an important role in America’s first intercontinental missile—Atlas.
In 1954, Frank Davis was named chief engineer of the Fort Worth Division of what was then called Convair (the name had been changed from Consolidated Vultee Aircraft). He and Fran moved to Fort Worth, where Frank supervised development of the B-58 supersonic bomber, which first flew near the end of that year. The B-58 was a successful bomber, but it was ahead of its time for maintainability. Over 100 were built and flown by the U.S. Air Force.
The next major aircraft program starting in the 1960s was the Tactical Fighter Experimental, or TFX. Davis was promoted to have full responsibility for the complete Fort Worth Division (including the TFX proposal) in 1959. The competition dragged on for several years, but his division finally won the F-111, as it was then called in 1962. Development went well, and over 600 were built.
In 1970 the company was reorganized, and Davis became president of the Convair Aerospace Division, which included the Convair Division in San Diego, the Fort Worth Division, and the Astronautics Division in San Diego. During this period he and Fran moved back to San Diego.
Back in the 1960s Convair had purchased Canadair, Ltd., a Canadian airplane manufacturer located in Montreal. Frank Davis was made a member of the Board of Directors in 1963 and continued until his retirement from the company in 1975.
In 1960, Frank was honored by the University of West Virginia with a doctor of science degree. Shortly thereafter he was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Then in 1967 he was elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. Davis received the California Institute of Technology Alumni Award in 1968. He was also elected an honorary fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
Frank continued to be active professionally after his retirement. He continued as a consultant to Canadair and was a director of Convair, Langley Corporation, VAI Computer, Inc., and Kanawha Manufacturing Company.