Aero Flite Trailers
"America's Smartest Trailers"
Aero Services, Incorporated
The company that built Aero Flite trailers had its roots in the early days of aviation, as the Wally Timm Company. Wally Timm sold the company in 1942 and the company name was changed to Aero Services, Incorporated. Aero Services operated a Civil Aeronautics Administration Certified Repair Station under Air Agency Certificate #221. The company repaired airplanes for the US government, as well as for private companies. Among the company’s clients were the US Navy, Pan American Airlines, United Airlines, Taca Airlines, Douglas Aircraft, Solar Aircraft, and Lockheed Aircraft. Many of these organizations did business with Aero Services throughout the mid-1940s, including the war years.
The company was equipped with the latest in precision tools and equipment, including machine shops, tool and die departments, and sheet metal equipment and expertise. The company purchased jigs and aircraft tooling equipment from manufacturers when new models were produced, enabling the jigs and dies to be used for reconstruction purposes. Aero Services had a large and impressive welding department that included 11 arc welders, 27 gas welding stations, as well as an acetylene generator, and a room size sandblaster. The company employed Army and Navy certified welders and boasted about its welding successes in advertisements in aviation magazines and used the ads to promote itself in other ways, such as when trying to acquire loans. In addition to sheet metal, machine, and welding, and other specialties mentioned above, Aero Services also operated painting, wood working, and upholstery departments, as well as offering magnafluxing service. Besides performing typical repair and overhaul operations, Aero Services also performed salvage services on aircraft components that were damaged in transit. The company salvaged, by jigging up and repairing, all but one of a load of airplane wings damaged in a train wreck. Aero Services also repaired a shipment of damaged stabilizers for bombers and returned them to the Army Air Force Command, allowing normal production to continue. Company promotional materials boasted that Aero Services repaired flak-damaged aircraft parts and services and worked for insurance companies, repairing and reconstructing wrecked airplanes.
The loss of war-related contracts surely impacted Aero Services, and despite having had some of the best talent in the business, Aero Services began to experience quality problems in the repair of airplanes in 1945. A complaint filed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, based on their inspections of repaired aircraft showed a number of concerns, some of which were very serious. The CAA also noted violations in the administrative operation of Aero Services, including: certifying aircraft instruments with insufficient equipment to qualify to evaluate instruments; failure to properly supervise uncertified mechanics; poor record-keeping; and having inadequate facilities and materials to effect proper repairs.
Hussey’s plan to lead Aero Services out of World War II and into peacetime was not successful. In June of 1946 Aero Services, Inc. entered bankruptcy. A few months later, in what would have been another severe blow to any dream Hussey had for reviving his company, Aero Services and the Civil Aeronautics Administration entered into an agreement that if Aero Services surrendered its Air Agency Certificate, the Administration would withdraw its complaint. In September 1946, Aero Services voluntarily surrendered its certificate. A public auction was held on February 27, 1947, to sell the equipment and fixtures of Aero Services. The company continued to operate for a brief period before discontinuing operation as an aircraft repair facility.
Before Aero Services went bankrupt and discontinued operations Hussey expanded the company’s operations beyond aircraft repair by creating two new companies: Aero Accessories and Aero Lines. A division of Aero Services, Inc., Aero Accessories, Inc. was established by Hussey for the purpose of performing testing, repair, and certification of aircraft instruments and accessories. The company had facilities and equipment to test generators, starters, magnetos, voltage regulators, reverse current relays, motors, inverters, coils, condensers, tachometers, fuel pumps, vacuum pumps, hydraulic pumps, and anti-icer motors and pumps. Aero Accessories survived for a few years after Aero Services went bankrupt but it is unknown to what extent the company was successful. J. Gordon Hussey, Jr., sold Aero Accessories to Elmer R. Bennett of Santa Monica, California, in January 1950.
Aero Lines, Inc. was the other company Hussey founded while operating Aero Services before it went bankrupt. With World War II drawing to a close Hussey began to make plans for peacetime operations. Aero Lines was Hussey’s answer to the question of how his company would survive after the war ended; Aero Lines would build and sell house trailers. Before founding Aero Lines, under Hussey's direction Aero Services built two prototypes and introduced the trailers to the public in late 1945. The reaction was very positive and in early 1946 Aero Lines began operations for the express purpose of manufacturing house trailers.
Aero Services was truly at its peak during World War II and J. Gordon Hussey and the men and women of Aero Services proudly served the war effort. In an advertisement published in Flying Magazine in 1943, Hussey was quoted as having said, “From the hour our country was attacked, Aero Services, Inc., has been all-out with every ounce of effort, every resource to smash the Axis.”
Hussey had plans to carry the company’s wartime momentum forward into the post-war years. In a letter to Defense Plant Corporation in mid-1943, Hussey described the company as a good investment and stressed that Aero Services was not a “war industry.” Hussey used the company newsletter to communicate to employees that he was busy working to secure war contracts and he was pressing forward on several post-war ideas. Hussey informed employees that a new engine shop would be erected and would handle many large peacetime jobs, such as a modification the company was in the midst of involving a Douglas transport plane. It was reported that a major peacetime activity of Aero Services would be converting planes from their wartime use to peacetime purposes.
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