical power generators. GE's J85 series became a favorite among the growing ranks of private jet manufacturers. The company scored a major coup in 1965 when it was chosen to develop the engines for Lockheed's super transport, the C-5 Galaxy. To lift the massive freighter into the sky, GE had to develop a more efficient high-bypass "turbofan" engine.

        With early turbofans, about half the air taken into an engine passed concentrically around its combustion chamber, providing additional thrust and allowing the engine to operate more efficiently. GE's high-bypass design, the TF39, increased the bypass ratio to eight to one. Four of the engines, which generated 41,100 pounds of thrust, enabled the C-5 to carry 132 tons of cargo. Airline companies immediately embraced the quieter, more fuel-efficient turbofan, which was perfectly suited for subsonic passenger aircraft. Nevertheless, because the engines were considerably fatter, it was impossible to retrofit the thousands of existing aircraft that were designed for the long, skinny JT8D turbojet. Instead, turbofans were reserved for the new line of jumbo jets. The TF39 gave GE the lead in engines for large passenger aircraft such as Boeing's 747, McDonnell Douglas' DC-10, and Lockheed's L-1011. A commercial version of the high-bypass turbofan, the CF6, was developed for the DC-10 in 1971 and Airbus' A300 in 1974.

        Pratt & Whitney began to develop its own high-bypass engine in 1960. The company's TF30 was used aboard General Dynamics' F-111 and Grumman F-14 and led to a civilian version, the JT9D, which could generate more than 43,000 pounds of thrust. The JT9D entered service with the 747 in 1969 and was the only 747 power plant until 1975, when GE developed a CF6 for the jumbo jet.

        Meanwhile, Lockheed's L-1011 Tristar, a competitor to the DC-10 and 747, was powered by RB211 engines from Rolls-Royce. Allison, Rolls-Royce's U.S. partner, wisely elected to steer clear of the RB211, sure that its pricing was flawed. When problems later arose with the engine, Allison avoided the brush with bankruptcy that nearly ruined Rolls-Royce and Lockheed. Allison did, however, convert its production of Rolls-Royce's Spey into its own TF41, which went on to power Vought's A-7 Corsair. In addition, Allison's T56 turboprop was chosen for the Lockheed C-130 transport, Grumman E-2C, and Lockheed Orion.

        During the late 1960s, GE was asked to apply its experience with the J93 on the development of an engine for Boeing's supersonic transport (SST). The resulting design, the GE4, generated nearly 70,000 pounds of thrust. Four of these engines enabled the SST to reach 1,800 miles per hour. However, Boeing canceled the program after airlines lost interest in the SST.

        General Electric was awarded a contract to develop a new engine for Rockwell's B-1 bomber in 1970. Unlike the B-52, which the bomber would replace, the B-1 was fitted with afterburners. A common feature of fighter jets, the afterburner was a mechanism that detonated a second spray of fuel into an engine's exhaust thrust. The resulting blast could add up to 50 percent more power to an engine. The B-1, and the F101 engine GE developed for it, were canceled in 1977. However, the engine went back into production when the B-1 program was revived in 1981.

        Engine manufacturers benefited greatly from drastically increased defense spending under the Reagan administration in the 1980s. Even so, the heavy investment in defense industries during those years led to several scandal-ridden cases of overcharging and nonperformance. While few of these cases involved engine manufacturers, the laws put in place to correct the abuses still applied to them. These laws were meant to extract more economical and responsible development by mandating strict competitions for government business, particularly between General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

        General Electric's F404 engine, developed for McDonnell Douglas' F-18 fighter, was fitted to Grumman's X-29, an experimental high-maneuverability aircraft with forward swept wings. The engine was later used for Lockheed's F-117 Stealth fighter, which flew secretly as early as 1981, and SAAB's Gripen fighter.

        Pratt & Whitney developed the F100 in 1970 for McDonnell Douglas' F-15. The engine, which could send an F-15 to 98,000 feet in only three minutes, was later fitted to General Dynamics' F-16. However, turbine wear on the F100 took years to correct, enabling General Electric to step in with an alternative. GE combined the finest elements of the F101 and F404 to produce the versatile F110. This engine powered all U.S. leading fighter jets, including the F-15, F-16, and F-14. Eventually, GE's F110 gained 75 percent of the F100's market.

