Curtiss-Wright Corporate Portrait

by C C Alexander

America's largest aeronautical manufacturer, Curtiss-Wright Corporation, is engaged today in an all-time record production of warplanes, engines and propellers for the Allies. This effort is reflected in plants scattered over seven states.

Over every battlefront its equipment is spearheading the attack on the enemy. The Curtiss (P-40) Warhawk, work-horse of the fighter types, now qualifles as a global fighter because of its wide operation; the Commando (C-46) — originally designed as a luxury airliner — is today the backbone of the aerial Burma Road and other ATC-operated life lines; the Helldiver (SB2C) some time ago made its debut with the Navy against the Japs, is proving an extremely destructive weapon. Others — the Seagull, the Falcon, the Jeep — perform important but less conspicuous war roles.

Company-built Cyclone engines power a large number of aircraft including some of Uncle Sam's hardest-hitting warplanes: the Boeing (B-17) Flying Fortress, Douglas (SBD) Dauntless dive-bomber, North American (B-25) Mitchell bomber, Martin Mars flying boat, Lockheed (C-69) Constellation and the new Boeing (B-29) Superfortress. Curtiss electric propellers are installed on the Lockheed (P-38) Lightning, Bell (P-39) Airacobra, Curtiss (P-40) Warhawk, Republic (P-47) Thunderbolt, North American (P-51) Mustang, Martin (B-26) Marauder, the Martin Mars flying boat, and other lesser lights.

Behind this Cyclops production — according to the last report made public by a government committee, it was surpassed in volume only by General Motors — is a story which typifies the American aviation industry's overnight conversion from peacetime to wartime operation. From four plants employing about 8,000 persons in 1939, the organization has mushroomed to approximately 18 plants with over 180,000 workers, all engaged in turning out the tools of war.

Founded by the Wright Brothers and Glenn L Curtiss and now under the presidency of C W Vaughan, the company is comprised of four units: the Curtiss-Wright Airplane Division, Wright Aeronautical Corporation (engines), Curtiss-Wright Propeller Division, and the Curtiss-Wright Development Division.

Output of over 20,000 planes since 1938 indicates the current concentration on production of war equipment, and in addition, the company has accelerated its development and research program. In the last year, development of the 2,200-hp Wright Cyclone engme for high-altitude planes like the B-29 Superfortress has been announced, officials have disclosed development of an engine-cooling fan assuring an advantage over Axis planes; two propeller test cells, capable of testing engines of over 5,000 hp and propellers 30' in diameter, which are the largest of their type in the world, have been erected; a giant research laboratory is now under construction.

Planes built by Curtiss-Wright Airplane Division
AirplaneTypeServiceEngine
Warhawk (P-40)PursuitArmyAllison
Commando (C-46)  Transport  Army-Navy  Pratt & Whitney Wasp
Helldiver (SB2C)Dive bomberNavyWright Cyclone
Helldiver (A-25)Attack bomberArmyWright Cyclone
Jeep (AT-9)TrainerArmyLycoming
Owl (O-52)ObservationArmyPratt & Whitney Wasp
Falcon (SNC-1)TrainerNavyWright Whirlwind
Airplane Division

As challenging and varied as their names are the airplanes which roll off the assembly lines of the company's Airplane Division. WarhawkCommandoHelldiverJeepOwlFalcon, a motley group with each plane tailor-made and streamlined for its special job; each in its own way winged death for the enemy.

Since the earliest whirrings of airplane wings, Curtiss planes have figured prominently in the history of aviation, In 1911 Curtiss sold the Army its second airplane (the first was purchased from the Wrights in 1909). The Navy purchased its initial air and water flying machine, the Curtiss Triad, in the same year. Some months before, Eugene Ely had made the first flight from a warship in a Curtiss airplane.

Curtiss also laid the groundwork for the ship catapult when, in a plane fitted with floats, he landed beside the USS Pennsylvania, was hoisted aboard by crane. He and his plane were lowered to the surface and a successful takeoff was made. Some time later, flying a Curtiss plane, Ely was catapulted from a battleship — another first!

