Image of the Air Force wings with the museum name underneath

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Air Corps Expands

The decaying military situation in Europe emphasized the need for urgency within the United States. In May 1940, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called for production of 50,000 military planes a year, a tremendous increase from the 1,800 produced in 1938. Various Air Corps expansion programs were approved, each larger than the preceding one, and aircraft production began to climb rapidly with much of the output going to the British Empire. The Air Corps' pilot training program was accelerated at such a fantastic rate that civilian contractors were selected to operate a large number of newly-established primary flying schools. To acquire facilities for increased air and sea defense of the Western Hemisphere, the United States traded 50 overage destroyers in September 1940 for 99-year leases to eight bases in British possession in the Americas.

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