American Eagle Aircraft Corporation

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American Eagle A-101 on display in the Yanks Air Museum at Chino, California in January 2008
American Eagle A-129 with Kinner K-5 engine at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, NY, in June 2005
Eaglet B-31 of 1931 at Santa Fe airfield, New Mexico, in June 1995

The American Eagle Aircraft Corporation was an American aircraft design and manufacturing company which existed briefly in Kansas, but which was a victim of the Great Depression, after building some 500 light airplanes, many of which were the Model A-129, a design attributed to noted aviation pioneer Giuseppe Mario Bellanca.

History[edit]

The American Eagle Aircraft Corporation was started in 1925 in Kansas City, Kansas by Edward E. Porterfield. It was incorporated in Delaware in September 1928.

Porterfield was running a flying school at the Fairfax Airport outside Kansas City. He had been operating Jennies and Lincoln Standard biplane trainers, and felt the need for a more suitable and better-performing trainer aircraft. He consulted with several aeronautical engineers of the period, including Bellanca, and soon launched the production of several light single-engine two-seat high-wing and biplane aircraft.

Late in 1929, the worldwide stock market crash severely depressed the sale of non-essential items such as sport airplanes, although American Eagle continued producing airplanes until 1931. Early in that year, Porterfield's company declared bankruptcy and halted production. On 15 May 1931, the company's assets were purchased by the Lincoln-Page Aircraft Company of Lincoln, Nebraska, and Porterfield assumed the title of aircraft sales representative of that company, which became known as the American Eagle-Lincoln Aircraft Corporation, with production headquarters in Lincoln.

Porterfield left the company in 1932, later forming the Porterfield Aircraft Corporation, and died of a heart attack in 1948. Victor Roos, a co-founder of the 1921 Roos-Bellanca Aircraft Company in Omaha, Nebraska, had left a management position with the Swallow Aircraft Company in 1928, and was tapped to head the American Eagle-Lincoln Aircraft Corporation. Most of the new company's effort went into producing the Eaglet, but the depth of the Depression soon killed this effort.

During the six years of its existence, the American Eagle company (including its merged existence with Lincoln-Page) produced over 700 airplanes. At the time of the Depression it was the world's third-largest aircraft production company. It held 8 Approved Type Certificates.

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