The original amphibian planes were developed by Glenn Curtiss, as were the first flying boats. The early flying boats were used as commercial airline carriers and for military duty here and abroad, led to the development of the now-famous NC series, onw of which (the NC-4) made the first air crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 1919.

Much of the pioneering done by Curtiss is standard practice in the aircraft industry today. It was the early Curtiss organization which developed the aileron, or movable lateral control surface, on of three elemental controls in directional flight today. The tricycle landing gear was first used on a Curtiss plane in 1911.

Other conspicuous Curtiss firsts include: plywood fuselage using laminated strips applied over a mold at a 45° angle to increase strength, twin-engine transport, first soundproof airline cabins, sleeper plane and dual-control airplane, Among Curtiss developments which may found on practically every plane built today are the sliding-type canopy or cockpit cover, adjustable and separately-hinged rudder pedal with brakes, self-centering tailwheel and, on planes using radial engines, the speed ring to cut down head resistance.

The wing radiator, successful flotation gear for land planes, and monoplane torpedo carrier using an internally braced wing — all equally important in their day — also belong on the company "original" list.

To return to the course of Curtiss history: — Pre-war pioneering led to wartime production. During World War I the plant turned more than 5,000 JN Jenny trainers — one of the first great mass production accomplishments in the aircraft industry. These sturdy litle Jennys were probably the favorite pin-up girls of World War for practically the entire US Air Corps earned their wings in JN biplanes.

Before the United States entered World War I Great Britain placed a $750,000 order for Curtiss flying boats, and to flll the order Glenn Curtiss requested an advance of $75,000. The British advanced 75,000 pounds (five times as much as Curtiss had asked). Before long backlog of $14,000,00O in Allied orders had been built up.

It was during that expansion period that Curtiss transferred his manufacturing facilities to Buffalo, for the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company.

With the United States in the war, H and F flying boats were tunedr out for the Navy. In addition to the Buffalo plant, Curtiss established experimental laboratory at Garden City, LI, and a factory in Toronto, Canada.

The Armistice, which temporarily ended mass production, did not halt the development of new, faster, reliable planes — both military and commercial. In 1929, the Curtiss properties, Wright Aeronautical Company organized by Orville Wright, and other aviation manufacturing companies merged to form the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Toward the end of the twenty-year interval of peace, as the red tide of a new war rose higher and threatened to engulf the world, the organization was already well under way on war-geared expansion plans.

Since 1939 the Airplane Division has multiplied more than forty times its weight of airframes produced. In 1937, the area of division plants in Buffalo and St Louis was slightly more than 600,000 square feet, employees numbered slightly more than 2,000. Now, in the third of the war, the division has six plants in four cities, combined area. about 9,300,000 square feet of space. Employment has passed the 85,000 mark.

Expansion began in St Louis, November 28, 1940. That plant was literally built around the original factory. Department by department the old plant gave way to the new, so that in April of 1942, and without production stoppage, the entire project was completed.

Columbus, Ohio became the site or another new building. Ground was broken there in January, 1941, and by April, 1942, this new unit was in full-scale operation.

The new building at Buffalo airport stands on a site which three years ago was occupied by a chicken farm. A different kind of bird is hatched there now! In 1942, when Curtiss projected the C-76 Caravan plywood cargo plane, a new plant went up at Louisville, Kentucky.

As each new factory was built, sewers, roads, power plants, gas lines had to be installed, thousands of jigs, fixtures and machines were purchased and put in place. There were problems of design, tooling, accounting, stock and production control, and, above all, employment.

At the present time 38.6% of the total employees in the Airplane Division are women.

A well-rounded educational program embracing all phases of aircraft construction and plant management has been developed by the Division. The Engineering Cadette Training program which originated in February, 1943, has already graduated over 700 women from an intensive ten-month course. These women now hold primary engineering positions in the Division's five plants, relieve graduate engineers for more technical work. Curtiss furnishes tuition, room and board, pays each Cadette $10 a week duing the course.

Instruction in Curtiss-Wright shops, training school for new employees, Engineering and Managemtnt Institute sponsored jointly by the company and Cornell University to train selected employees for supervisory posts, Service School where maintenance men are trained for field service, training in factory and office management at Harvard University Business School, various technical courses offered by high schools under Curtiss guidance, all help facilitate the problem of securing skilled labor.

