Transformations in Aircraft Manufacturing Post World War 2

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Aircraft manufacturing changed a lot after the end of World War 2. Changing markets, increasing needs in the commercial market, the emergence of a new enemy, and new emerging technologies created many new opportunities and challenges during the post-war era. After so many years of war, the new era of peace brought with it a feeling of exploration and a time to get out and experience new things. Civilians now wanted to utilize these new air routes that cris-crossed the globe, making the world a smaller place.

Meanwhile, after a time of demobilization and drawdowns, it became apparent that a new enemy from the other side of the world was building up their military strength and waiting to see which side would blink first. Military contractors knew that they would have to keep innovating and developing to propel the United States into the second half of the twentieth century.

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A Changing World for Aircraft Manufacturing Post World War 2

In the years following World War 2, the aircraft manufacturing industry began seeing a shift from government to commercial use. As the war ended, the need for a buildup of equipment and aircraft was no longer there, yet the public saw airliners as a new and efficient way to travel across the continent or across the globe. Turbofan engines became more fuel efficient than turbo-prop over long distances. With the global conflict over and airlines competing against each other, it was a great time for customers to experience the new way of travel.

The introduction of new technology meant businesses needed to ensure their pilots, crew, and maintainers were familiarized with the new equipment. So companies like Boeing introduced schools where they could educate their employees about working on and operating the new pressurized body. During the war, Boeing nicknamed their school in Seattle the “Fortress school” after their flying fortress, where they taught military personnel how to fly and maintain their epic flying machine, but after the war, they transformed the “Fortress school” into the “Stratocruiser school.” This Stratocruiser school helped pilots make the leap from piston aircraft to jet-powered ones. Douglas Aircraft Company, later called McDonnell Douglas before merging with Beoing in 1997, had similar schools in California.

Global Connectivity and Maintenance

The globe began to shrink with all these aircraft reaching new and distant locations with airplanes traveling so far from home. Companies realized it was far cheaper to keep representatives out near these remote sites to recover or repair anything that might happen to the aircraft, for example, in case one crashed and needed to be repaired enough to fly home.

Although military sales had almost come to a stop after the war, the government soon realized that they needed to keep pace with the military complex of the USSR. So contracts were made for newer aircraft that utilized the new jet-powered engines, aircraft that are still in use today, like the B-52 and the KC-135, which were built to traverse the globe quickly and efficiently during a tumultuous time in our history. The United States aircraft was designed to carry nuclear and non-nuclear munitions; even fighter aircraft had been modified to obtain this ability. This mindset helped lay down ideals still used in developing aircraft to this day. New jet engines were not only fuel efficient but possessed more horsepower than traditional piston-driven motors, meaning they could still perform at the required levels while still carrying heavier loads.


The post-war period saw many changes in the aircraft manufacturing industry, creating many challenges and opportunities. Some of these were how to overcome power output and fuel consumption. The greatest minds of the time were brought together to innovate the way we move about the globe, learning from what they have experienced during the war; they say necessity breeds innovation, well these individuals used what they learned in the war and came back home to develop new technologies to stay competitive on the world stage.


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  2. Clarke, M. A. (2008, December 3). The Evolution of Military Aviation. Retrieved from
  3. Why did the turbojet replace the piston engine? (2018, February). Retrieved October 25, 2018, from
  4. Winship, W. (n.d.). Boeing & Douglas: A History of Customer Service. Retrieved from

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Transformations in Aircraft Manufacturing Post World War 2. (2023, Aug 14). Retrieved from

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