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

Fairchild Aircraft
Company typeAircraft manufacturer
Founded1925; 99 years ago (1925)
FounderSherman Fairchild
Defunct2003; 21 years ago (2003)
FateAcquired by M7 Aerospace
SuccessorM7 Aerospace
Key people
Walter Tydon



Early aircraft

The Jamaica, New York Fairchild plant in 1941.
The Western Canada Aviation Museum's Fairchild 71C

The company was founded by Sherman Fairchild in 1924 as Fairchild Aviation Corporation, based in Farmingdale, and East Farmingdale, New York. It was established as the parent company for Fairchild's many aviation interests. The company produced the first US aircraft to include a fully enclosed cockpit and hydraulic landing gear, the Fairchild FC-1. At some point, it was also known as the Fairchild Aircraft Manufacturing Company. The Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. of Longueuil, Quebec, Canada was an aircraft manufacturer during the period of 1920 to 1950, which served as a subsidiary of the Fairchild company of the United States. The Fairchild Engine Company was formed with the purchase of the Caminez Engine Company in 1925.[1] In 1929, Sherman Fairchild purchased a majority stock interest in Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company of Hagerstown, Maryland. The company moved to Hagerstown in 1931.[2]

A series of related designs beginning with the Fairchild FC-1 and continuing to the Fairchild 71 were designed for aerial photography as a result of dissatisfaction towards available aircraft which were incapable of flying steadily enough at a sufficient altitude.[3] In 1935, Fairchild was hired by the US government to do aerial photograph surveys of the United States to track soil erosion and its effects.[4]

A Fairchild FC-2 was used by Richard E. Byrd during his Antarctic Expedition.[5]

World War II

1944 model Fairchild 24 Argus III
The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum's Fairchild Cornell
314th Troop Carrier Group C-119 Flying Boxcars

During World War II, Fairchild produced PT-19/PT-23/PT-26 (Cornell) and AT-21 Gunner trainers, C-82 Packet transports and drones. 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 24 (C-61/Argus) were produced for the military (principally as the Argus for the Royal Air Force), and continued production after the war for the civilian market. Fairchild ranked 73rd among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.[6]


A-10 Thunderbolt II

The C-82 Packet led to the C-119 Flying Boxcar, another U.S. military transport aircraft. The C-119 could carry cargo, personnel, stretcher 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, the Royal Canadian Air Force and others. Many were converted into waterbombers after being retired from military service.

In 1949, the Hagerstown, Maryland, Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation developed the Chase XCG-20 glider into the C-123 Provider transport which entered service in 1955. In 1954 Fairchild purchased the American Helicopter Company, incorporating it and the XH-26 Jet Jeep as a division.[7] In 1956, the company acquired rights to the Fokker Friendship, producing 206 of the aircraft as the Fairchild F-27 and Fairchild Hiller FH-227. During the 1950s, Fairchild was a large subcontractor to Boeing for B-52 fuselage sections and wing panels. Later, the company built McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom II tail sections, Grumman F-14 Tomcat tails, and Space Shuttle orbiter stabilizers.

In 1964, the company purchased Hiller Aircraft, changing its 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. This was a merger of Fairchild-Hiller Corporation, division and subsidiaries: Fairchild Aircraft Marketing Company, Fairchild Aircraft Services Division, Fairchild Republic Division, Fairchild Space and Electronics Division, Fairchild Stratos Division, Burns Aero Seat Company, Inc., Fairchild Arms International, Ltd., Fairchild Aviation (Asia) Ltd., Fairchild Aviation (Holland) N.V., Fairchild-Germantown Development Company, Inc. and S.J. Industries, Inc. Before 1971, Fairchild Industries was a term used to include many of the companies of its founder Sherman Mills Fairchild.

After the name change, the company purchased Swearingen and manufactured the Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner, a successful commuter aircraft that gained orders from the U.S. military as the C-26 Metroliner. In 1971, the company began developing the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II in Germantown, Maryland,[8] which prevailed over the rival Northrop YA-9 in the A-X competition for an eventual production run of 716 aircraft.

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

Their association with Boeing continued into the 1980s as they built wing control surfaces for 747s and 757s.

Aircraft production was ended in Hagerstown, Maryland in 1984.