Company policy does not favor concentration on one particular type of plane but calls for the manufacture of various types required by Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

From January 1, 1938, to December 1, 1943, Curtiss-Wright's Airplane Division built 16,795 airplanes. Over 6,000 of these rolled off the productnon line before Pearl Harbor. This record of production was achieved despite numerous changes in design specifications necessitated by combat and operational experience. In addition to aircraft of its own design, Curtiss also built many Republic P-47 Thunderbolts.

First in the long line of Curtiss pursuit planes was the famous Kirkham fighter which at the time of Armistice was still undergoing final tests. It established several altitude and speed records, climbing to 30,300 feet in 1919, traveling 140 mph in 1920.

In 1924, Lt Russell L Maugh at the controls of a Curtiss PW pursuit, made his coast-to-coast dawn-to-dusk flight, covering 2,450 miles in 17 hours, 52 minutes. The PW-8 was the first Curtiss Pursuit to be labeled the Hawk, a name applied to present day fighters.

During the next six years the Hawk progressed through the series P-1, P-2, P-3, P-5 and P-6. By the end of 1933, Curtiss pursuits had proved so satisfactory that the US Army purchased 291 of them for its fighter squadrons. Between 1933 and 1936; pursuit planes progressed through Types I, , II, III and IV. Between those years Curtiss sold more than 100 Hawks to China for her war with Japan. The Hawks also became standard military equipment in Turkey, Bolivia, Siam, Colombia, Argentina and China. In 1935, as Hitler came to power, the company submitted to the Army a new pursuit ship, Design 75. This became the P-36 which matched the German Me-109 in speed but was slower than the British Hurricane and Spitfire. At the outbreak of World War II, France had Hawk 75As and in September of 1939 a Hawk 75A shot down the first German plane to fall over French soil in this war. After the fall of France the British took over the balance of the French contract for 75As, assigned the ships to the Ethiopian campaign under the name Mohawks.

The P-40 series was developed from the Hawks. The value of the P-40 in the early stages of the war was inestimable. In those crucial days it was the only American fighter plane geared to quantity production. Faster and more powerful Curtiss pursuits have since come off the assembly line — from the Mohawk through the Tomahawk and Kittyhawk to the present great Warhawk.

Ever since Glenn Hammond Curtiss was awarded the first naval aircraft contract, the organization he founded has held a commanding position in the development of Navy planes. The art of dive bombing is essentially an American innovation and it was with Curtiss planes that our Navy perfected the technique. As early as 1924, the Navy began experimenting with dive bombers. In 1928, Curtis delivered the F8C2, first of the famed Helldiver line. In the fifteen years since the F8C2 fourteen types of dive bombers, more than 550 airplanes, exclusive of the powerful new SB2C Helldivers, can be chalked up to the Airplane Division.

The A-25 attack bomber, Army version of the Navy Helldiver, has a formidable array of machine guns for offense and defense. It is the latest in a line of Curtiss attack bombers which dates back to the A-3, first plane built for the Army as a ground attack ship in 1926.

Current Curtiss scout observation plane is the SO3C or Seagull, but some of the older SOC models which were last made for the Navy in 1938, are still in service. In fact, one of the old SOC biplanes participated in a recent much-publicized exploit over Sicily.

Under lend-lease arrangements large numbers of the SO3C have been turned over to the British Navy, which calls it the Seamew. British camouflage and insignia are applied to the ships in the Ohio plant, with the American star stenciled over British markings, to be removed when the plane gets into British hands.

A Curtiss trainer of this war is the rugged, twin-engined AT-9 Jeep, development of a quarter century of experience. The Army uses it in transition training, to bridge the long and difficult step from a single-engine, low-speed training plane to a multi-engine bomber or fast pursuit. The AT-9 duplicates as closely as possible the complex operation of the modern bomber. For training hundreds of its fliers the Navy employs the SNC, a basic combat type. Contracts for both the AT-9 and the SNC were completed some time ago.

