Aero Flite Trailers
"America's Smartest Trailers"
Production Trailer - Serial Number 1078
Aero Flite Falcon, serial number 1078, the 78th trailer to come down the Aero Lines assembly line, was built in 1948. The trailer was found in North Carolina in a swampy area, in 2005, by an Airstream trailer enthusiast who rescued it and listed it for sale on the eBay auction site. It was disclosed by the seller at the time of the sale that the trailer needed a complete restoration and the aluminum frame was badly corroded and would need to be repaired or replaced. The trailer was transported via commercial transport company from North Carolina to its new home in Bloomington, Illinois.
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The trailer's frame was badly corroded along the right frame rail, and particularly in the area where the right spring hanger attached to the frame (see photo below at right). The frame was also badly corroded at the area where the right main rail connected to the right tongue rail on the underside of the trailer. When the trailer was loaded on the transport company rig, the tongue rail broke free, allowing the right front corner of the frame to sit on the bed of the transport rig. With the right spring hanger detached, the right wheel was unable to turn, due to the tire making contact with the wheelhouse. The trailer was able to be rolled off the transport using wheel dollies.
The trailer was complete, but heavily water damaged. The trailer was also very musty and moldy. The trailer was dismantled so that any salvageable cabinetry, the kitchenette, and any parts to be used as patterns could be preserved. Visible in the photo at right below are factory bed rails that are used to convert the dinette area into a double bed.
Modifications had been made by prior owners, including adding a hand sink and new countertops on the right side of the trailer, the ceiling vents had apparently leaked, and someone had attempted to repair the ceiling using circles cut from wood paneling. The dinette seats had been reupholstered twice over the years, as the bottom left photo shows. After the trailer was gutted, the trailer's axle and springs were removed and the body was set upon a wooden frame that had been constructed, allowing the trailer to be moved on dolly wheels. The trailer was moved into the owner's garage for restoration.
It was necessary to stabilize the body before removing the frame. The weight of the upper body and walls would have caused the floor to bow, arching upward, potentially allowing the roof to buckle or the rear body to sag. The bracing, visible in the photo below, at left, allowed the body to remain sufficient strength and rigidity with the frame removed. A new frame was fabricated using structural aluminum. The frame was riveted together, as it was originally built by Aero Lines. In addition to the 1940's technology (solid aluminum rivets), modern day structural adhesive was used in the construction of the new frame. The frame was then riveted in place and new outriggers were installed.
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