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Post Info TOPIC: Minor/major aircraft manufacturers and homebuilders... where are they now?


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Date: Aug 6, 2012
Minor/major aircraft manufacturers and homebuilders... where are they now?
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Ever wondered the whereabouts of a certain company or single designer after so many years? Especially when they seemed to have mysteriously dissappeared long ago after only one, a few, or a whole line of design works were done in the past?

Well here's a thread that might help clear the confusion! Ask questions and answer others, you know the drill. ;)

I'm going to start off a list of easy ones that might answer any confusion beforehand...

 

Autogyro Company of America (ACA)

This was actually a later name of the Pitcairn Aircraft Company founded by Harold Frederick Pitcairn and John Pitcairn, Jr. in 1927.

Pitcairn purchased a Cierva C.8W and the American manufacturing rights from Juan de la Cierva for his autogiro designs for $300,000 back in 1928. In 1929, Pitcairn formed a separate patent holding company to build autogiros, the Pitcairn-Cierva Autogiro Company. It was renamed ACA in 1931 when Pitcairn decided to focus entirely on autogyros.

In 1938, the company was renamed Pitcairn-Larson Autogiro company, and again in 1940 to the AGA Aviation Corporation. In 1942, AGA Aviation was renamed to G and A Aviation, and became part of Goodyear Tire and Rubber.

The company dissolved in 1948.

 

Cierva Autogiro Company

Founded in 1926 by James George Weir of G. & J. Weir Ltd. (now Weir Group) to help Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva continue development of his autogiros. Weir's company provided much finacial support for several years.

In 1943 Weir ceased further investment in the company and its development contracts were transferred to Saunders-Roe.

 

PZL Świdnik S.A (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego PZL-Świdnik S.A.)

Founded in 1951 as WSK-Świdnik, but renamed 1957.

I need help figuring out the rest! They were apparently acquired by Agusta-Westland, but they still carry the same heading? Or did I miss something? O_o

 

Saunders-Roe (Saro)

Founded in 1929 by Alliot Verdon Roe and John Lord when they took a controlling interest in the boat-builders S.E. Saunders to concentrate on building flying-boats. 

In 1959, Saro demonstrated the first practical hovercraft built under contract to the National Research Development Corporation. In the same year, Saro's helicopter and hovercraft interests were taken over by Westland Aircraft. In 1964 all the hovercraft businesses under Westland were merged with Vickers-Armstrong to form the British Hovercraft Corporation. This, in turn, was taken over by Westland and was renamed Westland Aerospace in 1985.

 

Texas Helicopter Co.

Founded in the early 70's, I think?

Made popular by their work on the M-74 "Wasp" and M-79T "Jet Wasp II" conversions of the Bell Model 47.

Bought by Aerodyne Systems Engineering Ltd. in 1985, who continued work on the Bell 47 conversions, creating the M-74T "Hornet".

Aerodyne was originally founded in 1984. I think they are still active today.

 

Westland Aircraft

Founded in in 1915 as the Westland Aircraft Works as a division of Petters Ltd. Became Westland Aircraft Ltd. in 1935 when it separated from Petters. (Why did they separate BTW?)

Bristol, Fairey and Saunders-Roe were merged with Westland to form Westland Helicopters in 1961 when the British government forced the consolidation of 20 British aviation firms into three larger groups with the threat of withheld contracts and the lure of project funding.

GKN plc took control of Westland in 1988 and eventually merged with the Agusta helicopter division of Finmeccanica S.p.A. in 2001 to become Agusta-Westland.

Agusta-Westland is still active today.



-- Edited by Leela25 on Monday 6th of August 2012 10:09:49 PM

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Wonderful topic idea, Leela. I'll look over what you have so far later this evening.



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Leela25 wrote:

PZL Świdnik S.A (Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego PZL-Świdnik S.A.)

Founded in 1951 as WSK-Świdnik, but renamed 1957.

I need help figuring out the rest! They were apparently acquired by Agusta-Westland, but they still carry the same heading? Or did I miss something? O_o


 

Why wouldn't they carry the same name? It's not like A-W bought the entire company, just the factory as far as I can remember.



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Texas Helicopters seems to have gained its original company title back. If you google you will find a site to its name and clearly shows pictures of the Wasp helicopter.

