24 Facts About McDonnell Douglas


McDonnell Douglas was a major American aerospace manufacturing corporation and defense contractor, formed by the merger of McDonnell Aircraft and the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1967.

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McDonnell Douglas bought out his backer and renamed the firm the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921.

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McDonnell Douglas's idea was to produce a personal aircraft for family use.

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McDonnell Douglas worked at three companies with the final being Glenn Martin Company in 1933.

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McDonnell Douglas left Martin in 1938 to try again with his own firm, McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, this time based at Lambert Field, outside St Louis, Missouri.

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McDonnell Douglas produced almost 30,000 Douglas DC-3 aircraft from 1942 to 1945 and the workforce swelled to 160,000.

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McDonnell Douglas continued to develop new aircraft, including the DC-6 in 1946 and the DC-7 in 1953.

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McDonnell Douglas moved into jet propulsion, producing its first for the military – the conventional F3D Skyknight in 1948 and then the more 'jet age' F4D Skyray in 1951.

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In 1955, McDonnell Douglas introduced the first attack jet of the United States Navy with the A4D Skyhawk.

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McDonnell Douglas made commercial jets, producing the DC-8 in 1958 to compete with the Boeing 707.

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McDonnell Douglas was developing jets, but being smaller it was prepared to be more radical, building on its successful FH-1 Phantom to become a major supplier to the Navy with the F2H Banshee and F3H Demon; and producing the F-101 Voodoo for the United States Air Force.

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McDonnell Douglas created a series of experimental high-speed jet aircraft in the Skyrocket family, with the Skyrocket DB-II being the first aircraft to travel at twice the speed of sound in 1953.

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McDonnell Douglas made a number of missiles, including the unusual ADM-20 Quail, as well as experimenting with hypersonic flight, research that enabled it to gain a substantial share of the NASA projects Mercury and Gemini.

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McDonnell Douglas gained contracts from NASA, notably for part of the enormous Saturn V rocket.

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McDonnell Douglas was primarily a defense contractor, without any significant civilian business.

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McDonnell Douglas retained McDonnell Aircraft's headquarters location at what was then known as Lambert–St Louis International Airport, in Berkeley, Missouri, near St Louis.

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James McDonnell became executive chairman and CEO of the merged company, with Donald Douglas Sr.

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At the time of the merger, McDonnell Douglas Aircraft was estimated to be less than a year from bankruptcy.

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McDonnell Douglas returned to the company's St Louis headquarters where he continued sales efforts on the DC-10 and managed the company as a whole as President and chief operating officer through 1971.

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The oil crisis of the 1970s was a serious shock to the commercial aviation industry, as a major manufacturer of commercial aircraft at the time, McDonnell Douglas was hit by the economic shift and forced to contract heavily while diversifying into new areas to reduce the impact of potential future downturns.

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McDonnell Douglas then introduced a major reorganization called the Total Quality Management System.

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In 1992, McDonnell Douglas unveiled a study of a double deck jumbo-sized aircraft designated MD-12.

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McDonnell Douglas personnel, including Joseph T Lynaugh and Howard L Waltman, formed Sanus in 1983.

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In 1986, after McDonnell Douglas reduced its control, Sanus announced a partnership with St Louis pharmacy Medicare Glaser to form Express Scripts, with the pharmacy providing drugs for the Sanus HMO.

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