Curtiss started building observation planes for the Army in 1924, the XO-1 Falcon being the first ship. When the USAAF wanted a new plane for World War II for observation purposes, engineers designed the O-52, which functions as part of the ground force, not the air force, since its use includes, in addition to direct observation work, mapping, artillery spotting, troop placement, and coastal patrol duty.

Prototype of the C-46 Commando, a plane carrying the commercial designation CW-20 was test flown for the first time at St Louis on March 26, 1940. After exhaustive tests, the Army Air Forces purchased it, sent it to England. Christened the St Louis in honor of the city of its origin, it replaced six transport planes when it started on the Malta run.

Production of transport airplanes on the largest scale ever attempted in peace or war was launched in 1943 by Curtiss and Higgins Aircraft, Inc,incooperation with the USAAF. Plane selected was the Commando.

As a complement to the C-46, a long-range transport, early in 1942 engineers projected the C-76 Caravan, the war's first airplane designed and made exclusively for military cargo purposes.

Behind the Commando and Caravan lies a history of many years' experience in the production of commercial airplanes. The story of the company's commercial planes began in 1918 when the US Post Office opened its first airmail route, pressed six converted JN trainers into service.

In 1919 Curtiss' contribution to commercial aviation was the Eagle, first American tri-motor plane. Known as the Inter-City Passenger Carrier, it flew between Los Angeles and San Francisco. A year later a single-engine Eagle, designed to carry ten passengers and ¾ ton of freight at 105 mph, set new records.

The MF pusher type flying boat came next. Two of them saw service with Gulf Coast Air Line, Inc, carrying mail and passengers. The Post Office Dept, in 1924 invited the aircraft industry to design a new type airmail plane and the Carrier Pigeon was the result. With its deep fuselage, massive wings, it resembled a commercial truck, was used on a mail route between Chicago and Dallas.

Curtiss entered the large-plane field in 1929 with the Condor, designed for heavy transport work. This type operated on a Western route, entered coast-to-coast mail service in 1929, became the first sleeper plane in history on American Airways routes in 1934.

US Army and Navy planes powered by Wright engines
AirplaneEngineHp per
engine
Army
BoeingSuperfortress (B-29)4 Cyclone 182,200
Flying Fortress (B-17)  4 Cyclone 91,200
CurtissShrike (A-25)1 Cyclone 141,700
DouglasHavoc (A-20, P-70)2 Cyclone 141,600
Bolo (B-18)2 Cyclone 9830
Dragon2 Cyclone 141,600
Skytrooper (C-49, C-53)  2 Cyclone 91,200
Dauntless (A-24)1 Cyclone 91,000
Lockheed  Lodestar (C-60)2 Cyclone 91,200
Constellation (C-69)  4 Cyclone 182,200
Hudson (A-29, AT-18)2 Cyclone 91,200
Ventura (B-37)2 Cyclone 141,700
MartinBaltimore (A-30)2 Cyclone 141,600
North American  Mitchell (B-25)2 Cyclone 141,700
Yale (BT-9)1 Whirlwind 9400
Consolidated Vultee  Valiant (BT-15)1 Whirlwind 9400
Vengeance (A-35)1 Cyclone 141,700
Navy
BrewsterBuccaneer (SB2A-1)1 Cyclone 141,700
CurtissHelldiver (SB2C-1)1 Cyclone 141,700
Falcon (SNC-1)1 Whirlwind 9450
DouglasDauntless (SBD-3)1 Cyclone 91,000
Skytrooper (R4D-2)2 Cyclone 91,200
Havoc (BD-1)2 Cyclone 141,600
EasternAvenger (TBM-1)1 Cyclone 141,700
GrummanAvenger (TBF)1 Cyclone 141,700
Duck (J2F-5)1 Cyclone 9950
LockheedLodestar (R5O-4)2 Cyclone 91,200
Hudson (PBO-1)2 Cyclone 91,200
MartinMariner (PBM-3)2 Cyclone 141,600
Mariner (PBM-5)2 Cyclone 141,700
Mars (JRM-1)4 Cyclone 182,200
North AmericanMitchell (PBJ)2 Cyclone 141,700
NAFN3N-31 Whirlwind 7235
Engine Division

In the first 30 months following this nation's entry into war, more than 225,000,000 hp in the form of Wright Cyclone and Whirlwind aircraft, engines came from Wright plants and the Corporation's licensees.