After the company took over 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 Deutsche Aerospace AG (DASA).

In December 1999, Fairchild Aerospace Corporation was acquired by German insurer Allianz A.G. and the United States investment group Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Inc. for $1.2 billion.[9]

In 2003, the assets of Fairchild were purchased by M7 Aerospace and the new company was moved to San Antonio.

On December 15, 2010, M7 was purchased by the United States subsidiary of the Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems.[10] M7 Aerospace does not manufacture aircraft, but focuses on aerospace parts and support services.




Model name First flight Number built Type
Fairchild FC-1 1926 1 Four passenger cabin monoplane
Fairchild FC-2 1926 118 Four passenger cabin monoplane
Fairchild 71 1926 111 Eight passenger cabin monoplane
Fairchild 42 1927 8 Three passenger cabin monoplane
Fairchild 21 1927 2 Two-seat touring low-wing monoplane
Fairchild KR-34 1928 >73 Two-seat biplane
Fairchild 100 1930 27 Nine passenger airliner
Fairchild 22 1931 127 Two-seat parasol monoplane
Fairchild 24 1932 2,232 Four passenger cabin monoplane
Fairchild 91 1935 4 Flying-boat airliner
Fairchild Model 45 1935 17 Cabin monoplane
Fairchild F-46 1937 1 Cabin monoplane
Fairchild PT-19 1939 6,397 Trainer
Fairchild AT-21 Gunner 1943 175 Trainer
Fairchild BQ-3 1944 2 Assault Drone
Fairchild C-82 Packet 1944 223 Military transport
Fairchild M-84 1945 1 Four-Five place family aircraft
Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar 1947 1,183 Military transport
Fairchild XNQ 1949 2 Trainer
Fairchild C-123 Provider 1949 307 Military transport
Fairchild XC-120 Packplane 1950 1 Military transport
Fairchild Hiller F-27, FH-227 1958 206 Turboprop commuter airliner
Fairchild VZ-5 1959 1 Experimental VTOL
Fairchild 228 1968 2 Regional jet airliner
Fairchild-Swearingen Merlin 1965 Turboprop corporate
Fairchild FH-227 1956 79 Turboprop airliner
Fairchild-Hiller FH-1100 1966 253 Turbine helicopter
Fairchild AC-119 1968 52 Ground-attack conversion of C-119
Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner/C-26 1968 600 Turboprop airliner
Fairchild AU-23 Peacemaker 1971 35 Counter-insurgency aircraft
Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II 1972 716 Close air support
Fairchild T-46 1985 3 Trainer
Fairchild-Dornier 328JET 1991 110 commuter jet
Fairchild-Dornier 428JET 2001 (plan.) 0 Cancelled regional jet
Fairchild-Dornier 728JET 2002 (plan.) 0 Prototype commuter jet





See also



  1. ^ Donald M. Pattillo. A History in the Making: 80 Turbulent Years in the American General Aviation Industry. p. 11.
  2. ^ Kaske, Kristine L. "Fairchild Industries, Inc. Collection." Archived 2012-03-15 at the Wayback Machine National Air and Space Archives, 2003.
  3. ^ Donald 1997, p. 382.
  4. ^ "Wide Area Is Mapped From Air By Giant Ten Lens Camera." Popular Mechanics, October 1935. (Editors have stated Fairchild Aircraft in hand written comment to left of archived article.)
  5. ^ Puckett, H.L. (1980). Sherman Fairchild's PT-19: Cradle of Heroes. Flambeau Lith Corporation. p. 10.
  6. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  7. ^ "Flying Jeep." Popular Mechanics, September 1952, p. 44.
  8. ^ "New A‐10 Jet Is Rated Over A‐7 For Support of Combat Troops". The New York Times. 1974-06-20. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-09-14.
  9. ^ "Fairchild Aerospace is sold for $1.2 billion." The New York Times, 29 December 1999. Retrieved: 28 July 2011.
  10. ^ "Elbit Systems U.S. Subsidiary Completes Acquisition of M7 Aerospace for $85 Million". Elbit Systems. December 15, 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2016.[permanent dead link]


  • Donald, David, ed. The Complete Encyclopedia of World Aircraft. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1997. ISBN 0-7607-0592-5.