Waterman Whatsit - (scan - 1997)

Waldo Waterman, pioneer (1909) west-coast pilot built the tailless, tricycle gear, pusher engine design and first tested it in 1932. Also featured wing sweepback, wingtip drag elements, and elevon controls, and was one of the first tricycle-gear designs with steerable nose wheel. Apparent fault found in limited flight tests--relationship of thrust line to vertical center of pressure was critical in tailless airplane. Apparently, little work done on it during next several months. In 1933, Director of Bureau of Air Commerce, Eugene Vidal, suggested "that if some manufacturer could produce a foolproof airplane in large quantities and market it at a low figure, a new phase of the aircraft industry could be developed." Whatsit again ready fro flight 1934 with practically no changes. A safety airplane competition sponsored by the Bureau announced about 1934, and Whatsit, renamed Arrowplane, became first to be accepted for competition (won by Pitcairn AC- 35). Waterman recognized his design wasn't the complete answer to foolproof, low-cost criteria, but he felt it was a major step toward perfecting tailless design. Waterman Arrowplane Corp. formed soon afterwards. Roadable design, Arrowbile, evolved from Arrowplane and was completed 1937. Only 6 built (spelling later changed to Aerobile).

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