Browsing: Vehicles

A Brief History On March 17, 1947, the North American B-45 Tornado, a fine but often forgotten plane, made its first flight and was fielded for duty a year later, becoming the first U.S. jet-powered nuclear bomber. Digging Deeper Alarmed by the development and deployment of the Arado 234 jet bomber by Nazi Germany, the U.S. scrambled to produce a jet bomber of its own.  The Germans had already fielded the Me 262 twin-engine jet fighter that was clearly superior to any fighter in the world, and the Arado 234 could fly above and faster than any Allied fighter in the bombing or…

A Brief History On March 15, 1939, German ambitions and lies combined with lack of British resolve pushed Europe to the brink of war when Germany occupied what was left of Czechoslovakia.  After this duplicitous move, Britain and France could no longer stand by and allow Germany to encroach on any more territory.  Whereas Germany had been ominously building up its armed forces, Britain and France had done nothing, but now they were forced to scramble to design and build appropriate arms for the coming conflict. Digging Deeper Events unfolded too fast for France to develop any wonder weapons to rank among the best of…

A Brief History On March 11, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Lend-Lease Act that allowed him to let American factories become “The Arsenal of Democracy” and equip the country’s Allies with American-built war materials. Digging Deeper This could be done on an enormous scale since U.S. wartime production was unhindered by fighting within its own borders and because all raw materials could be easily obtained (unlike in Germany and Japan). Among the major weapon systems provided to the Allies, mainly the Soviet Union, was one of the most under-appreciated fighter aircraft of World War II, the Bell P-39 Airacobra.  Sleek and lethal looking, this plane certainly…

A Brief History On March 8, 1910, the Aero-Club of France issued pilot license #36 to Raymonde de Laroche, making her the first licensed female pilot in the world.  Although sometimes referred to as the first woman to fly an airplane, it is likely that 2 other women had flown before her.  Note: A female aviator is also called an “aviatrix.” Digging Deeper Laroche had been born Elise Raymonde Deroche in France in 1882.  Despite the accomplishments of the Wright Brothers, the fervor over the new aeronautical industry was in Europe, not North America, and Laroche took her keen interest in the new sport to…

A Brief History On December 10, 2013, Mary Barra became the first woman appointed head of an automobile company when she became CEO of General Motors Corporation.  GM is a giant company with a convoluted bureaucracy that has taken it from being the biggest, most important company in the world to being a blundering corporate joke that needed a government bailout to survive. Digging Deeper From 1931 to 2007, GM led the world in auto sales.  In the meantime, Toyota of Japan has dethroned GM as the biggest producer of motor vehicles.  GM is still right near the top though, but its market…

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