Fairchild Aircraft

Fairchild was an aircraft and aerospace manufacturing company based at various times in Farmingdale, New York, Hagerstown, Maryland and San Antonio, Texas.


The company was founded by Sherman Fairchild in 1925 as Fairchild Aviation Corporation, based in Farmingdale, and East Farmingdale, New York. The company produced the first US aircraft to include a fully-enclosed cockpit and hydraulic landing gear, the Fairchild FC-1. At some point they were also known as the Fairchild Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. of Longueuil, Quebec, Canada was an aircraft manufacturer in the period 1920-1950. It served as a subsidiary of the Fairchild company of the United States. In 1929 Sherman Fairchild purchased a majority stock interest in Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company of Hagerstown. Fairchild moved to Hagerstown, Maryland in 1931.

Early Aircraft

A Fairchild airplane, the Virginia, was taken as one of three planes by Richard E. Byrd on his 1928/29 expedition to the South Pole. It was used for test flights and reconnaissance.

World War II

Among its activities during World War II was producing PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 (Cornell) and AT-21 trainers, C-82 "Packet" cargo planes and missiles. The Fairchild AT-21 Gunner, a twin-engine trainer, was manufactured at a former rayon mill in Burlington, North Carolina. Also large numbers of the Fairchild Type 24 (C-61) were produced for the military (principally the Fairchild Argus for the Royal Air Force) and postwar, the civilian market.


The Fairchild C-119 "Flying Boxcar" was a US military transport aircraft developed from the World War II Fairchild C-82 Packet. The C-119 was designed to carry cargo, personnel, litter patients and mechanized equipment with the ability to make "paradrops" of cargo and troops. The first C-119 made its initial flight in November 1947, and by the time production ceased in 1955, more than 1,100 C-119s had been built for use in the USAF and other air forces including the RCAF. After its retirement from military service, the flexibility and ruggedness of the C-119 made it ideal to convert as a waterbomber.

In 1949, the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation (based in Hagerstown, Maryland) started work on the C-123 Provider, the transport officially entering service in 1955. In 1956, the company acquired rights to the Fokker Friendships, producing 206 of the aircraft as the Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild Hiller FH-227.

In 1964, the company purchased Hiller Aircraft, changing their name to Fairchild Hiller and producing the FH-1100, until 1973 when the helicopter division was sold back to Stanley Hiller. In 1965, the company acquired the Republic Aviation Company.

Following the death of its founder, Fairchild changed its name to Fairchild Industries in 1971, before purchasing Swearingen and manufacturing the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, a successful commuter aircraft (with US military designations C-26 Metroliner and UC-26 Metroliner). During 1971 and 1972, the company developed what would become the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, prevailing over a rival design by Northrop, the Northrop YA-9.

The company developed the T-46 jet trainer to replace the elderly T-37 trainer, but it was not accepted by the Air Force because of performance problems.

In 1984, aircraft production ceased in Hagerstown, Maryland.

After the company's takeover of Dornier's civil assets in 1996, the company was renamed Fairchild Dornier. The company commenced production of the Dornier 328 in 1998 under license from Daimler-Benz.

In 2002-2003, the company was taken over by M7 Aerospace.

Museum displays

  • Hagerstown Aviation Museum, Hagerstown, Maryland
    • 1939 F24/UC-61C
    • 1945 C-82A
    • 1943 PT-19A
    • 1953 C-119
  • Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Musée Royal de l'Armée, Brussels, Belgium
    • C-119G Flying Boxcar
  • Udvar-Hazy Center, Smithsonian Institution, Chantilly, Virginia
    • 1927 FC-2
  • Virginia Aviation Museum, Richmond, Virginia
    • 1927 FC-2W2
    • 1937 24-G

External links

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