Events - 1938
In 1938 Chance Vought Corporation celebrated its twenty-first year of business. In July of that year there were 696 hourly-rated employees at the Chance Vought plant and 60 engineering employees. The weekly hourly payroll was $30,436 and the average hourly rate was 70.2 cents. The total number of employees at the end of the year was 846. The normal work week was five eight-hour days, with one full shift and a very small second shift. Employees averaged 1.2 overtime hours per week.
From 1934 to 1938, delivery requirements were such that the company was in a position to absorb practically 90% of the direct labor needed for fabrication of airplane parts from raw materials.
During the first half of 1938, Chance Vought Corporation continued work on a Navy contract that called for the delivery of 54 SB2U-1 two-place scout/bombers. Forty eight airplanes remained to be delivered as of January 1. In April, peak delivery was reached when 12 airplanes were delivered. Delivery of the last airplane was made in July, and delivery of spare parts, which was begun in January, continued until October.
Also in effect at the beginning of 1938 was a contract that called for the construction of 58 SB2U-2 two-place scout bombers, a more advanced model which superseded the SB2U-1. The design data and drawings pertaining to this contract were completed and delivered by August 11, and by October 24, tests and miscellaneous data had been completed for the Navy. The first SB2U-2 airplane was delivered to the Navy on August 30, and by the end of December an additional 27 had been delivered. The peak month for deliveries was December, when 15 airplanes were delivered to the Navy.
One XOS2U-1 experimental two-place observation monoplane seaplane (convertible to landplane) for which production began in the first part of 1938, was delivered to the Navy in October of that year. On February 1 the U.S. Navy invited Chance Vought to enter competition for single- and twin-engine fighter designs. Having rejected the idea of entering competition for designing a twin-engine fighter, Chance Vought submitted ideas for two single-engine fighters: the V-166A (F4U-1), built around the proven R-1830 Twin Wasp and the V-166B (F4U-1), which was to be powered with the XR-2800-2 Double Wasp engine, then in the experimental stage.
A U.S. Navy contract was awarded to Chance Vought Corporation on June 30, based upon the above proposals. It called for building of a one-place, single-engine, gull-wing, monoplane fighter. Preliminary negotiations for this contract were begun by R. W. Clark, General Manager, on June 6. First material orders were placed in July and shop work commenced that month. The remainder of this year was spent on design and the construction of a wind tunnel test model, later completed in February, 1939.
Another Navy contract, dated June 21, 1938, was awarded to Chance Vought for the XOS2U-1 experimental two-place scout observation airplane. This contract had been negotiated by C. J. McCarthy, Engineering Manager of the division, from June 1, 1937 until the date of the award. Material had been ordered and shop work on the contract started during January. Work during the balance of the year was concerned with the preparation of design data and drawings, which were delivered by January 1940. Fifty four OS2U-1ís were delivered to the Navy in 1940. In 1941 and 1942, a total of 1164 OS2U-1ís were delivered to the Navy, Argentina, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Dutch East Indies, Mexico, and Uruguay.
In October of 1938 a third contract was awarded by the U.S. Navy for one XSB2U-3 experimental scout-bomber, developed from the SB2U-1 and the SB2U-2 models. Shop work had already begun and material orders placed in April of 1938. This contract was also negotiated by C. J. McCarthy, who initiated proceedings in November of 1937.
In 1938 Chance Vought Corporation spent over $282,000 for development and research, with $71,711 committed to experimental contracts.
Events for 1931 - 1938