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WWll Wing Nuts


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I retired as an aerospace engineer after 40 years of work. I made a study as part of my Master's Thesis called "Productivity on a Complex Aircraft Assembly Line:. I did a lot of research on the Willow Run plant and many other WWII assembly lines. If I remember correctly several WWII fighter lines produced at the rate of 1 every 15 minutes or less. Many recent production fighters (that are much more complex) have been produced at rates of more than 1 plane per day. When you look at today's complexity, this is astounding.

 

It a relates to what we called WBS...Work Breakdown Structure. Making and measuring the assembly build task at simple, small jobs. Jobs that are more complex require more people doing them. Thats why you see these long assembly lines in both auto & aircraft assembly plants. Henry Ford was the innovator and driving force behind this principle in the United States.

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I had a friend that was a tail gunner on a B-24 with 24 missions over Europe, was shot down ans spent 2 years in a German POW camp.

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German intelligence actually had a pretty good idea of U.S. production rates for a lot of stuff. When their estimates fo U.S. aircraft production (which, in fact, were low) were presented to Herr Schicklgruber he dismissed them as impossible and the result of Allied disinformation. Silly him. :P

 

SQQ

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Doubt if we have the manufacturing capability like that anymore( went to China and Mexico) :rolleyes::angry:

 

I was at Willow Run back in '89, there was an aircraft museum across the field from the plant at that point. Called themselves the Yankee Air Force. they were doing a 17-G at that point. There was a 52 and a bunch of others there as well. A 24 was sitting there, but was not going to be airworthy because the main spar had been cut....... :blush:

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I believe we could do it again...if we ever needed to. I doubt that we would ever have to. The problem is the raw materials, parts and components that would be required. The F-18 program that I worked on built 1 a/c per day working at about 60% capacity! Lots of robotics really gave us the ability to crank up the assembly line. Under todays philosophy of "just in time" manufacturing, the parts stream can dry up in a hurry.

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