Higher, Faster, Farther: 1970-1996

McDonnell Douglas Corp. ... Exploring New Business

During the mid-1970s, a nationwide recession hit the aircraft industry. Commercial airlines, affected by more rising fuel costs and a decrease in the number of passengers, placed their airplane orders on hold.

Employment at McDonnell Douglas dropped to 62,830, the McDonnell Douglas-West corporate office at Santa Monica, Calif., was closed and the Santa Monica factory was demolished.

McDonnell Douglas, like Boeing at the time, began to diversify its product lines to increase its profits. At McDonnell Douglas these included the Air Combat Maneuvering Simulator and the Manned Air Combat Simulators for training fighter pilots and hardware for military aircraft.

McDonnell Douglas also dabbled in truck leasing and sold computer services. McAuto was a wholly owned subsidiary of the company and sold hardware and software.

The company's VITEK subsidiary developed systems for the medical industry. Another subsidiary, CoaLiquid, examined alternatives to fuel oil. Other subsidiaries explored solar energy and developed microwave vacuum drying systems.

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