Buying Aircraft - Materiel Procurement for the Army Air by I. Holley

By I. Holley

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375,000,000 Refrigerators (retail) . . . . . . . 328,000,000 Typewriters and office equipment . 153,000,000 Aircraft parts and engines . . . . . 86,000,000 Combining all these factors—low unit volume, low gross dollar volume, and lack of production tooling—the plight of the aircraft industry in the late nineteen For automobiles, value of product denotes value of automobiles only. thirties can be summarized as follows: low-priced airplanes waited upon the introduction of production techniques in the industry, but high-volume production could be justified only by a mass market, which waited upon low-priced airplanes.

See Chapter VIII in Holley's MS monograph, RotaryWing Aircraft in the Army Air Forces: A Study in Research and Development Policies. labor's more effective organization in the automobile industry, but clearly the differential was made possible by high volume, which justified a high degree of production tooling to cut unit costs. As late as 1939, when foreign orders were already mounting, one typical aircraft manufacturer, and a highly efficient one too, turned out only two or three units a day in comparison with Detroit's production of two or three automobiles per minute.

375, Figure 42. Passenger revenue exceeded mail revenue for the first time in 1935. 27 28 CAA, Statistical Handbook 1948, p. 70. , p. 93. 7 between 1930 and 1935. See also, M. J. Meehan, "Progress in the Aeronautical Industry," Survey of Current Busi- (March 1936), pp. 16-18. 15. , p. 41. airline operators dropped from 34 to 24. By 1938 AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY ON THE EVE OF WORLD WAR II operators to acquire new and larger aircraft, which, when not filled with mail, 30 invited passenger traffic. Such types as the Ford Trimotor, the Curtiss Condor, and the Douglas DC-2, appearing in succession, did much to popularize air travel.

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