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Airplane Industry Collection

The Airplane Industry: A Glimpse into the Past Step back in time to the 1940s, when the airplane industry was booming with activity

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: P-51 ('Mustang') fighter planes being prep... North American Aviation, Inc, Inglewood, Calif. 1942

P-51 ("Mustang") fighter planes being prep... North American Aviation, Inc, Inglewood, Calif. 1942
P-51 (" Mustang" ) fighter planes being prepared for test flight at the field of the North American Aviation, Inc. plant in Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: F. W. Hunter, Army test pilot, Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif. 1942

F. W. Hunter, Army test pilot, Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
F.W. Hunter, Army test pilot, Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Installing one of the 4 motors on the transport plane at Willow Run, between 1941 and 1945

Installing one of the 4 motors on the transport plane at Willow Run, between 1941 and 1945. Creator: Howard Hollem
Installing one of the 4 motors on the transport plane at Willow Run. Photo shows the Willow Run manufacturing plant, run by the Ford Motor Company near Ypsilanti, Michigan

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Girl inspector confers with a worker as she... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Girl inspector confers with a worker as she... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Girl inspector confers with a worker as she makes a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful

Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: With careful Douglas training, women do... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

With careful Douglas training, women do... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
With careful Douglas training, women do accurate electrical assembly and installation work, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training... Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training... Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training methods, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: American mothers and sisters, like these women at the Douglas Aircraft... Long Beach, Calif

American mothers and sisters, like these women at the Douglas Aircraft... Long Beach, Calif
American mothers and sisters, like these women at the Douglas Aircraft Company, give important help in producing dependable planes for their men at the front, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: The careful hands of women are trained in... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

The careful hands of women are trained in... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
The careful hands of women are trained in precise aircraft engine installation duties at Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Lunchtime brings a few minutes of rest... Douglas Aircraft Companys plant, Long Beach, Calif

Lunchtime brings a few minutes of rest... Douglas Aircraft Companys plant, Long Beach, Calif
Lunchtime brings a few minutes of rest for these women workers of the assembly line at Douglas Aircraft Companys plant, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: North Americans P-51 Mustang Fighter... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942

North Americans P-51 Mustang Fighter... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942. Creator: Mark Sherwood
North Americans P-51 Mustang Fighter is in service with Britains Royal Air Force, N[orth] A[merican] Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Carefully trained women inspectors check and... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Carefully trained women inspectors check and... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Carefully trained women inspectors check and inspect cargo transport innerwings before they are assembled on the fuselage, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: A girl riveting machine operator at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant... Long Beach, Calif

A girl riveting machine operator at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant... Long Beach, Calif
A girl riveting machine operator at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant joins sections of wing ribs to reinforce the inner wing assemblies of B-17F heavy bombers, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Working with the electric wiring at Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Working with the electric wiring at Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Working with the electric wiring at Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches... Long Beach, Calif. 1942

This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches... Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
This girl in a glass house is putting finishing touches on the bombardier nose section of a B-17F navy bomber, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Women at work on C-47 Douglas cargo transport, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Lieutenant 'Mike'Hunter, Army pilot assigned to Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Lieutenant "Mike"Hunter, Army pilot assigned to Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Lieutenant " Mike" Hunter, Army pilot assigned to Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women workers install fixtures and assemblies... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Women workers install fixtures and assemblies... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17F bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women are trained to do precise and... Douglas Aircraft Company plants, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Women are trained to do precise and... Douglas Aircraft Company plants, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Women are trained to do precise and vital engine installation detail in Douglas Aircraft Company plants, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Woman machinist, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer

Woman machinist, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Woman machinist, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: A fast, hard-hitting new A-20 (B-25)... Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company, 1942

A fast, hard-hitting new A-20 (B-25)... Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company, 1942
A fast, hard-hitting new A-20 [i.e. B-25] attack bomber is brought for a test hop to the flight line at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: An A-20 bomber being riveted by a woman... Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif

An A-20 bomber being riveted by a woman... Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif
An A-20 bomber being riveted by a woman worker at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. 1942. Creator: David Bransby

Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. 1942. Creator: David Bransby
Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Flexible performance of C-47 transport planes is due in part to their... Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Flexible performance of C-47 transport planes is due in part to their... Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Flexible performance of C-47 transport planes is due in part to their two 1, 200 horsepower radial engines and to their three-blade variable-pitch propellers, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign in yard of Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Girl worker at lunch also absorbing Calif... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Girl worker at lunch also absorbing Calif... Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California sunshine, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: A noontime rest for a full-fledged... Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company, 1942

A noontime rest for a full-fledged... Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company, 1942
A noontime rest for a full-fledged assembly worker at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company. Nacelle parts for a heavy bomber form the background

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Two assembly line workers at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company... 1942

Two assembly line workers at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company... 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Two assembly line workers at the Long Beach, Calif. plant of Douglas Aircraft Company enjoy a well-earned lunch period, Long Beach, Calif. Nacelle parts of a heavy bomber form the background

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer

Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Woman at work on motor, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer

Woman at work on motor, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Woman at work on motor, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Men and women make efficient operating teams... Douglas Aircraft plant, Long Beach, Calif. 1942

Men and women make efficient operating teams... Douglas Aircraft plant, Long Beach, Calif. 1942
Men and women make efficient operating teams on riveting and other jobs at the Douglas Aircraft plant, Long Beach, Calif. Most important of the many types of aircraft made at this plant are the B-17F

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Women workers install fixtures and assem... Douglas Aircraft Company plant, Long Beach, Calif

