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Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd / Airco

In 1911 George Holt Thomas acquired British rights for Farman airplanes, and early in 1912 formed the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd. To establish the firm's own design department he hired Geoffrey de Havilland in 1914, who had already achieved success at the Royal Aircraft Factory.

Based at Hendon, London, the company made several types of military aircraft, generally known as D.H. rather than Airco. These were the D.H.1 and 1A two-seat pushers; D.H.3 and 3A twin-engined pushers; D.H.4 two-seat tractor (representing, as a fast day-bomber, one of the greatest aeronautical advances of the First World War); D.H.5 single-seat tractor with backward stagger; D.H.6 tractor trainer; D.H.9, an extensively developed D.H.4; D.H.9A, an even greater advance; D.H.10 and 10A, built in pusher and tractor forms (notably tractor); D.H.11 twin-engined bomber; and D.H.14 and 15 single-engined bombers.

Early civil transport types were the D.H.16 and D.H.18. Other companies controlled by Airco built flying-boats, air engines and airships. After the war Holt Thomas founded Air Transport and Travel Ltd. and the Aircraft Manufacturing Co. was shut down, making way for de Havilland Aircraft Co. Ltd.


The Airco name was temporarily revived January 1958 for production of D.H.121 jet transport.


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