Keystone Aircraft Corporation

On 8 March 1927 the new owners of Huff-Daland renamed the company as the Keystone Aircraft Corporation. Over its brief five year existence Keystone would produce nearly 200 bombers for the Army Air Corps, and the Keystone Bomber was the standard American bomber during the early 1930s.

The newly named company’s first success was the Keystone LB-5, a twin-engined bomber of which 36 were built. This was followed by eighteen similar LB-6s and twenty LB-7s. The LB-10 was next to be ordered in large numbers, but before it could enter production the Light Bomber designation was cancelled, and the aircraft was redesignated as the Keystone B-3A Panther. Of the 63 aircraft ordered 36 were produced as B-3As and 27 as re-engined B-5As.

The final Keystone bombers were the B-4A and B-6A, of which 30 and 44 were produced. All of these aircraft were really only minor variations on the original LB-5, using different engines, and in some cases different tail planes.

In October 1928 Keystone purchased the Loening Aeronautical Engineering Corporation, and production of Loening aircraft moved to Bristol, but the two product lines kept their separate designations. At some point during 1928-29 Keystone-Loening was apparently purchased by the Wright Corporation, probably early in 1929, as Keystone’s 1928 Annual Report makes no mention of the event. What is certain is that Keystone was a founder-member of the Curtiss-Wright company, which was created on 26 June 1929.

The Keystone division survived until 1932. It then became one of many victims of the Great Depression, which had caused a slump in both private and military aircraft orders. The thirty-nine B-6As built in 1932 were the last biplane bombers to enter Air Corps service. Having benefited from the conservative nature of the Air Corps leadership over the last few years, when far more advanced designs probably should have replaced the biplane bombers, Keystone’s produces were finally rendered obsolete by a new generation of monoplane aircraft, and so in 1932 Curtiss-Wright closed both the Bristol factory and the Keystone division.

Military Aircraft
Keystone XLB-3A
Keystone LB-5
Keystone LB-6
Keystone LB-7
Keystone LB-8
Keystone LB-9
Keystone LB-10
Keystone LB-11
Keystone XLB-12
Keystone LB-13
Keystone LB-14
Keystone XB-1 Super Cyclops
Keystone B-3A Panther
Keystone B-4A Panther
Keystone B-5A Panther
Keystone B-6A Panther

Production Figures – Huff-Daland and Keystone


Type

New

Conversions

Total

LB-1

11

0

11

LB-3

1

0

1

LB-5

36

0

36

LB-6

17

1

18

LB-7

17

3

20

LB-8

0

1

1

LB-9

0

1

1

LB-10

0

1

1 (63 ordered as B-3A)

LB-11

0

1

1

LB-12

0

1

1

LB-13

0

0

0 (7 built as Y1B-4 and Y1B-6)

LB-14

0

0

0 (1 built as Y1B-5)

B-3

36

0

36 (27 of 63 ordered built as B-5)

B-4

25

5

30

B-5

27

3

30

B-6

39

5

44

 

209

 

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (8 October 2008), Keystone Aircraft Corporation, http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/company_keystone.html

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