Swallow Airplane Company

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Swallow Airplane Company
Aircraft Manufacturer
Predecessor Wichita Airplane Company, E. M. Laird Airplane Company
Founded 1920
Key people
Emil Matthew Laird, William A. Burke

The Swallow Airplane Company was an early manufacturer of airplanes.


In January 1920, the E.M. Laird Aviation Co. Ltd. was started with the purchase of the six-month-old Wichita Aircraft Company, its aircraft and the factory of the Watkins Manufacturing Company.[1] Oilman Jacob Mollendick and Buick-Franklin salesman W.A. Burke each contributed $15,000.[2] The first Swallow designed by Buck Weaver and was test flown in April 1920. Laird hired several aviators that became prominent in the business later, Buck Weaver who would co-found Waco Aircraft, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman who would develop the Swallow New Swallow. Following the departure of Emil Matthew Laird in 1923 and his formation of the E. M. Laird Airplane Company, the company was renamed as the Swallow Airplane Mfg Co.

Swallow was notable for producing the Swallow TP in quite large numbers, for its day. A large proportion of pilots trained in the late 1920s and early '30s did so on the TP. In late 1927, owner Mollendick bet most of the company fortune on a record setting aircraft flown by noted aviator William Portwood Erwin, the Dallas Spirit, which was lost on a record attempt to Asia concurrent with the Dole Air Race. Company assets were sold to Victor Roos.

Swallow OX-5

Designed and built[edit]

Swallow Super Swallow photo from Aero Digest July 1926


  1. ^ Wichita Beacon. 31 January 1920. p. 1.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ Donald M. Pattillo. A history in the making: 80 turbulent years in the American general aviation. 
  • Gunston, Bill (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. pp. 298–99. 
  • Juptner, Joseph P. (1964). U.S. Civil Aircraft Vol.2. Los Angeles: Aero Publishers. pp. 20 to 21, 72 to 74 and 248 to 249. 
  • "Swallow, New Swallow". Aerofiles.com. Retrieved 2008-10-21.