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Wright Aeronautical

Aircraft The Company
Model Military Number Name
1909 1909   Flyer
Model Military Number Name
1903     Wright 
c.1919 E-4   Tempest
1925 J-5 R-790 Whirlwind
1925 J-6 R-760 Whirlwind 7
1926   V-1460  
1929 J-6 R-975 Whirlwind 9
1930 J-6 R-540 Whirlwind 5
1931   R-1820 Cyclone 9
1937 C14 R-2600 Cyclone 14
c.1941   R-3350 Cyclone 18
c.1949   R-1300 Cyclone 7
1953   J65 Sapphire
Orville and Wilber Wright made the world's first powered heavier-than-air flight on 17 December 1903 and sold the first military aircraft to the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1909.  Wright & Co. was formed in 1909.

The Wright's focus on defending their patents helped rivals overtake their technical expertise.  To make up lost time, Wright merged with Martin in 1916 to form Wright-Martin Co.  It was not a happy merger and Glen Martin resigned in 1917.  The company changed its name to Wright Aeronautical in 1919.

The main result of the merger was to redirected Wright's focus.  Martin's license to build Hispano-Suiza engines led to engines replacing aircraft as the company's main product.  

In 1923, the U.S. Navy decided to stop buying Hispano-Suizas and Wright acquired Lawrence Aero-Engine in order to develop their J-1 radial engine.  This engine became the Whirlwind.

Wright's president, chief engineer and chief designer left in 1924 to form Pratt & Whitney.

Curtiss-Wright was formed in 1929 when Wright merged with Curtiss.  The engine divisions of Curtiss and Wright were merged in 1931.

The success of Wright's excellent R-3350 led to its late entry in turbojet development.  The company purchased licenses to produce the Armstrong Siddeley Sapphire and Bristol Olympus.  Major redesign projects delayed the Wright versions' introduction allowing the Pratt & Whitney J57/JT3 to steal the market.

Both Curtiss aircraft and Wright engines declined rapidly in the early 1950s and were effectively out of the airframe and aircraft engine business by the end of the decade.

Related Websites
Go to the Curtiss-Wright website

page updated 14 July 2003



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Kenneth W Shanaberger 2000 - 2010