|Fate||Merged with Consolidated Aircraft to form Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation|
The Vultee Aircraft Corporation became an independent company in 1939 in Los Angeles County, California. It had limited success before merging with the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1943, to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation − or Convair.
Gerard "Jerry" Freebairn Vultee (1900–1938) and Vance Breese (1904–1973) started the Airplane Development Corporation in early 1932[where?] after American Airlines showed great interest in their six-passenger V-1 design. Soon after, Errett Lobban (E.L.) Cord bought all 500 shares of stock in the company and the Airplane Development Corporation became a Cord subsidiary.
Due to the Air Mail Act of 1934, AVCO established the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (AMC) on November 30, 1934 through the acquisition of Cord's holdings, including Vultee's Airplane Development Corporation. AMC was liquidated on January 1, 1936 and Vultee Aircraft Division was formed as an autonomous subsidiary of AVCO.
Meanwhile, Vultee and Breese had redesigned the V-1 to meet American Airlines' needs and created the eight-passenger V-1A. American purchased 11 V-1As, but the plane ultimately failed due to safety concerns about a single-engine plane and the advent of the twin-engine Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s. Vultee redesigned the V-1 into the V-11 attack aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, but it received few initial orders.
In 1938, before he could see Vultee become an independent company, Jerry Vultee and his wife Sylvia Parker, the daughter of Twentieth Century Fox film director Max Parker, died in late January when the plane he was piloting crashed in a snowstorm near Sedona, Arizona.
A bronze plaque memorializing the Vultees is located at the end of Coconino Forestry trail named in honor of Vultee Arch, a natural rock arch near the site of the plane crash near Sedona. It is reached via a five-mile (8 km) jeep trail, followed by a two-mile (3 km) hike on a well-used trail. The Vultee Arch Trail goes to a viewpoint for the arch. Donald P. Smith, Vultee's close friend and vice president of Vultee Aircraft, wrote a letter to TIME magazine about Vultee's death:
- ''Gerard F. Vultee ("Jerry"), not Gerald, my close friend and business associate for many years, was killed when the cabin monoplane he was flying with Mrs. Vultee crashed on the flat top of Wilson Mountain [TIME, Feb. 7]. ... Caught in a local snow-storm and blizzard with no training in blind or instrument flying, he was unable to find his way out. The fire occurred after the crash, not before.
- DON P. SMITH Vice President
- Vultee Aircraft Los Angeles, Calif.
AVCO hired Dick Palmer away from Howard Hughes to take Jerry Vultee's place, and Vultee Aircraft Division began to develop military designs. Dick Palmer created the BT-13, BT-15, and SNV Valiant trainers and oversaw other major production program such as the V-72 Vengeance, serving in the USAAC as the A-31 and A-35.
The P-66 Vanguard was a 1941 fighter program that was intended for Sweden that was inherited by the USAAC, Great Britain and finally, China. The P-66 had a mediocre combat record in China and was out of service by 1943. The XP-54 fighter project was the last Vultee Aircraft design, but only two examples were built.
Vultee was the first company to build aircraft on a powered assembly line, and the first to use women workers in production-line positions.
|Model name, service name||First flight||Number built||Type|
|Vultee V-1||1933||25||Single engine airliner|
|Vultee V-11||1935||175-224||Single engine attack aircraft, tested by USAAC as YA-19|
|Vultee V-12||1939||Development of V-11|
|V-54, Vultee BT-13 Valiant||1939||9,525||Single engine basic trainer|
|V-48, Vultee P-66 Vanguard||1939||146||Single engine fighter|
|Vultee V-72 Vengeance||1941||1,931||Single engine dive bomber|
|Vultee V-84||1943||2||Prototype twin boom pusher engine fighter|
|V-90, Vultee XA-41||1944||1||Prototype single engine dive bomber|
|Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf||1944||180||License built Vought TBU|
|Vultee XP-68 Tornado||n/a||0||Unbuilt development of V-84|
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