VOUGHT

Whole story here for convenience, despite major name changes. Chance (christened Chauncy) Milton Vought born 1890, learned to fly 1910 and qualified engineer (U. of Pennsylvania), fast and profane talker noted for instant decisions. Several important design appointments, including Wright-Martin chief engineer, before forming The Lewis & Vought Corp. June 1917 with father-in-law Birdseye B. Lewis. Began building VE-7 biplane trainer in 3rd floor of stocking factory at Long Island City, lowering parts by pulley-block from window for assembly in street, tethering to telephone pole for engine test. Despite circumstances 128 built, some by NAF. In 1922 Lewis retired, company becoming Chance Vought Corp., father president, mother secretary/treasurer and Chance chief engineer. Outstanding success attended VE-7-derived VE-7SF fighter (64), UO-1 observation (141) and FU-1 fighter (20). In 1925 F.B. Rentschler visited now properly laid-out plant to seek Vought's opinion on resigning as CEO of Wright in order to start Pratt&Whitney. Vought’s reply: 'You’re blasted right, things are in a helluva shape and getting no better fast'; but it was his promise of selection of the proposed Wasp to power the future Corsair that launched P&W. Corsair was another smash hit, 291 of O2U versions (from 11 October 1926) being followed by 289 O3Us. Such a firm looked attractive in an era of snapped-up conglomerates, and in 1929 Vought became division of United Aircraft & Transport; in fact prime instigators of UA&T were Vought, Rentschler and Boeing. First two moved 1930 into giant new plants at East Hartford, Connecticut, but on July 26 that year overworked Vought died of blood poisoning. Rex Beisel became chief engineer, producing newer Corsairs, 140 SBU scout bombers, 245 SB2U Vindicator/Chesapeake dive-bombers, and 1,628 OS2U Kingfishers, mostly seaplanes. On 1 April 1939 Vought merged with Sikorsky to form Vought-Sikorsky Division of United Aircraft and occupy new plant at Stratford, where were built most Kingfishers. Beisel brought with him drawings of V-166 XF4U-1 Corsair carrier-based fighter with 2,000-hp P&W R-2800 (29 May 1940), 12,571 built by December 1952. At end 1942 unloved union with Sikorsky ended, company resuming previous title, building XF5U 'flying saucer' and F6U Pirate jet fighters. In 1948 division asked by Navy to move from Connecticut to Navy plant at Dallas, Texas, previously occupied by North American. Under new general manager Fred O. Detweiler company ceased to be division and was once more incorporated, as Chance Vought Aircraft Inc., producing Regulus cruise missile, F7U Cutlass and F8U (F-8) Crusader jet fighters. Crusader exceeded Mach 1 on 1st flight (25 March 1955) and 1,259 built by 1965. Reflecting growing diversity, company became Chance Vought Corp. 31 December 1960, but 31 August 1961 merged with Ling-Temco Electronics to form LTV, Ling-Temco-Vought, Dallas plant becoming LTV Aerospace Division. In 1964 won VAX Navy attack competition with A-7 Corsair II (27 September 1965), building 1,545 by 1983. LTV aerospace/defence became subsidiary of LTV Corp. until 1 January 1976 when Dallas plant became Vought Corp. This endured until 29 September 1986 when it was renamed LTV Aerospace and Defense Co. with 2 divisions: Vought Aero Products and, at Grand Prairie, TX, Vought Missiles and Advanced Programs. In 1990 these divisions renamed LTV rather than Vought, parent being unaltered. LTV Aircraft Products Group has A-7 update programmes and makes large portions of B-2, 747, 757, 767, C-17, Challenger and Regional Jet. Another division, Sierra Research, has major upgrade programmes on T-38, F-5, C-29A (BAe 125) and other aircraft. On 31 August 1992 sale completed to the Carlyle Group and Northrop, emerging as Vought Aircraft Co. Major programmes as before plus Panther 800, T800-engined Eurocopter EC565, and promoting FMA Pampa 2000 for USAF JPATS requirement.

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