Women workers install fixtures and assem... Douglas Aircraft Company plant, Long Beach, Calif
Women workers install fixtures and assemblies to a tail fuselage section of a B-17 bomber at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant, Long Beach, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Switch boxes on the firewalls of B-25 bombers... North American Aviation, Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Switch boxes on the firewalls of B-25 bombers... North American Aviation, Inglewood, Calif. 1942
Switch boxes on the firewalls of B-25 bombers are assembled by women workers at North American [Aviation, Inc.]s Inglewood, Calif. plant

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25... North American Aviation, Inglewood, CA

Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25... North American Aviation, Inglewood, CA
Part of the cowling for one of the motors for a B-25 bomber is assembled in the engine department of North American Aviation, Inc.s Inglewood, Calif. plant

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: In North Americans modern machine shop... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942

In North Americans modern machine shop... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942
In North Americans modern machine shop, another aircraft part is finished on a huge turret lathe, North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Clerk in one of the stock rooms of North American Aviation, Inc... Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Clerk in one of the stock rooms of North American Aviation, Inc... Inglewood, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Clerk in one of the stock rooms of North American Aviation, Inc. checking to see if the proper numbers of parts were received and placed in the proper bin, Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: P-51 ('Mustang') fighter plane in construction, North American Aviation, Inc. LA, Calif. (1942?)

P-51 ("Mustang") fighter plane in construction, North American Aviation, Inc. LA, Calif. (1942?)
P-51 (" Mustang" ) fighter plane in construction, North American Aviation, Inc. Los Angeles, Calif. Probably the plant in Inglewood, a Los Angeles suburb

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Metal parts are placed on masonite by... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Metal parts are placed on masonite by... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942. Creator: Alfred T Palmer
Metal parts are placed on masonite by this woman employee before they slide under the multi-ton hydropress, North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: An employee in the drill-press section of North Americans huge machine... Inglewood, Calif

An employee in the drill-press section of North Americans huge machine... Inglewood, Calif
An employee in the drill-press section of North Americans huge machine shop runs mounting holes in a large dural casting, Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: On North Americans outdoor assembly line... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

On North Americans outdoor assembly line... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif
On North Americans outdoor assembly line, a painter cleans the tail section of a P-51 fighter prior to spraying the olive-drab camouflage of the U.S. Army, North American Aviation, Inc

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Cowling and control rods are added to motors for... North American Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Cowling and control rods are added to motors for... North American Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942
Cowling and control rods are added to motors for North American B-25 bombers as they move down the assembly line, North American, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Sheet metal parts are numbered with this pneu... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, CA, 1942

Sheet metal parts are numbered with this pneu... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, CA, 1942
Sheet metal parts are numbered with this pneumatic numbering machine in North Americans sheet metal department, North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Two women employees of North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling a section of a... 1942

Two women employees of North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling a section of a... 1942
Two women employees of North American Aviation, Incorporated, assembling a section of a wing for a P-51 fighter plane

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Employees on the 'Sunshine'assembly line at North Americans plant... Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Employees on the "Sunshine"assembly line at North Americans plant... Inglewood, Calif. 1942
Employees on the " Sunshine" assembly line at North Americans plant put the finishing touches on another B-25 bomber, Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: View of the B-25 final assembly line at North American Aviations Inglewood, California, plant

View of the B-25 final assembly line at North American Aviations Inglewood, California, plant

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Members of the experimental staff... North American Aviation, Inc, plant, Inglewood, Calif. 1942

Members of the experimental staff... North American Aviation, Inc, plant, Inglewood, Calif. 1942
Member[s] of the experimental staff at the North American Aviation, Inc. plant, observe wind tunnel tests on an accurate scale model of the B-25 (" Billy Mitchell" ) bomber, Inglewood

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: North American B-25 bomber is prepared... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942

North American B-25 bomber is prepared... North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif. 1942
North American B-25 bomber is prepared for painting on the outside assembly line, North American Aviation, Inc. Inglewood, Calif

Background imageAirplane Industry Collection: Two women workers are shown capping and inspecting tubing... Vultees Nashville... Tennessee, 1943

Two women workers are shown capping and inspecting tubing... Vultees Nashville... Tennessee, 1943
Two women workers are shown capping and inspecting tubing which goes into the manufacture of the " Vengeance" (A-31) dive bomber made at Vultees Nashville division, Tennessee



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The Airplane Industry: A Glimpse into the Past Step back in time to the 1940s, when the airplane industry was booming with activity. In this captivating collection of photographs, we witness the incredible work being done by dedicated individuals who played a crucial role in shaping aviation history. We start with a snapshot of P-51 "Mustang" fighter planes being meticulously prepared at North American Aviation, Inc. In Inglewood, California. These powerful machines were symbols of strength and resilience during World War II. Moving on, we encounter F. W. Hunter, an army test pilot at Douglas Aircraft Company's plant in Long Beach, California. With determination etched on his face, he represents the fearless aviators who pushed boundaries and tested new aircraft designs. Our attention then turns to Willow Run, where workers are seen installing one of four motors on a transport plane between 1941 and 1945. This image highlights the collaborative effort required to bring these magnificent flying machines to life. In another photograph taken at Douglas Aircraft Company's Long Beach plant, a girl inspector confers with a worker as they ensure every detail is perfect before an aircraft takes flight. The meticulousness displayed here reflects the dedication and precision that went into producing top-quality airplanes. Women also played an integral part in this male-dominated industry. We see girl inspectors carefully examining aircraft components while receiving thorough training from Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach - breaking barriers and proving their capabilities beyond measure. Not only did women inspectors excel; they also became engine mechanics after undergoing rigorous training programs offered by Douglas Aircraft Company. Their skilled hands worked diligently alongside their male counterparts - further evidence that gender should never limit one's potential or contribution to any field. These images capture moments shared by American mothers and sisters working side by side at Douglas Aircraft Company's Long Beach facility - united in their commitment to supporting their country during wartime through vital contributions within the airplane industry.