Explore the WWII history of the company that later became a part of Boeing and made more aircraft from 1938 to 1944 than any other company in the United States.
During WWII, industry in Los Angeles was booming. By the end of the war, the L.A. area had been responsible for meeting 17 percent of all of America’s war needs. North American Aviation, operating out of their main Inglewood plant – which is south of and adjacent to the city – was a key player in that work.
From 1938 to 1944, NAA built over 40,000 aircraft – more than any other company in the United States. The bulk of them were of three iconic types designed by NAA:
- The P-51 Mustang, arguably the best fighter of WWII.
- B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, which saw worldwide combat.
- Two-seat military pilot trainers, such as the AT-6 Texan.
This is a fascinating story of a remarkable time in aviation history, when American businesses helped fund the arsenal of democracy that helped defeat the Axis powers. Warbird Factory tells this story with over 200 photographs, many of which come directly from the NAA/Boeing archives, where they have resided since WWII. This is an essential book for anyone interested in warbirds, aviation, Boeing/NAA, WWII, and/or the history of Southern California!
All photos provided by North American Aviation Inc.
This photograph, at the Kansas City plant, was carefully staged and well executed. It also depicts the racial segregation that was considered normal at that time.
Iris Mahone (left) and a co-worker are seen in shirt-sleeve comfort at the Kansas City B-25 factory, which was air-conditioned, a feature then more frequently found in motion picture theaters.