Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Curtiss-Wright Corporation was once a leading aircraft manufacturer of the United States, but has since become a component manufacturer, specializing in actuators, controls , valves, and metal treatment .
Curtiss-Wright came into existence 5 July 1929, the result of a merger of 12 different companies associated with Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company and Wright Aeronautical. With $75 million in capital, it was the largest aviation company in the country.
Its most visible success came with the P-40 fighter, variously known as Tomahawk, Kittyhawk, and Warhawk, of which nearly 14,000 were built between 1940 and 1944. The C-46 Commando cargo plane could carry more cargo over the Himalayas than any other Allied aircraft. Overall, the company produced over 29,000 aircraft during the war.
Curtiss-Wright failed to make the transition to design and production of jet aircraft, despite several attempts. The final nail in the coffin was the choice of the Northrop F-89 Scorpion over the XF-87 Blackhawk; after the F-87 was cancelled 10 October 1948, Curtiss-Wright shut down its entire Aeroplane Division and sold the assets to North American Aviation.
The company concentrated on reciprocating engines and propeller production for civilian airliners.
The shift of civilian air to jets left the company with little of its old business, and during the 1960s it shifted to components for aircraft and other types of equipment, such as nuclear submarines, a business that was still being conducted in 2003.
- Louis R. Eltscher and Edward M. Young , Curtiss-Wright – Greatness and Decline (New York: Twayne Publishers , 1998)
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