Reuben H. Fleet formed Consolidated Aircraft Corporation on May 29, 1923. Patents and manufacturing rights were obtained from Dayton-Wright for the TW-3. Consolidated took over the facilities of the Gallaudet Aircraft Corporation at East Greenwich, Rhode Island, where Fleet had worked as general manager. Needing more production space, Consolidated moved to Buffalo, New York, in 1924, occupying an old Curtiss plant.
In February 1929 Reuben Fleet formed Fleet Aircraft, Incorporated, to build the Consolidated 14 Husky in the Consolidated plant at Buffalo. In August 1929 Consolidated bought Fleet Aircraft, but production under the name Fleet continued.
Also in August 1929 Consolidated bought the Thomas-Morse Aircraft Company at Ithaca, New York. It operated as the Thomas-Morse Division of Consolidated. The Thomas-Morse Division was discontinued in 1934.
In 1930 Reuben Fleet formed Fleet Aircraft of Canada, in 1936 control was passed to Canadians, the company was renamed Fleet Aircraft, Limited.
Late 1935 Consolidated moved to San Diego, California and in 1940 it absorbed Hall-Aluminium Aircraft Corporation of Bristol, Pennsylvania. The next year Reuben Fleet sold his Consolidated shares to Vultee Aircraft and on March 17, 1943 Consolidated and Vultee merged as Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, subsidiary of Avco. Avco was formed as the Aviation Corporation in Delaware, March 1, 1929.
In 1932 the Aircraft Development Corporation of Glendale, California, was formed by the parent company Cord Manufacturing Corporation. Chief designer was Gerald Freebairn Vultee. In 1934 Aircraft Development Corporation became a division of Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, a subsidiary of Avco.
Aircraft Development Corporation was reorganized as the Vultee Aircraft Division of Aviation Manufacturing Corporation at Downey, California, in 1937. Vultee Aircraft Incorporated was established when it took over the assets from Aviation Manufacturing Corporation in 1939 but remained an Avco subsidiary. In the same year Vultee also acquired the Stinson Aircraft Division from Aviation Manufacturing Corporation, operating it as a division.
Vultee Aircraft acquired a 34% stake in Consolidated Aircraft Corporation in 1941 and the two companies merged as Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, subsidiary of Avco, on March 17, 1943.
In their designation system Vultee used the "V-" prefix only in the following five types: V-1, V-11, V-12, V-72, and V-77.
Consolidated Vultee (Convair)
The merger of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation and Vultee Aircraft Incorporated formed Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation of San Diego, California, subsidiary of Avco, on March 17, 1943. In 1947 control of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation was passed to Atlas Corporation. Atlas passed control of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation to General Dynamics Corporation in 1953.
After the March 17, 1943 merger to Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, the company started to use the abbreviation Convair internally. Also for marketing reasons aircraft were soon designated under the trade name Convair but legal papers and certificates were still issued under the name Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation until it became the Convair Division of General Dynamics on April 30, 1954. Hence the confusing designations used by media of Consolidated, Consolidated Vultee, and Convair for aircraft produced after 1943.
The numbering used by Consolidated Vultee (Convair) was a mixture of both companies, continuation from 36 in the Consolidated system and from 100 up in the Vultee system. To make it more confusing some of the Consolidated models were redesignated in the Vultee numbering system and in 1947 yet another designation numbering system started for new designed aircraft.
At 1000aircraftphotos.com all new types first flown after the 1943 merger are named Convair, although they are Consolidated Vultee products.
Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation
On April 30, 1954 General Dynamics Corporation and Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation merged. Consolidated Vultee was renamed Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation with main plants at San Diego and Fort Worth.
A reshuffle of activities in 1961 split the Convair facilities between the Convair Division at San Diego and the newly formed Fort Worth Division. As the latter was primarily responsible for airframe manufacture it meant the end of aircraft manufacture for Convair, the division continued in sub-assemblies and space programs.