Waterman Whatsit

Ξ September 4th, 2005 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Science |

    From the page: "The unconventional design of the Whatsit tailless airplane was the first design of Waldo Waterman's quest for an airplane that would be as easy for the average man on the street to fly as it would be for him to drive his "Flivver" automobile. The Whatsi" led to Waterman's Arrowplane and Aerobile designs, ventures in light, simple- to-fly and roadable aircraft. The Arrowplane was recognized by the Department of Commerce's Bureau of Aeronautics in 1934 for it safe flying characteristics and the Aerobile roadable design is now also in the Museum's collection.

    In 1911, Waldo Waterman, of Santa Monica, California, was first inspired with the idea of the tailless roadable airplane by a remark pioneer aviator Glenn Curtiss made about how nice it would be to drive his amphibian aircraft away from the landing field or water. In April 1932, Waterman and two assistants constructed an aircraft at the Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport at Van Nuys. The aircraft was constructed primarily as a test platform to develop the aerodynamic data for the tailless flying wing and to test the tricycle-landing gear. When first viewed in the air by the press and onlookers, the prevailing question was; "What is it? ", hence the name Whatsit. The airplane configuration was a tailless, low-wing monoplane pusher with 100-hp five-cylinder Kinner K-5 radial engine installed at the rear of the crew nacelle. The fuselage nacelle was welded steel tubing with metal covering and the wings were of fabric-covered wood. Directional control was provided by a combination of wing-tip mounted elevons and rudders mounted near the tips."


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