North American Aviation
Clement Melville Keys founded North American Aviation (NAA) in 1928, as a holding company that bought and sold interests in various airlines and aviation-related companies. However, the Air Mail Act of 1934 forced the breakup of such holding companies. North American became a manufacturing company, and by 1933 General Motors Corporation had a controlling interest. NAA was merged with GMC's General Aviation division in 1933, but retained the name North American Aviation. The company's operations were moved to southern California, which allowed flying year-round, and it was decided to focus on training aircraft. Its first products were the GA-15 observation aircraft and the GA-16 trainer, followed by the O-47 and BT-9, also called the GA-16. The BC-1 of 1937 was North American's first combat aircraft. In 1940, like other manufacturers, North American started gearing up for war, opening factories in Columbus, Ohio, Dallas, Texas, and Kansas City, Kansas. North American's follow-on to the BT-9 was the T-6 Texan trainer, of which 17,000 were built, making it the most widely used trainer ever. The twin-engine B-25 Mitchell bomber was used in all combat theatres of operation. The P-51 Mustang was initially produced for Britain as an alternative to the Curtiss P-40, which North American had declined to produce under licence. The derivative A-36 Apache was developed as a ground attack aircraft and dive bomber. A suggestion by the RAF that North American switch the P-51's powerplant from its original Allison engine to the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine transformed the P-51 into what many consider to be the best American fighter of the war. in 1948, General Motors divested NAA as a public company. Nevertheless, it continued with new designs, including the T-28 Trojan trainer and attack aircraft, the F-82 Twin Mustang, B-45 Tornado jet bomber, the FJ Fury fighter, AJ Savage, the revolutionary XB-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 strategic bomber, Shrike Commander, and T-39 Sabreliner business jet. The Columbus, Ohio division of NAA developed and produced the A-5 Vigilante, an advanced high speed bomber and Naval reconnaissance aircraft, the OV-10 Bronco, the first aircraft specifically designed for forward air control (FAC), and counter-insurgency (COIN) duties, and the T-2 Buckeye Naval trainer, which would serve from the late 1950s until 2008. The F-86 Sabre started out as a redesigned Fury and over 9,000 F-86s were produced. Its successor, the F-100 Super Sabre, was also popular. In 1967 the company merged with Rockwell-Standard, then known as North American Rockwell. The company changed its name to Rockwell International and named its aircraft division North American Aircraft Operations in 1973. Rockwell International's defence and space divisions (including the North American Aviation divisions Autonetics and Rocketdyne) were sold to Boeing in December 1996. Initially called Boeing North American, these groups were eventually integrated into Boeing's Defence division.
The F-86 Sabre, the first post WW II Fighter of 71 FW is located at the Wittmund barraks (Germany).
Harvard South Africa
A four ship Harvard formation of the South African Air force. The Harvard has been witdrawn from ser...
The North American F-86 Sabre was a subsonic combat aircraft developed for the US Air Force. The F-8...
North American Aviation originally designed the Mustang in response to a British specification. They...
Spitfire and Mitchel
A Spitfire and a B-25 Mitchell, seen here at the Historic flight over The Hague.
32nd Squadron F-86a
This F-86a flew in the Netherlands in the late 50's.
Photo taken at MLM Soesterberg / Aviation m...
A fine example of one of the classic WW2 fighters, seen here at RAF Cosford.