Browsing: Vehicles

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…

A Brief History On September 7, 1942, the Consolidated B-32 Dominator strategic bomber made its first flight.  Only developed as a fallback in case the Boeing B-29 Superfortress was not successful, the B-32 could not hold its own, and only 118 were built.  Over the years, many weapons or weapons systems have proven themselves to be disappointments.  Here 10 of those are listed, in no particular order. (Please also see the similarly-themed History and Headlines articles: “10 Weapons and Weapons Systems that Flopped” and “10 Weapons That Never (Or Barely) Went into Service.”)  Can you think of any weapons that fall into these categories? Digging Deeper 10. Consolidated B-32 Dominator. As mentioned…

A Brief History On August 27, 1939, the first jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, made its first flight.  Since this airplane did not make it to regular production, many people may not be familiar with it.  Many pioneering events in aviation history are relatively unknown, at least to the lay public.  Here 10 such machines or deeds that represent firsts in aviation history are listed (Only fixed-wing, powered flights are being considered in this list.)  Which events or equipment would you add to the list? Digging Deeper 10. 1st Powered Flight, 1890. No, it was not by the Wright brothers!  They did, however, make the first “controlled” powered flight in 1903 for a whopping…

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