REVISED: 3/12/07


1909: Waldo Dean Waterman, San Diego CA. 1919: Waterman Aircraft Mfg Co, 3rd & Sunset, Venice CA. 1922: Ontario Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA. 1931: Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys CA. 1939: Ended operations. 1947: Continued building various aircraft as personal endeavors.

1910 = 1pOB; 2-cylinder Speedwell pusher. Waterman's first powered creation (he built gliders in 1909), in league with Kenneth Kendall, was so badly underpowered it had to be assisted by automobile tow to get off the ground, but it did and made a few flights before becoming ensnarled in the tow rope on a take-off. It crashed and Waterman earned two fractured ankles for his efforts. Although based on the Curtiss, it had an innovative concept of wheels that could be folded up via a lever-and-wires arrangement (the first retracting gear?) in order to land on its skids—this lever also shut off the motor at the same time.

1911 = 1pOB; 20hp Cameron tractor. Destroyed in a windstorm at North Island in Feb 1912. Undaunted, while at UC Berkeley in 1913, Waterman began construction of a twin-tractor flying boat planned for use at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, but lack of funding forced abandonment after the fuselage was built.
3-L-400 1920 = 3pO-CB; 400hp Liberty 12; span: 43'6" load: 1335# v: 126/105/45 range: 600 ceiling: 25,000'. Rebuilt war-surplus Packard-LePere LUSAC as an executive transport. POP: 1 for L C Brand as a personal transport. In rented space at the Crawford factory in 1919, Waterman—as Ontario Aircraft—specialized in building Hisso-powered JN-4Ds using surplus Curtiss jigs, most without specific designations or model numbers. He continued converting surplus military aircraft until joining Bach Co in 1927 as a pilot.
Aerobile 1958 = 3pCHwM final version of Arrowbile with Tucker auto engine (Franklin converted to liquid-cooled). POP: 1 [N54P].
  Waterman Arrowbile [X262Y]

Arrowbile 1938 = 2pCHwM with 100hp Studebaker pusher 120/105/x; ff: 2/21/37. All-metal, tailless, hybrid flying auto capable of 70mph on roads on its three wheels. POP: 3 [X262Y, NR16332, NR18932], reportedly 3 more were finished in 1939 but never licensed.
  Waterman Arrowplane [X13] (Clark Scott)

Arrowplane 1936 = 2p CHwM with 95hp Menasco B-4 inverted pusher; ff: 2/21/36. Tailless, swept-back wing, tricycle gear. POP: 1 [X/NS13] built with WPA subsidy established by CAA head, Eugene Vidal (father of author Gore Vidal), to encourage production of a safe, easy-to-fly "everyman's airplane." Evolved into Arrowbile.
Chevy Bird 1969 = 1pOhwM; 140hp Corvair engine. Open frame fuselage; wings and tail from a Cessna 140. Later fitted with floats and promptly christened Chevy Duck. [N262Y].
  Waterman Flex-Wing [NX169W] (Frank Rezich coll)
  Waterman Flex-Wing [NX169W] (W Waterman coll)

Flex-Wing aka CLM Special and Variable Wing Monoplane 1930 = 4pClwM; 125hp Kinner. Flexible wings hinged at the fuselage allowed the pilot to vary dihedral and angle of attack for controlled performances. Struts contained shock absorbers with air pressure supplied by compressed air tanks fed by the motor. Also had a 6' central skid acting as an arresting gear after landing. POP: 1 [X169W]. Became W-1.
  Waterman Flying Wing [X12272] (Avn Heritage coll}

Flying Wing 1932 = 2pClwM; 100hp Kinner K-5 pusher. Unique design was a 15° swept-back conventional wing with tip rudders, mounting a fuselage nacelle; front elevator. A front boom featured a novel trim feature—two small machinists' vises that could be slid to positions of advantage and then tightened. Sporting a tricycle gear with steerable nose wheel, this was the first airplane to be equipped with "elevon" control. Resembling a giant boomerang, the creation was dubbed the "Whatsit" by onlookers at Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport. Waterman spent several days taxiing around the field, feeling out the plane's characteristics, then finally tried a faster taxi down the runway, gradually advancing the throttle. On the threshold of take-off, the front wheel dropped into a gopher hole, the doors flew off their hinges, and the "Whatsit" flew at minimal altitude for about 30 feet before coming to a brutal halt. The first actual "flying wing" monoplane was rebuilt to enter a 1933 safety plane competition, winning one of the only two awards out of 30 entries. POP: 1 [X12272]. Became known as Arrowplane and led to the 1937 version.
  Waterman Gosling and the Great Waldo (Aerial Age via Joe Martin)