I myself need help clearing something up. Can you please clarify the connections of SNCASE, Aerospatiale, and Eurocopter? This whole thing has been nothing but a mess for me in my research.



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You're right, I found the site. It clearly mentions and depicts the Wasp helicopter on the homepage.

If that isn't strange enough, I can't find anything regarding "Aerodyne Systems Engineering" post-acquisition of Texas Helicopters. There's some news clippings mentioning how they needed land for their workshops and a document on their participation in a drone program with Hynes, but nothing after 1985.



-- Edited by retroistic on Wednesday 8th of August 2012 08:23:40 PM



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aschiro wrote:

I myself need help clearing something up. Can you please clarify the connections of SNCASE, Aerospatiale, and Eurocopter? This whole thing has been nothing but a mess for me in my research.


 

Sure that's an easy one, but also a loooong road. xP

 

 

SNCASE (Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques du Sud-Est) / Sud-Est

Founded 1937 by merging Lioré et Olivier, Potez, CAMS, Romano, and SPCA following the resolution of the 1936 general strike of French heavy industry, the act of which created seven nationalized aeronautical manufacturing companies: six for aircraft (SNCASE, SNCASO, SNCAN, SNCAO, SNCAM, SNCAC), and one for aircraft engines (SNCM - Lorraine-Dietrich)

During World War II, most of the firms relocated to avoid capture. SNCASE absorbed the failing SNCAM and moved its engineering operations to SNCAM's headquarters at the former Dewoitine factory in Toulouse. SNCASE then merged with SNCASO to form Sud Aviation in 1957.

In 1970, Nord Aviation merged with Sud Aviation and Société d'études et de réalisation d'engins balistiques (SÉREB) to create Société Nationale d'Industrie Aérospatiale (SNIAS), renamed to simply Aérospatiale

In 1992, DaimlerBenz Aerospace AG (DASA) and Aerospatiale combined their helicopter divisions to form the Eurocopter Group. In 1999, Aerospatiale merged with Matra Haute Technologie to form Aerospatiale-Matra. In 2001, Aerospatiale-Matra's missile group was merged with Matra BAe Dynamics and the missile division of Alenia Marconi Systems to form MBDA.

In 2000, Aerospatiale-Matra merged with Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA (CASA) of Spain and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) of Germany to form the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company N.V. (EADS).

EADS and Eurocopter are still active today.

 

Something I noticed... the European Helicopter Industries Ltd. EH-101 is listed under Eurocopter on this site. This is misleading, because it was actually a temporary heading for the joint venture of GKN Westland and Agusta to design and manufacture the EH-101 family. Eurocopter had nothing to do with it AFAIK. :P



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Technically SNCAN (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Nord) absorbed SFECMAS first to become Nord Aviation, which then in turn merged with Sud. SNCAO (Société nationale des constructions aéronautiques de l'ouest) was also acquired by SNCASE in 1941 during the relocation. Same goes for SNCAC (Société Nationale de Constructions Aéronautiques du Centre), AKA: "Aérocentre".

Interesting thing about Lorraine-Dietrich, they were originally a locomotive company before they went into producing cars and aircraft engines. But when de Dietrich separated, Lorraine went back to locomotives until they were bought by someone else. de Dietrich still made engines and autos, but another company acquired it in 1935. 



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SNCM is a ferry company now. Check it out on wiki.



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retroistic wrote:

You're right, I found the site. It clearly mentions and depicts the Wasp helicopter on the homepage as well.

If that isn't strange enough, I can't find anything regarding "Aerodyne Systems Engineering" post-acquisition of Texas Helicopters. There's some news clippings mentioning how they needed land for their workshops and a document on their participation in a drone program with Hynes, but nothing after 1985.


 

This is quite a mystery, because Aerodyne is supposedly a major aerospace defence company.

I think I found the same document you're speaking of. It's a court paper, right? Reading that makes me wonder about the program they were talking about. It was apparently a project for producing a radio-controlled target drone, but somewhere there was a misunderstanding in the requirements. I wonder if the drone ever got built, and if it did, what exactly was it?



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fluttercopter wrote:

SNCM is a ferry company now. Check it out on wiki.


 

Derp no.  :P

The ferry company was founded waaaaaaaaaaay back in the 1850s!! The SNCM engine comapny was founded in 1937 and supposedly still functioned until the early 1960s, around the time of the next big merger.



