Epic Hoons: Waldo Dean Waterman and His Flying Cars

waterman lead
I like the phrase “batshit mad” a lot, and I probably use it more than I should. The problem is, when you’re in my line of work, the list of euphemisms that convey both insanity and awe are few and far between. If ever “batshit mad” had an appropriate subject, it would be Waldo Waterman, inventor, airman, and all-around hoon. Waterman got his start by building a biplane hang glider in 1909 while he was still in high school, and flying the crap out of it.

<i>Source: aerofiles.com</i>
Source: aerofiles.com

Then he decided to up the ante and get motorized, proceeding to develop an underpowered, tow-assisted airplane that subsequently crashed and broke both his ankles. While that would discourage some men, Waterman was a big thinker. Despite the serious crash, he decided that monoplanes didn’t need any of that conventional stability crap, and created the world’s first tailless monoplane. Maniacal.
<i>Source: aerofiles.com</i>
Source: aerofiles.com

Of course, this primarily being a fringe car blog, Waterman turned his attention to that great white whale of transportation crossovers, the flying car. Starting in 1917 and tinkering for a couple of decades, Waterman eventually got the Aerobile and Arrowbile tailless flying cars into the air. They had detachable wings and were powered by Hooniverse-approved Studebaker engines. Waterman was active until the 1970s, his last project being a similarly Hooniverse-friendly airplane powered by a Corvair engine.
<i>The inestimable Waldo Dean Waterman.</i>
The inestimable Waldo Dean Waterman.

Waldo Waterman, we want to salute you and your ideas. Hopefully someday, automotive hoons will be able to terrorize the air because of your contributions to the field!

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  1. engineerd Avatar

    We often lament the lack of change and progress in automotive design. In fact, the recent trend has been to look backward at great designs of the past and modernize them. This same ultra-conservativeness doesn't usually apply to the world of aeronautics. New materials, faster and more reliable computers, and increasing performance requirements has pushed aircraft design forward. Even airliners, long a conservative arena due to the efficiencies of the tube and wing design for passenger travel, is changing with the Airbus A-380 and Boeing 787. Military aircraft have long pushed the limits of what is and isn't possible.
    Interjecting some of the limitless thinking from the aeronautics world into the automotive world is something the car companies should be looking at. There are limits. Jets cost millions of dollars and are fairly low-volume products, where as cars have to be priced so regular people can buy them. However, I would think that there are some areas where a no-holds-barred approach to design would benefit both consumer and producer alike.

    1. Han_Solex Avatar

      I see what you're saying, but I don't know if I completely agree. The YB-49 was killed because the conservative Air Force favored the relatively conventional B-36, which was an unmitigated disaster. (I'll admit they did also partially cancel the YB-49 because the B-47 was in the pipeline, and that was a forward-looking success.) Current plane manufacturers are resisting the move to more efficient lifting body designs. Likewise, the F-22 is much more advanced than the F-35, but it was canceled because of costs.
      I guess maybe the more accurate thing to say, rather than taking one position or another, is that military and civilian aviation are innovative and conservative at the same time. The conservative elements are always there, pushing conventional designs and cheaper products, and every so often you have a breakthrough technology push through the conservatism (case in point, Boeing's work on both the lifting body and composite plane construction).

  2. kikus Avatar

    add to bookmarks
    http://kikus.ru/images/other-525678.html – баня с проститутками
    http://prostitutki.auto-mirs.ru/amerikanskie-shlyhi.html – вьетнам проститутки
    http://kikus.ru/images/other-588303.html – проститутки севастополя

  3. Epic Hoons: Waldo Dean Waterman and His Flying Cars : Hooniverse…
    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  4. […] – L’américain Waldo Waterman réussit à faire voler l’Arrowbile, voiture munie d’une cabine et d’ailes démontables. Des […]

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