This power has gone into a all over the world. It has played a heavy part in our bombardment program because Cyclones power the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, the Douglas A-20 Havoc, the North American B-25, many other types of Army bombers. In recent months a considerable portion of this 225,000,000 hp has been made up of Cyclone 18s of 2,200 hp, which are installed in the Boeing B-29. The Navy, like the Army, has relded heavily on such power and Cyclones turn propellers of the Avenger, made by Grumman and Eastern Aircraft, the Douglas SBD Dauntless, the Curtiss Helldiver, the Martin Mariner and the Martin Mars. In addition to powering more than twenty types of Army and Navy planes in current use, models of this engine are used extensively by Great Britain, Russia, other Allied nations.

Much of the engine power for our ground forces also comes from the seven plants of Wright Aeronautical, and those of its licensees. Whirlwind 9s of 400 hp have played an important role in powering the M-3 General Grant, M-4 General Sherman medium tanks and M-7 105-mm self-propelled Howitzer.

This steady production of power turned out seven days a week the year round, is in strong contrast to the company's situation at the outbreak of World War II. In September of 1939, the first month of this global war, Wright plants produced only 235,000 hp, yet at that time such production was a new record peak. The growth of the company from one main plant plus a foundry to seven gigantic factories and foundries in New Jersey and Ohio, has, of course, accounted for the bulk. of the increase of power produced. Likewise, the production of its engines by Studebaker, Continental Motors, the Dodge Chicago Division of Chrysler and the Naval Aircraft Factory have also helped to swell the quota. At the same time, however, during the war years and during the time of plant expansion, there has been a comparable rise in the power of each of the engine models. The Cyclone 9, which appeared in 1927 at only 525 hp, has now grown to well over 1,200 hp. The Cyclone 14, during the war years, has advanced from 1,500 to 1,700 hp, while the Cyclone 18 has advanced to 2,200 hp. These power ratings are normal takeoff ratings, do not take into consideration the much greater power available to the air forces today due to the water-injection technique now applied to Wright engines after much research in the company's laboratorfes.

Exact figure on floor space and total number of employees are still restricted for reasons of military security but the seven plants alone total more than the entire industry payroll before the war.

Each of the new plants was constructed during the expansion period, presenting personnel managers with the problem of finding thousands of additional workers in areas where the labor market had already been drained. This problem was solved by setting up in vocational training schools courses which would adapt unskilled labor to the operation of automatic or semiautomatic machine tools with which Wright retooled its existing plants and which it installed in new plants. On a schedule of morning, afternoon and night classes, more than 20 vocational schools in New Jersey and Ohio helped train the thousands of Wright workers building engines today. In their courses the men and women studied shop methods, shop arithinetic, blueprint reading, use of micrometers and other measuring gauges, received instruction on machine tools which were duplicates of those they were later to operate.

This program went into action well before America entered the war. After Pearl Harbor, when the needs of the Armed Forces resulted in drafting many shop workers, vocational training courses were adapted to train women. Today, approximately 35% of the employees in the Wright plants are women and the percentage is still gradually climbing higher, although employment is near its peak. More than 17,500 employees have entered the Armed Forces. Women who filled the majority of jobs left vacant by these men now operate lathes, milling machines, drill presses, grinders, burring machines, hold down a number of jobs in the foundries where their most important work is core making. A number of teenage workers have also gone to work for the company, the majority holding messenger, clerical and stenographic jobs, some of them working in the shop.

From a manufacturing standpoint, the plants now are largely concentrating on engines of higher horsepower, with licensee companies assuming production loads for the older types of engines on which production procedures have long been established. Particular accent is now placed on the Cyclone 18 since this engine plays an important role in the B-29 program, is also the source of power for other types of military aircraft not yet announced.

