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Sherman Mills Fairchild - Duramold Aircraft - Spruce Goose

The largest aircraft of duramold construction was the Spruce Goose

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Duramold aircraft

Clark Duramold F-46 Fairchild - Duramold aircraft was built with a molded wooden fuselage.

NASA
In the late 1930s, aircraft of composite materials began to appear made of plastic-impregnated wood materials called duramold. The most famous and largest aircraft of duramold construction was the eight-engine Howard Hughes flying boat dubbed the Spruce Goose.

Sherman Mills Fairchild

"Shelly" Fairchild loved aerial photography. By 1925, Fairchild created a group of aircraft companies for aerial photography, the manufacture of airframes, and power plants. Fairchild also bought two materials processing companies: the Duramold Aircraft Corporation in 1937, and the Al-Fin Corporation in 1941. Fairchild started to research the forming and bonding processes in aircraft manufacture.

According to the Fairchild Corporation, "In the mid-1930s, Fairchild pioneered the application of composite structures to airframe design and production - duramold. The adhesive bonding processes and techniques are still followed in the manufacture of composite structures today. Fairchild also developed the first nine-lens mapping camera for the U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1936."

Duramold Aircraft

The duramold aircraft was an aircraft built with a molded wooden fuselage. Duramold was originally developed by Colonel V. E. Clark, famous for the Clark Y airfoil. The Duramold Aircraft Company became a subsidiary of the Fairchild Corporation, the photo to the right depicts the F-46 designation for Fairchild carried by the craft.

Spruce Goose

The Spruce Goose was not the first airplane to use duramold material. Many small planes had been built using duramold during the early thirties by the Fairchild Aviation.

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