The Boeing Logbook: 1939 - 1942
1939 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942
1939 Jan. 26: The Boeing Model 314 Clipper is given permission by the Civil Aeronautics Authority to be used for commercial service by Pan American Airways.
Feb. 20: The Douglas DC-5 makes its first flight. Only 12 are built, five as commercial DC-5 transports and seven as R3D military transports.
March 3: Boeing employees in Seattle listen to a live radio broadcast of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt christening the Yankee Clipper in Washington, D.C. A Clipper will start regular airmail service across the Atlantic on May 20.
March 18: The Boeing Model 307 Stratoliner prototype crashes, killing all 10 people on board. The accident results in the formation of an expanded aerodynamic research group headed by Eddie Allen, with more emphasis on pre-flight testing.
July 6: James S. McDonnell incorporates the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. in St. Louis, Mo.
July 13: The Boeing Stratoliner is delivered to Howard Hughes.
August: North American begins to deliver unassembled NA-57 trainers to the French base at Nantes. Later, after France falls, 50 will be used by the German Luftwaffe.
Aug. 17: The Douglas DB-7 Boston (A-20 Havoc) attack bomber makes its first flight.
Sept. 9: The Boeing board selects Philip Johnson as company president, so he returns from Canada. Claire Egtvedt becomes chairman of the board.
Sept. 10: North American begins production begins on the B-25 Mitchell, the twin-engine, medium-attack bomber.
Oct. 20: Douglas starts work on 270 DB-7As (A-20As) ordered by France.
1940 March: McDonnell responds to an Army Air Corps request for a proposal for fighter construction.
March 20: Boeing delivers Pan American Airways its first Model 307 Stratoliners.
April 19: William E. Boeing buys the prototype DC-5 and names it Rover.
May: North American Aviation begins producing 320 Mustangs for Great Britain.
May 1: The first production Douglas scout bomber (SBD) is flown prior to delivery Sept. 6. to the U.S. Navy. The aircraft is given the name "Dauntless."
June 17: Boeing is allocated $85,652 by the Army Air Corps for further design and wind tunnel tests of Model 345, basis for the B-29 bomber.
June 27: The Douglas XB-19, an experimental long-range bomber, makes its first flight. A one-of-a-kind flying laboratory, it is the largest American landplane flown during World War II. During five years of test and evaluation, the big plane provides valuable information for the design of other large aircraft, such as the Boeing B-29 and the Convair B-36.
July 4: Three Boeing Stratoliners start flying Latin American routes for Pan American.
July 8: The first Boeing Trans World Airlines Stratoliner flies from New York to Los Angeles in 12 hours and 18 minutes.
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1941 June 6: Boeing starts production engineering for 264 service-model B-29s, 15 months before the first experimental prototype, the XB-29, is test-flown.
June 20: The U.S. Army Air Corps becomes the U.S. Army Air Forces.
June 24: Boeing breaks ground for Plant II at the Stearman facility in Wichita, Kan., where B-29s will be built.
July 7: North American receives an order from the U.S. Army Air Forces for 150 P-51 Mustangs.
July 18: The first Boeing B-17s fly into combat, serving with the British Royal Air Force on a daylight bombing raid from 30,000 feet against Wilhelmshaven, Germany.
July 24: The Boeing-built Douglas DB-7B attack bomber makes its first flight. Of the 380 DB-7Bs Boeing will build, 240 are headed to France, but will end up in England, and the other 140 will go to the U.S. Army Air Forces.
Sept. 2: Boeing announces that the U.S. Navy has selected the small town of Renton, Wash., on Lake Washington as the new manufacturing facility for XPBB-1 (Model 344) Sea Rangers. It will take more than 450,000 yards of fill to reclaim the wetlands.
Oct. 29: McDonnell is awarded a contract to build the XP-67 fighter.
Dec. 7: Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Dec. 10: A Douglas Navy Dauntless is the first U.S. bomber to sink an enemy ship after the United States enters World War II.
Dec. 23: Douglas delivers the first C-47 Skytrain, a military transport version of its famous DC-3.
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1942 Feb. 14: The Douglas C-54 Skymaster makes its first flight. Designed as the DC-4, it is adapted for military use. During the war Skymasters complete 79,632 transoceanic flights with only three ditchings, one of which was a test.
Feb. 26: The luxurious Boeing Stratoliners are stripped of their civilian finery and pressed into military service as C-75s. The first flights carry antitank ammunition and medical supplies to British forces in Libya.
April 18: Sixteen North American B-25 Mitchells, led by Col. Jimmy Doolittle, leave for the pivotal raid on Japan.
June 4: Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bombers, flying from three U.S. aircraft carriers, sink four enemy carriers on the first day of the Battle of Midway, the turning point in the Pacific War.
June 20: The U.S. Army Air Forces activates the Air Transport Command, equipped primarily with military Douglas DC-3s, Douglas C-54s and Curtiss C-46s.
July: One of a group of North American's USAAF Texans score two direct hits on a German submarine off the coast of Tampico, Mexico.
July 4: The U.S. Army Air Forces conduct the first U.S. attack on Nazi-occupied Europe. The mission is flown by six American crews using Douglas DB-7Bs (A-20C) provided by the RAF.
July 9: The Boeing XPBB-1 Sea Ranger (the "Lone Ranger"), a long-range seaplane patrol bomber, makes its first flight.
July 10: The Douglas A-26 Invader makes its first flight.
Aug. 17: The Boeing B-17 Yankee Doodle, the flagship of Brig. Gen. Ira Eaker, leads the first squadron of bombers over occupied Europe.
Sept. 21: The Boeing Model 345 (B-29) bomber makes its first flight.
November: At Boeing, peak production is reached at the Wichita plant for 750 wood-over-fabric Waco CG-4 gliders. Each is large enough to hold a jeep or field gun.
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