AVIATION: Rough Ride

When Floyd B. Odium's Atlas Corp. bought control of Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. from Financier Victor Emanuel in 1947, Odium expected a rough ride. Like other investors in aviation, he knew that the aircraft industry was in the midst of a postwar shakedown. But the ride was far rougher than Odium had expected.

Consolidated was buffeted by labor troubles, had money-losing contracts to deliver Convair-240s, its two-motored commercial airliners. Though Odium expected some loss on the contracts, which had been signed before he took over, he soon found that he had underestimated such losses by . $13 million. All in...

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