VE-7 Bluebird: The Aircraft That Got a Company off the Ground

When Chance M. Vought started pursuing his company’s first Army contract, he already had the idea for an airplane that would surpass the Wright-Martin V, the VE-7 Bluebird.  It was here that Chance Vought’s engineering genius became visible.  Barely 91 days after he secured the contract, he delivered the first VE-7 Bluebird to the government for test on February 11, 1918.

By contrast, Vought’s latter jets (i.e., F8/A7) took about 4 years from company contract to military initial operational capability (IOC). However, today’s more complex jets (i.e., F22) are anticipated to reach IOC about 14/15 years from contract initiation.

Production methods were expedient, with component sections like the fuselage and wings completed in the loft, lowered by rope and pulley through a removable window and assembled  on the street below. After the Hispano Suiza 150-hp engine was installed, it was run up with the airplane’s tail tied to a telephone pole.  Next, it was trucked 25 miles to Hazelhurst Field to enter an Army Signal Corps competition against some large American companies for a contract. The contract was to build an advanced trainer to replace Curtiss Jennies, Standard, Thomas-Morse and other aircraft. The little biplane, with the words “Aeroplanes Vought” painted on its tail, was Vought’s hopeful offering in the direction of a military contract.


More about the VE-7:

The Aircraft That Got a Company off the Ground
VE-7 Production
Additional VE-7s
VE-7 as a History Maker