The situation in 1944 is a far cry from what it was in 1919, when the Wright Aeronautical Corporation first adopted its present corporate name. At that time, World War I had just ended, there was no commercial market for engines or planes, the company was struggling along with its research and development program on the radial air-cooled engine. Company history goes back originally to the Wright Brothers who in 1909 formed the original Wright Company with the capitalization of one million dollars. After a few years' existence, the original organization became the Wright-Martin Company which during World War I, manufactured Hispano-Suiza engines in a factory in New Brunswick, NJ, then was dissolved in order to survive after World War I. A few months after the formation of the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, headquarters and manufacturing center moved to Paterson, NJ. In 1929 the Wright Aeronautical merged with the Curtiss interests to form the present Curtiss-Wright Corporation and the Wright Aeronautical Corporation.

Through a license agreement between the Brazilian government and Wright Aeronautical, construction of Whirlwinds is under way in the South American Republic. Fabrica Nacional de Motores is the first factory in Brazil to build aircraft engines of American design and it is strictly a local project. Engineers and workers in the ranks are Brazilians as are their supervisors. Native airmen will fly the planes powered by these engines. But the North American concern was responsible for initial training of employees when the project first went into operation. A group of key men came to the US, sat in on Wright's factory training schools at Paterson, took notes at other industrial centers. They went back to Brazil, set up courses and taught their own men the operations to be performed in engine building — the US way.

Construction of this South American aircraft plant actually be before February 23, 1942, when Brazil's representatives and Wright Aeronautical officials signed the license agreement. Wright technicians, Lend-Lease officials, General Antonio Guedes Muniz — considered the father of the enterprise — and a group of Brazilian engineers had already selected the location for the plant, approximately twenty miles outside Rio de Janeiro. Training began, tools were imported and the factory was officially opened in April of this year.

Current aircraft equipped with Curtiss electric propellers
AirplaneServiceManufacturerBlades
Tomahawk(P-40)ArmyCurtiss3 steel
Kittyhawk(P-40)ArmyCurtiss3 dural
Warhawk(P-40)ArmyCurtiss3 dural
Lightning(P-38)ArmyLockheed3 dural
Mustang(A-36)
(P-51)
ArmyNorth American3 dural
Airacobra(P-39)ArmyBell3 steel
Thunderbolt(P-47)ArmyRepublic4 steel
Black Widow(P-61)ArmyNorthroprestricted
Wildcat(F4F)
(FM-1)
(FM-2)
Navy
Navy
Navy
Grumman
Eastern
Eastern
3 steel
3 steel
3 dural
BuccaneerSB2ANavyBrewster3 dural
Helldiver(A-25)
(SB2C-1)
SB2C-3
Army
Navy
Navy
Curtiss
Curtiss
Curtiss
3 dural
3 dural
4 steel
Coronado(PB2Y-3)NavyConsolidated3 dural (outboard)
4 steel (inboard
Mariner(PBM-3)
(PBM-5)
Navy
Navy
Martin
Martin
4 steel
3 steel
Commando(C-46)
(RC5-1)
Army
Navy
Curtiss4 steel
Marauder(B-26)
(JM-1)
Army
Navy
Curtiss4 steel
Propeller Division

Youngest manufacturing unit of the Corporation, the Propeller Division, with headquarters at Caldwell, NJ, has to date produced more than 190 million horsepower in propellers and propeller parts.

Attaining divisional status in 1938, when general acceptance of the Curtiss Electric Propeller required an expanded production schedule and unhampered facilities for development, this branch quickly adjusted to the demand for mass production of propellers, first for national defense, later for war.

In two and a half years since Pearl Harbor the Division has manufactured approximately 175 million of its total horsepower output in propellers and propeller parts.

The name "Curtiss Propeller" was first introduced to the aviation industry in 1915, when blades, made of wood, were manufactured in a corner of the old Curtiss-Burgess plant at Marblehead, MA. Subsequently, propeller operations were transferred to Garden City, Long Island, later to the Airplane Division plant at Buffalo, NY.