        The loss convinced Pratt & Whitney to pay closer attention to the Pentagon's needs. The company developed variants with special new capabilities and by 1990 had won back a quarter of the government's Fighter Engine Competition business. Meanwhile, Pratt & Whitney developed a second derivative of its F101, the F118, which was chosen to power Northrop's B-2 Stealth bomber.

        Strong growth in airline traffic during the 1970s led aircraft manufacturers to create a new family of airliners to replace the aging DC-8, DC-9, and 727. Boeing designed two large twin-jets, the 757 and 767. The European Airbus consortium introduced a new line of A310, A320, and A330 aircraft. McDonnell Douglas, however, elected to update its existing models. The DC-9 became the MD-80, and the DC-10 became the MD-11. Development centered on improved avionics and control functions, but the greatest advancement occurred with engines, which were quieter and far more fuel-efficient.

        Pratt & Whitney's position in the commercial markets started to wane in the 1980s. The company was reviled for its growing arrogance and lack of customer focus and had rested too long on the laurels of its successful JT8D. General Electric's deliveries surpassed Pratt & Whitney's in 1986. General Electric captured a large portion of the new market through its CF6 series and a partnership with the French engine manufacturer SNECMA called CFM International. The company's CFM56 was used to re-engine the old fuel-guzzling DC-8 and military versions of the 707 and was the standard engine on Airbus' A320. In 1987, GE formed a second partnership with Garrett called the CFE Company. This company developed the CFE738, a 6,000-pound thrust turbofan for the small jet market, specifically the Dassault Falcon 2000 business jet.

        Eager to remain in the game, Pratt & Whitney established its own international partnership with the German Motoren und Turbinen Union and Italy's Fiat Avianzione. The company developed the PW2037 for Boeing's 757, and the PW4000, which was designed specifically to compete with the CF6, for the 747. The PW2037 caused General Electric to abandon its entry for the 757, but Pratt & Whitney still faced competition from a modified version of Rolls-Royce's RB211. Pratt & Whitney later formed a second consortium, called International Aero Engines, with MTU, Fiat, Rolls-Royce, and Japanese Aero Engines. The company's V2500 engine was used to power Airbus' A320. The partnerships helped to preserve Pratt & Whitney's position in the industry until it could mend its relations with airline companies and aircraft manufacturers.

        While manufacturers were often able to convert military engines into commercial versions, the two markets held fundamentally different requirements. Airline companies wanted highly reliable, fuel-efficient engines that were quiet and did not pollute. The military, on the other hand, wanted powerful lightweight engines that remained cool enough to avoid detection by enemy tracking. During the mid-1980s, demand grew for a new type of commercial engine with little or no military use. Conventional high-bypass jet engines burned too much fuel for the increasingly cost-conscious airline industry, which requested development of a new hybrid propjet.

        General Electric and Pratt & Whitney immediately began work on elaborate jet engines whose turbines drove two rear-mounted counter-rotating propellers with crescent-shaped blades. This "propfan," while slightly slower than conventional engines, was twice as fuel efficient as turbofans. The propfan was an unducted pusher propeller design, intended for installation on the rear fuselage of aircraft. Accordingly, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas tested propfans on a 727 and MD-80 and began development of two new twin-propfan designs, the 7J7 and MD-91. In England, Rolls-Royce began work on a ducted propfan, with its blades enclosed within a large shell, called the contrafan. Such a propfan would be suitable for the thousands of aircraft whose engines were wing-mounted.

        During the late 1980s, a vicious cycle of competition drove airlines into near bankruptcy while fuel prices dropped. Airline companies canceled orders for hundreds of new aircraft, choosing instead to squeeze a few more years of service out of their existing fleets. As a result, airframe and engine manufacturers were forced to shelve the propfan indefinitely. Despite this, Boeing began planning a larger super twinjet, the 777, intended to compete with the MD-11. Pratt & Whitney's PW4000 was chosen as the launch customer for the 777.

