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E.M. Laird Aircraft Company

2500 North Hillside, Wichita, Kansas

Emil Matthew “Matty” Laird had been designing and building biplanes in Chicago, Illinois, for eight years when in 1919 he was lured to Wichita, Kansas, by Jacob Melvin Moellendick, a Kansas oil field tycoon who believed there was a commercial market for airplanes and that Wichita was an ideal location to manufacture them.

One of the first planes Laird produced in Wichia was the Swallow, a three-place, open cockpit biplane powered by a Curtiss OX-5 engine. The Swallow became popular with air taxi operators and barnstormers, chiefly because it had room for two passengers in the front cockpit, and made E.M. Laird to first company in America to successfully manufacture mass-produced "commercial" airplanes.

a Laird Swallow
Laird Swallow

Laird built 43 Swallows before conflicts with Moellendick led him to take himself, two planes, and his company name back to Chicago (in 1923). Moellendick kept the Wichita factory going, however, as the Swallow Airplane Manufacturing Company.

SEE ALSO
Swallow Airplane Manufacturing Company

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The Robinson Library > Technology > Aeronautics > Aircraft and Aircraft Companies, A-Z

This page was last updated on 01/17/2017.