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MANAGEMENT IN AVIATION HISTORY BENCH MARKS


This Bendix aircraft had symmetrical outer wing panels that were interchangeable.


THE BOOM THAT NEVER CAME Attempting to minimize the postwar WWII recession, the U.S. government theorized that once back home, aviators would want to continue to fl y. “The idea of an airplane pro- duced and sold the same way as an automobile took hold,” wrote George Larson in 1964. “North American launched the Navion. Republic launched the Seabee — both failing to capture the huge market forecast for them, but at least we remember them. Things worked out diff erently for the three airplanes launched by Bendix Aviation Corporation. All of them managed only a very brief moment on the world’s stage and then . . . oblivion.” For their ambitious “Personal Airplane Project,” beginning in the summer of 1945, Bendix designed two versions of a small two-seat aircraft it named the Model 55. Both versions were an all metal, low-wing aircraft with side-by-side seat- ing and tricycle retractable landing gear. The Model 55 was powered by a 100hp Franklin using an Annesley two-position controllable pitch propeller, producing a top speed of 148 mph. At the same time, Bendix designed a four-seat plane named


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Above: One of the assembly drawings from the Bendix “Personal Aircraft Project.”


Above: This advertisement from 1946 features a Bendix automatic washing machine (far left). Store display signs for Bendix can be seen against the back wall on the right.


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