        One of the biggest shake-ups in aerospace industry history occurred in the early 1990s, as military budgets shrank and fewer people chose to fly. Commercial airlines canceled or postponed their orders for airplanes, and aircraft manufacturers, in turn, canceled their orders for aircraft engines. The industry recession proved particularly challenging for the aircraft engine industry, which was in the process of developing a number of engines for the expected orders of large jet-powered aircraft. General Electric, which had poured money into the development of its GE90 engine for the Boeing 777 aircraft, was the most severely affected of the big three engine manufacturers, but all three companies faced dismal short-term prospects. Industry analysts questioned if the intense competition that had characterized the aircraft engine industry through the 1980s could continue through the 1990s.

        After the worst recession in more than a decade, the turbine engine slowly rebounded in 1996. Airframe manufacturers and engine-producing counterparts had a successful year in 1996. Intense competition had threatened profitability in the recent past but had led to further product development. General Electric and Pratt & Whitney teamed to help reduce the threat of competitiveness to earnings.

        By 1998 the total value of aircraft engines and parts had risen 20 percent from 1997, a significant percentage of which was exports. Boeing and General Electric, as well as other original engine and parts manufacturers (OEMs) of aircraft engines, formed their own independent service centers. Outsourcing by the major airlines became more popular in an effort to reduce costs. The U.S. government also saw this as a means for savings by shifting civilian and military personnel from noncombatant support to war-fighting aircraft only.

        Meanwhile, in the military arena, the Pentagon sponsored a competition between Northrop and Lockheed for a new Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF). Similarly, General Electric and Pratt & Whitney were asked to compete for the engine to drive the ATF. In this test, Pratt & Whitney's F119 would challenge GE's F120.

        By 2003 the aircraft industry was struggling in the wake of downturns in the air transportation market. The leading U.S. airlines lost more than $7 billion in 2001 and more than $3 billion through the first half of 2002. A number of factors, including a slack economy a decline in travel following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 and heightened competition from discount airlines contributed to the air transportation sector's woes.

        During the early part of the first decade of the twenty-first century, the civil aircraft manufacturing industry, suffering from the sharp decline in U.S. air travel, fell off significantly. However, because of the increased focus on national security and the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, military spending was robust. Defense contracts, which had ranged between $23 and $32 billion annually from 1992 through 2000, topped $40 billion in 2003 and 2006. The civilian aircraft industry had topped $80 billion annually in shipments from 1997 through 2000, when shipments nearly reached $100 billion. After descending under $50 billion by 2003, the civilian sector led the way for a robust industry in mid-decade with $139 billion in shipments in 2005, $161 billion in 2006, and over $170 billion in 2007.

        Like many industries, the aircraft engine and parts industry saw a decreased demand for products as a result of the recession of 2008-09, as travelers stayed home and business spending declined.

        Current industry conditions

        An October 2016 Forbes article by Dan Reed illustrated just how much demand for new aircraft existed at that time, noting that Airbus and Boeing had a combined backlog of 10,000 planes on order, worth an estimated $1.5 trillion. Both Reed and Karp discussed in their articles how wide-body aircraft (with multiple aisles) were ceding ground to narrow-body planes with a single aisle. This could potentially spell trouble for Rolls-Royce, because in 2016 that company claimed it had around half of the global market for engines for wide-bodied planes.

        A February 2016 Reuters story by Tim Hephner discussed a potential new plane design by Boeing, an intermediate size between narrow- and wide-body planes, and stated that designing a new engine for such an aircraft would cost between $5 and $6 billion. This showed the types of barriers to entry in the aircraft engine realm. Hephner also noted that "Pratt & Whitney, elbowed out of the commercial market by Rolls and GE in the 1990s, is on the rise again with a geared turbofan design that went into service last month. Its engines power half of Airbus's newest small jets, but it has been years since it was selected by Boeing." Hephner remarked that Rolls-Royce had shifted focus to wide-body planes, but was now facing a shrinking market and was "regretting the decision." Hephner stated GE was the world's largest aircraft engine maker, with a variety of designs for planes of all sizes.

        In the mid-2010s, the three main aircraft engine companies remained General Electric (through its GE Aviation division), Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney. In 2015 revenue at Rolls-Royce was around $20 billion. That same year, Pratt & Whitney reported $14 billion in revenue and had more than 28,000 employees.

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