An original group of 111 men and women made the transfer from Buffalo to the pioneer Propeller Division plant at Clifton, NJ, in 1938. In the spring of 1941, two new plants were opened — the present headquarters factory at Caldwell, NJ, and another plant at Indianapolis, IN, which has since been enlarged and is now completely conveyorized propeller assembly plant in the nation.

Production of hollow steel blades had been undertaken two years earlier when the Propeller Division acquired the hollow-steel-blade processes of the Pittsburgh Screw and Bolt Corporation, Neville Island, Pittsburgh, PA. Hollow steel blade manufacturing operation in Pennsylvania were moved to a new and larger plant at Beaver, PA, in January of 1942.

The continuing development of this prop has anticipated and kept pace with the increased demands of high-powered tactical aircraft. The Division has employed every available facility and method of research, frequently has developed new facilities to improve design, testing and manufacture of blades.

Most recent addition to the Division's development facilities are twin test cells which will allow Curtiss engineers to test propellers up to thirty feet in diameter, mounted on either liquid or air-cooled engines of 5,000 hp or more, duplicating streamlined airflow and vibration conditions similar to those encountered in flight. The largest privately owned Venturi test cells in the country, they are located at the Caldwell, NJ, plant.

The Caldwell plant is also the home of other facilities of the Experentntal Engineering unit. Under this category is the most advanced type of electronic vibration-testing equipment, much of which was developed by Curtiss engineers in order to test under ideal laboratory conditions the vibratory endurance of any propeller component. In addition, the division maintains its own flight-test hangar at an adjacent airport. Such vast expansion of production schedules and attendant functions has not been accomplished without encountering complexities of the wartime manpower problem, The situation was alleviated in part, however, by improved manufacturing processes, and the development and installation of conveyors and complementary mechanical handling devices.

Some 4,500 men and women, many of them highly skilled, have left the Division for military service, but as battlefront duties called them away sources of manpower were found. Today, one out of every four direct production employees and one of every two indirect employees are women. In many cases older men have replaced younger men who have gone to war. Nearly 1700 physically handicapped men and women have been employed in the Division's plants. Employes have been recruited through a wide variety of media, including women's and church clubs, service organizations, high schools, vocational schools, governmental agencies and colleges, as well as radio, newspaper, billboard, streetcar poster advertisements. Employees have been encouraged to bring friends and members of their own families to work in the plants.

An active program for the placement of discharged servicemen and women, both former and non-employes now functions in cooperation with veterans' rehabilitation and other governmental agencies. By May 1 of this year more than 390 discharged veterans of World War II were at work with the Propeller Division.

Since the inception of the personnel expansion program, comprehenseve training programs, both in and outside the plants in conjunction with governmental agencies, have been developed and carried on for the training of new recruits, regular employes and supervisors. These have included apprentice training programs as well as courses in Job Methods Training and Job Instruction Training.

Young women Engineering Cadettes, schooled for almost a year in specially designed courses at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute to serve as technical assistants to the Division's engineers, first joined the engineering staff in December, 1943, quickly proved their worth.

Development Division

Chalk up many improvements for operation of the three other Curtiss-Wright offspring to the fourth divisnon, a war baby. The Development Division, now housed in its own building at Bloomfield, NJ, was born early in April to chase the Gremlins out of the airplane, engine and propeller plants and to search for, analyze, develop new products.

Many ingenious twists incorporated in the latest versioss of fighter, bomber and cargo aircraft originated in its laboratories and engineers are already at work on products, new methods, new markets for after the war.

The Wright Biothers and Glenn H Curtiss played prominent roles in giving aviation its start. The organization they nurtured has grown up to be tops in aviation production in spite of mistakes made along the way and criticized bitterly. Its contribution to winning the war is enormous and from all indications Curtiss-Wright will probably play an important role in peacetime.

This article was originally published in the August, 1944, issue of Air News magazine, vol 7, no 2, pp 55-56, 58, 60, 62, 64.
Air News was printed on 9½ × 12½ bleached newsprint. My copies have not aged gracefully.
The original article includes 5 portraits of corporate officers, two news photos of personnel, 4 photos of Wright engines, 2 photo of propellers, and two photos of SB2Cs; there are also 3 tables and a map.
Photos credited to Curtiss-Wright.

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