Vultee

BT-13
Valiant

BT-15
Valiant

SNV
Valiant

The Vultee Aircraft Corporation became an independent company in 1939 and had limited success before merging with the Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1943 to form the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, or Convair.

Gerard "Jerry" Freebairn Vultee (1900–1938) and Vance Breese (1904–1973) started the Airplane Development Corporation in early 1932 after American Airlines showed great interest in their six-passenger V-1 design. Soon after, Errett Lobban (E.L.) Cord bought all 500 shares of stock in the company and the Airplane Development Corporation became a Cord subsidiary.

Due to the Air Mail Act of 1934, AVCO established the Aviation Manufacturing Corporation (AMC) on November 30, 1934 through the acquisition of Cord's holdings, including Vultee's Airplane Development Corporation. AMC was liquidated on January 1, 1936 and Vultee Aircraft Division was formed as an autonomous subsidiary of AVCO. Jerry Vultee was named vice president and chief engineer. Vultee acquired the assets of the defunct AMC, including Lycoming and Stinson Aircraft Company. Vultee Aircraft was created in November 1939, when Vultee Aircraft Division of AVCO was reorganized as an independent company.

Meanwhile, Vultee and Breese had redesigned the V-1 to meet American Airlines' needs and created the eight-passenger V-1A. American purchased 11 V-1As, but the plane ultimately failed due to safety concerns about a single-engine plane and the advent of the twin-engine Douglas DC-2s and DC-3s. Vultee redesigned the V-1 into the V-11 attack aircraft for the United States Army Air Corps, but it received few initial orders.

By 1937 Jerry was heading his own factory in Downey, California with more than a million dollars in orders for V-1s, V-1As and V-11s. In 1938, before he could see Vultee become an independent company, Jerry Vultee and his wife Sylvia Parker, the daughter of Twentieth Century Fox director Max Parker, died when the plane he was piloting crashed in a snowstorm near Sedona, Arizona. A bronze plaque memorializing the Vultees is located at the end of Coconino Forestry trail named in honor of Vultee Arch, a natural rock arch (named for Jerry Vultee) near the site of the plane crash.

AVCO hired Dick Palmer away from Howard Hughes to take Jerry's place, and Vultee Aircraft Division began to develop military designs. Dick Palmer created the BT-13, BT-15, and SNV Valiant trainers and oversaw other major production program such as the V-72 Vengeance, serving in the USAAC as the A-31 and A-35. The AVCO Vultee division became the separate Vultee Aircraft Corporation in 1939. The P-66 Vanguard was a 1941 fighter program that was intended for Sweden that was inherited by the USAAC, Great Britain and finally, China. The P-66 had a mediocre combat record in China and was out of service by 1943. The XP-54 fighter project was the last Vultee Aircraft design but only two examples were built.

On March 17, 1943, Consolidated and Vultee officially merged, creating Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, popularly known as Convair. The Vultee management resigned.

Source: Wikipedia