North American Aviation was an American aircraft manufacturer. It was founded as an airline holding company in 1928 and entered the aircraft manufacturing business in 1934. In 1933, General Motors acquired a controlling interest in NAA and operated it as part of its General Aviation division until it spun the company off in 1948. Despite this, NAA had such an independent identity during the World War II years that even most aviation enthusiasts are unaware that it was a GM division.
Between 1934 and 1967, NAA produced many important military aircraft for the U.S. Army and Air Force, and to some extent for the Navy. Among these aircraft were the P-51, FJ, F-86 and F-100 fighters; the B-25, B-45 and experimental XB-70 bombers; the T-6, T-28 and T-2 trainers; the X-15 research aircraft; and major parts of the Apollo moon mission system.
In 1967 North American was acquired by Rockwell International, which later sold its aerospace assets to Boeing in 1996. Boeing today claims corporate descendence from North American and trademark rights in its products.
North American’s headquarters and major plant during the war years were located at Mines Field at the corner of Redondo Blvd. and 114th Street (now Imperial Highway) in El Segundo, California. The site is now part of the cargo facility just south of Los Angeles International Airport. Most of North American’s famous aircraft of the 1940s and 1950s, such as the T-6, most P-51s, the B-25 and F-86 were built at this location.
During World War II, NAA opened a second plant in Grand Prairie, TX, known as the Dallas plant. Its former site, indicated by “B” on this map, is now an industrial area north of Mountain Creek Lake, adjacent to Dallas Naval Air Station (“A” on map). T-6, P-51, and F-6 aircraft were built at this facility.
From the 1950s, NAA operated a large plant in Columbus, Ohio, known as Air Force Plant 85. Previously a Curtiss-Wright plant, this factory built the F-100, A-5, T-2, T-28 and OV-10 aircraft, as well as parts of the B-1 after Rockwell acquired NAA.
See the types of aircraft made by North American at the gallery links below. These galleries are of aircraft developed by NAA before its acquisition by Rockwell. For later Rockwell aircraft, see the Rockwell International page.