Viewing page 15 of 37

land National Air Races later that year.
     The Waterman Aircraft Dyndicate [[Syndicate]] was then formed to design and build a very unusual new plane. Called the "Flex-Wing" it was a 4-passenger low wing cabin monoplane, powered by a C-5, 190 H.P. Kinner radial engine. The wings were hinged to the fuselage and supported by air-controlled shock absorbers which enabled the pilot to flex the wings for quicker take-offs, better cruise speed and slower landings. Landing wheels were 13 feet apart and mounted on the wings. A central skid brought the machine to a quick stop when the wings and wheels were raised, throwing the entire weight of the machine on the skid. This feature was later abandoned. Waterman demonstrated this plane at the National Air Races at Chicago, Illinois, held August 23rd to September 1st, 1930,and again in September for NACA at Langley Field, Virginia, however the depression prevented further development. This plane was awarded a Type Certificate by the Development of Commerce in 1931. The Bach Aircraft was dissolved at that time and Waterman was assigned to liquidate the assets of the firm.

     For some time Waterman had dreamed of a "flying automobile", a machine which by quick and easy conversion would be practical and useable as either a plane or an automobile. Working in the corner of the former Bach factory be built a plane embodying some of the required features as a prototype test machine. Called the "Whatsit", it was a tailless, sweptback low wing monoplane with steerable tricycle gear and powered by a 5 cylinder radial engine. Completed in July, 1932, he succeeded in flying it after a series of near serious episodes. Then he offered to let one of his friends fly it and wrecked it completely. This was the first tailless FLYING WING monoplane in the United States, and also employed the first modern version of the tricycle landing gear.

     Following this Waterman took a position with T W A flying Ford and Fokker tri-motors between Los-Angles and San Francisco, and left the "Whatsit" wreck to be rebuilt by a mechanic friend. While with T W A the Air Commerce Division, United States Government, issued a questionnaire concerning the possibility of a safe, low cost, easy-to-fly everyman's type of plane. The general specifications

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact