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Frontiers March 2013 Issue

In 1940, North American opened an additional plant in Kansas City and another near Dallas. North American built more aircraft than any other U.S. company between 1938 and 1945—in excess of 40,000 airplanes. Employees at the Inglewood facility built about 1,000 AT-6 trainers, as well as about 3,200 B-25s. But the plant focused on production of the P-51 Mustang, which earned a lasting reputation for escorting Boeing B-17s all the way on long-range bombing missions to Germany. Inglewood built more than 10,500 Mustangs. At its peak, the North American wartime workforce swelled to 91,000 employees, then plummeted to 5,000 in 1946 before stabilizing with the rapid development of jets for the Korean War and later the Cold War. North American Aviation later merged with Rockwell. Boeing acquired the aerospace BOEING FRONTIERS / MARCH 2013 11 units of Rockwell in 1996. Recently, more than 300 photographs of the Sunshine Assembly Line were recovered by the Boeing Archives. They provide a rare look at a unique time and place in the history of aircraft manufacturing, when the men and women of North American found a way to meet critical wartime aircraft demand. n For more information, contact Mike Lombardi at michael.j.lombardi@boeing.com PHOTOS (Clockwise from top far left): The P-51B production line; inside the North American Aviation Training Center; a P-51B under the camouflage-covered flight line; employees at work; a view of the training center; recruiting. BOEING ARCHIVES


Frontiers March 2013 Issue
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