From Scramble - The Aviation Magazine
McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturer and defence contractor, producing a number of famous commercial and military aircraft. It formed from a merger of McDonnell Aircraft and Douglas Aircraft in 1967. McDonnell Douglas was based at St. Louis's Lambert International Airport, in Berkeley, Missouri,near the city of St. Louis. The McDonnell Douglas Technical Services Company (MDTSC), a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas, was head quartered in unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri, United States.
In 1967, with the merger of McDonnell and Douglas Aircraft, Dave Lewis, then president of McDonnell, was named chairman of what was called the Long Beach, Douglas Aircraft Division. At the time of the merger, Douglas Aircraft was estimated to be less than a year from bankruptcy. Flush with orders, the DC-8 and DC-9 aircraft were 9 to 18 months behind schedule, incurring stiff penalties from the airlines.
McDonnell Douglas was acquired by its rival, Boeing, in 1997.
The company was founded from the firms of James Smith McDonnell and Donald Wills Douglas. Both men were of Scottish ancestry, graduates of MIT and had worked for the aircraft manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company. Douglas had been chief engineer at Martin before leaving to establish Davis-Douglas Company in early 1920 in Los Angeles. He bought out his backer and renamed the firm the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921.
McDonnell founded J.S. McDonnell & Associates in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1926. His idea was to produce a personal aircraft for family use. The economic depression from 1929 ruined his ideas and the company collapsed. He worked at three companies with the final being Glenn Martin Company in 1933. He left Martin in 1938 to try again with his own firm, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, this time based at Lambert Field, outside St. Louis, Missouri. World War II was a major earner for Douglas. The company produced almost 30,000 aircraft from 1942 to 1945 and the workforce swelled to 160,000. Both companies suffered at the end of hostilities, facing an end of government orders and a surplus of aircraft.
In 1984, McDonnell Douglas expanded into helicopters by purchasing Hughes Helicopters from the Summa Corporation. Hughes Helicopters was made a subsidiary initially and renamed McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems in August 1984. McDonnell Douglas Helicopters's most successful product was the Hughes-designed Hughes AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.
Well known military products include:
- Douglas A-3 Skywarrior
- Douglas A-4 Skyhawk
- McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II
- McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
- McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle
- McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet
- McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender
- McDonnell Douglas C-17 Globemaster III
- McDonnell Douglas T-45 Goshawk
Well known civil products include: