Interstate Aircraft

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Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corporation
Key people
Don P. Smith

Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corporation was a small American aircraft manufacturer in production from April 1937 to 1945, based in El Segundo, California.[1]


Originally known as Interstate Engineering, the company became the Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corporation around July 1937.[2] A new aircraft plant was built adjacent to Los Angeles Municipal Airport and operations began there the same month.[3] In August 1938, Don P. Smith became president and by mid-1939 the company had 100 employees.[4][5] In a 1940 court case, the National Labor Relations Board decided against the company, ordering it to stop discriminating against employees who joined the United Automobile Workers union.[6]

A few months later, the company developed the Cadet, a 2-seat monoplane, with production beginning in July.[7][8] The Model S-1B was developed into the XO-63, later redesignated to the XL-6. A total of 259 of the XO-63/L-6/L-8 series were built for the US Army Air Forces. Plans called for an annual production of 900 aircraft.[9] This expected increase was enabled at least in part by the company's "Fabri-Clip" invention, which allowed the fabric skin of an airplane to be attached in a much shorter amount of time than traditional methods.[10]

The company also manufactured a trainer for the US Navy which was developed in only nine months, from the first blueprints to first flight of the prototype. The company also manufactured bomb shackles, machine gun and cannon chargers, hydraulic actuators, and other aircraft components.[11] There were also plans for a larger version of the Cadet with side-by-side seating and a four seat twin engine airplane that was claimed to be the "world's smallest".[12] By November 1941, the company was employing 22 deaf and mute workers.[13]

In 1945, after manufacturing over 700 light aircraft, Interstate sold its line of aircraft to the Harlow Aircraft Company, as the company had decided to focus on the production of appliances.[14] The following year, the company changed its name to Interstate Engineering to reflect the change in business strategy.[15] However, within a few years, Interstate also began producing helicopter fuselages for United Helicopters, Inc. of Palo Alto, California, and had contracts with Douglas Aircraft Company, the US Navy and US Air Force.[16][17][18]

Interstate Engineering moved to Anaheim, California in the mid-1950s, was acquired by Figgie International in 1967, and sold to Engles Urso Capital Corporation in 1996.[19]

Harlow Aircraft sold the manufacturing rights for the Cadet aircraft to Call Aircraft Company of Afton, Wyoming, in 1945. In the 1960s, newly formed Arctic Aircraft purchased the rights, and currently produces an upgraded version of the aircraft as the Arctic Tern.


Model name First flight Number built Type
Interstate S-1 Cadet 1940 574 Utility monoplane
Interstate TDR 1942 195 Flying bomb
Interstate XBDR N/A 0 Flying bomb

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Parker 2013, p. 26.
  2. ^ "Chemical Firm May Sell Stock Issue This Week". Chicago Tribune. 11 July 1937. p. 9. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  3. ^ "New Aero Parts Plant Opened". Los Angeles Times. 20 July 1937. p. 14. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Smith Interstate Aircraft Head". Los Angeles Times. 27 August 1938. p. 11. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Interstate Aircraft Backlog Gaining". Los Angeles Times. 9 May 1939. p. 18. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Interstate Aircraft Faces Court Test". Los Angeles Times. 11 February 1940. p. 6. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  7. ^ "West Builds Small Plane". Los Angeles Times. 29 April 1940. p. 5. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Interstate Aero Starts 20 Planes". Los Angeles Times. 15 June 1940. p. 7. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  9. ^ "Interstate Announces Program of 900 Light Planes Annually". Los Angeles Times. 19 July 1940. p. 13. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  10. ^ "March of Finance". Los Angeles Times. 20 April 1941. p. 23. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  11. ^ "[Interstate Aircraft and Engineering Corp. advertisement]". Life. 31 May 1943. p. 83.
  12. ^ "First Flivver Plane Ready". Los Angeles Times. 22 December 1940. p. 12. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  13. ^ "Deaf Mutes Make Good in Plane Factory". Oakland Tribune. 10 November 1941. p. 7. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  14. ^ "Harlow Buys Interstate Plane". Los Angeles Times. 25 July 1945. p. 8. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Interstate Air in Stock Plan". Los Angeles Times. 24 January 1946. p. 9. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  16. ^ "Interstate Gets New Contracts". Los Angeles Times. 1 July 1949. p. 23. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  17. ^ Andrade 1979
  18. ^ Current, Col. John D. American Warplanes of World War II, p. 465-68.
  19. ^ "Interstate Engineering Sold in Management-Led Buyout". Los Angeles Times. 4 March 1996. Retrieved 5 January 2020.


External links[edit]