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Stingray wrote:
retroistic wrote:

You're right, I found the site. It clearly mentions and depicts the Wasp helicopter on the homepage as well.

If that isn't strange enough, I can't find anything regarding "Aerodyne Systems Engineering" post-acquisition of Texas Helicopters. There's some news clippings mentioning how they needed land for their workshops and a document on their participation in a drone program with Hynes, but nothing after 1985.


 

This is quite a mystery, because Aerodyne is supposedly a major aerospace defence company.

I think I found the same document you're speaking of. It's a court paper, right? Reading that makes me wonder about the program they were talking about. It was apparently a project for producing a radio-controlled target drone, but somewhere there was a misunderstanding in the requirements. I wonder if the drone ever got built, and if it did, what exactly was it?


 

I'm going to take a wild guess it was the H-5T. Makes sense if you think about it... Aerodyne had bad terms with Hynes, so Hynes went and obtained manufacturing rights for some Brantly birds instead and developed a drone from one of them.



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Allow me to add a few A-list entries.

 

American Aircraft Corporation (AAC)

  • Built the "Penetrator"/"Stealth Star" gunship
  • Today known as Aerocraft R&D

 

Aeronautical Products Inc.

  • Built the Model 3 (A-1)
  • Merged with the McQuay Company

 

American Air Jet. Inc

  • Built the "Air Jet" 2A 01
  • NA

 

Air & Space Manufacturing Co.

  • Built the Model 18A "Flymobil"
  • Dissolved


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The fate of Air & Space Manufacturing was very unfortunate. They were repeatedly faced with dealer pressure and a few of their products had been stolen, forcing them to start raising funds to expand. However, this resulted in the Securities & Exchange Commission accusing A&S of irregularities in commercial claims made to new investors. A&S's management was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing, but the costs and delay resulted in their collapse in 1966. Their assets would eventually fall into the hands of Heliplane Aircraft Corporation International, but they went bankrupt last year. Haven't heard anything since.



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555 wrote:

American Aircraft Corporation (AAC)

  • Built the "Penetrator"/"Stealth Star" gunship
  • Today known as Aerocraft R&D

 

Because of a merger, or was it a simple name-change?



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Seeing as Westland was a division of Petters I'd say they wanted to expand in the aircraft field itself. Though, I do also remember some kind of squabble over their engines.



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Stingray wrote:
555 wrote:

American Aircraft Corporation (AAC)

  • Built the "Penetrator"/"Stealth Star" gunship
  • Today known as Aerocraft R&D

 

Because of a merger, or was it a simple name-change?


 

Merger, most likely, but don't take my word for it.

 

 

Astro-Kinetics

  • Built the "Dynafan" and "Astro V Dynafan"
  • NA

 

American Helicopter Company

  • Built the XA-5 "Top Sergant"
  • Acquired by the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation in 1954

 

Avian Aircraft Ltd. / Avian Industries

  • Built the Model 2/180
  • Out of buisness

 

Avro Aircraft Ltd. / Avro Canada

  • Built the VZ-9 "Avrocar"
  • Restructured (aircraft divested)

 

Bendix Helicopters Inc. / Bendix Aviation Corporation

  • Built the Models J and K
  • Absorbed by Honeywell

 

Bensen Aircraft Corporation

  • Built the B-8 series of gyros, among many others
  • Out of buisness

 

Air-Screw Research Syndicate / Helicopter Corporation of America

  • Built De Bothezat's GB-5
  • NA


-- Edited by 555 on Monday 20th of August 2012 06:43:46 PM

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Wow great thread guys, ths will really help my own research a lot.



-- Edited by hannetonIII on Saturday 25th of August 2012 04:25:57 AM

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555 wrote:
Avro Aircraft Ltd. / Avro Canada
  • Built the VZ-9 "Avrocar"
  • Restructured (aircraft divested)

 

Sorry, it's late and my vocabulary sucks this time of night. Can you tell me what this means?



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It just means they don't do aircraft-y things anymore and have moved on to other stuff. :P

But this is kind of misleading, because when Avro dissolved and Hawker Siddeley Canada became a holding company for everything there were still active divisions and factories. Orenda Aerospace was one of them, though acquired by Magellan Aerospace and renamed "Magellan Repair, Overhaul & Industrial" who are still active today.