Gosling aka Mercury Gosling 1921 = 1pOhwM; 90hp Curtiss OX-5; span: 21'9" length: 18'7" load: 245# v: 130/110/60 range: 135; ff: 6/6/21. Parasol-wing racer with bass/birch veneer fuselage, sponsored by film director and air enthusiast Cecil B de Mille for local competitions (p: Eldred Remelin) at his Mercury Air Service field. Sold to Art Goebel as promotional Julian Oil Co Lightning in 1925, then to a film studio, where it was deliberately destroyed in a fire scene.
  Waterman Pusher A later version, c.1965 (K O Eckland coll)

Pusher various dates = Several 1pOB experimentals based loosely on the Curtiss design were produced by Waterman for himself and others in exhibition flying. Individual aircraft were only lightly documented, but a particularly notable one used the wings and tail of the original Vought VE-7, which were discovered in an old hangar after WW2. Donated to the San Diego Air Museum, but perished in its 1978 fire.
W-1, W-1 Special 1931 (2-325) = 4p ClwM; 210hp Kinner C-5; span: 39'0" length: 27'2" load: 1164# v: 135/110/48 range: 600. Continuation of the Flex-Wing experiments; nicknamed "Rubber Duck." Adjustable-incidence and -dihedral wings with shock-absorbing struts. POP: 2 [NC169W, NC172M], the latter as W-1 Special. Lack of funding canceled project.
  Waterman W-4 [NS13] (Frank Rezich coll)

W-4 Arrowplane 1935 = 2pChwM; 95hp Menasco B-4 pusher. Tailless, swept-back wing; tricycle gear. POP: 1 built with WPA subsidy established by CAA head, Eugene Vidal (father of author Gore Vidal), to encourage production of a safe, easy-to-fly "every-man's airplane" [NS/X13]—the NS registry was for Bureau of Commerce. Accumulated more than 100 hours flight time before being intentionally (if not mysteriously) destroyed by a CAA official in 1937. Design evolved into Arrowbile.
  Waterman W-5 [X262Y] (clip: Popular Science)

W-5 Arrowbile, Aerobile 1936 = 2pChwM; 100hp Studebaker pusher; v: 120/105/x; ff: 2/21/37. All-metal, tailless, hybrid flying auto capable of 70mph on roads—with its three wheels and single headlight, DMV classified it as a motorcycle! $3,000 (this was hurriedly retracted once a unit construction cost of $7,000 was noted); POP: 3 [X262Y, NR18931/18932], the first of whose registry was transferred to a Breezy-type pusher in 1968; 3 more were reportedly finished in 1939, but never licensed when a lack of financing ended production. Stall- and spin-proof, its simplicity of operation was underscored when DoC's John Geisse, with only 35 hours' flight experience, flew one back to Washington DC in his business suit! Revived briefly in 1958 as Aerobile with a Tucker auto engine (Franklin converted to liquid-cooled) [N54P]. SEE Waldo's Arrowbile Mess!
  Waterman-Boeing C on floats (Drina Welch Abel coll)
  Waterman-Boeing C on wheels (Drina Welch Abel coll)

-Boeing C 1924 = Modified surplus USN floatplane for passenger operations. 5pOBF, later converted to wheels and Renault engine, expanded 4p front cockpit, internal gas tanks relocated under the top wing, enlarged tailskid. Waterman was able, through craft, to buy six Model Cs for $200 each (USN cost $10,250 each, and selling nationally in lake areas for $2,000 each) for use a basis for his Big Bear (CA resort) Airlines. One plane is seen in the 1926 film, "Mantrap," in which Waterman also played a bit part, and two were destroyed in filming "Dawn Patrol" as the ones that crash on take-off during a raid on the German aerodrome.

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