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Thanks, Leela.

I want to keep this thread going by continuing Triple-Nickle's lists:

 

Canadair Ltd.

  • Known for the CL-84 "Dynavert"
  • Became Bombardier Aerospace in 1986

Convertawings Inc.

  • Known for Model A, E, and F quad-rotor designs
  • Shut down in 1957

Convair

  • Known for the Model 49 ducted-rotor project and other related VTOL designs
  • Certain divisions bought by McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed in 1994, the rest went defunct in 1996.


-- Edited by Stingray on Wednesday 22nd of May 2013 11:58:49 PM

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Stingray wrote:

Convertawings Inc.

  • Known for Model A, E, and F quad-rotor designs
  • ?

 

Don't forget the Model B tilt-rotor in there. ;)

Convertawings shut down in 1957 when the military ceased funding for further development on the quad-rotor designs.



-- Edited by Leela25 on Wednesday 21st of November 2012 03:26:41 AM

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Bristol Aeroplane Company

Founded in 1910 as the British and Colonial Aircraft Company, Ltd. and renamed in 1920. The Helicopter Division was formed around 1944 with Raoul Hafner and his team after they had transferred from the Airborne Forces Experimental Establishment (AFEE).

Major operations were split to become Bristol Aircraft and Bristol Aero Engines in 1956. In 1959 the first division merged with English Electric, Hunting Aircraft, and Vickers-Armstrongs to form the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC), and the second merged with Armstrong Siddeley to form Bristol Siddeley.

The Bristol Aeroplane Company and Bristol Siddeley engines merged with Rolls-Royce in 1966.

BAC merged with Scottish Aviation and Hawker Siddeley to form British Aerospace (BAe) in 1977, and later became BAE Systems, who is still active today.

 

 

Fairey Aviation Company, Ltd.

Founded in 1915 by Charles Richard Fairey after leaving Short Brothers plc (Shorts).

Long story short, all of Fairey's divisions diversified into mechanical engineering after WWII, and Westland took over aircraft production in 1960. Fairey was renamed as Spectris plc in 2001 and are still active today.



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Leela25 wrote:
Stingray wrote:

Convertawings Inc.

  • Known for Model A, E, and F quad-rotor designs
  • ?

 

Don't forget the Model B tilt-rotor in there. ;)

Convertawings shut down in 1957 when the military ceased funding for further development on the quad-rotor designs.


 

Thanks.

I often wonder if there was ever a D product in their system.



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This is interesting thread. I think some of the manufacturers changed their name I just forgot who are those manufacturers. I'll find them again and post them here.

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This thread needs to be resurrected. :P

 

Firth Helicopters Ltd.

(help)

 

Flettner (Anton Flettner, Flugzeugbau) GmbH / Anton Flettner Aircraft Engineering, Ltd.

Founded by Anton Flettner in 1926 and operated throughout WWII. Flettner would later be brought to the USA in 1947 where he started Flettner Aircraft Corporation in 1958, but the company was commercially unsuccessful. Flettner would continue to share his design work with the USAAF and eventually become chief designer of Kaman Aerospace. He died in 1961.



-- Edited by Leela25 on Wednesday 4th of February 2015 11:01:32 PM

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Leela25 wrote:

This threat needs to be resurrected. :P


 It's not much of a threat if it needs resurrecting after fading into obscurity...



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Like Gyrodyne, 1995 I bought the last set of blades from them they are now "The Flower field corp. managing commercial property that was the test flight area for their drones,,, George Scheawers manager.

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Pepper wrote:
Leela25 wrote:

This threat needs to be resurrected. :P


 It's not much of a threat if it needs resurrecting after fading into obscurity...


 Fix'd :P



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hillberg wrote:

Like Gyrodyne, 1995 I bought the last set of blades from them they are now "The Flower field corp. managing commercial property that was the test flight area for their drones,,, George Scheawers manager.


 Yup, founded in 1946 by Peter J. Papadakos using assets he bought from Bendix after they went bankrupt, only for the company to become a real estate investment trust around 2005. Flowerfield is their headquarters and former heli manufacturing facility and one of a few proprties they manage, but they are still called Gyrodyne Company of America.



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Does anyone know what happened to the Spitfire Helicopter Company?



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