Aero Flite Trailers
"America's Smartest Trailers"
The history of Aero Flite trailers and the companies, as described throughout this site, from its beginnings as the Wally Timm Company through its demise as Aero Lines, Incorporated, is able to be supported by considerable documentary evidence. The history serves to dispel a rumor that has circulated in the vintage trailer hobby. According to the rumor, Aero Flite trailers were built at Van Nuys Airport by a small group of individuals who were pilfering aluminum from an aircraft company (believed to Lockheed) at the airport and secretly "moonlighting" as trailer builders. According to the rumor, the facility was raided by police authorities and everyone associated with the company was arrested and went to prison.
Extensive research was conducted in the preparation of this text and no evidence was found to support the rumor. A search of newspaper archives, including Los Angeles and Van Nuys area newspapers, found no reports of arrests at the airport for anything remotely related to the rumor. Correspondence from April 1949 through August 1949 between J. Gordon Hussey and the United States Attorney’s Office, acting on behalf of the War Assets Administration, shows that Hussey was still operating a business in mid 1949. This came after Aero Lines had ceased trailer production. Records also exist in the form of correspondence and a contract between Hussey and Vladimir H. Pavleka, et al, in early 1950, related to an engine turbines deal between the men. The contract and letters between Hussey and his business attorney show that Hussey was not incarcerated at the time and instead show that he was traveling freely about the country, including spending a period of time in Washington, DC.
Hussey’s son, J. Gordon Hussey, Jr., a stockholder and principal in the company, also does not appear to have been incarcerated, according to newspaper documentation from the sale of Aero Accessories showing that in October 1950 he appeared before a notary public in the Van Nuys area in preparation for the sale of the company. An Oakland, California newspaper reported on a wedding in December 1949 in which Hussey, Jr. was an usher.
Most importantly, the rumor does not fit the documented history of the company and the people involved. Aero Flite trailers were not built by a couple men working after-hours from their Lockheed jobs. Instead, it is well documented that the trailers were built by a company that was legally incorporated and descended from the Wally Timm Company and Aero Services. Company advertising literature, publicity photographs, internal company documents, and correspondence with outside concerns also show a company operating openly and legitimately. Patents filed with the United States Patent Office show that Frederick C. Hoffman, Aero Flite’s designer and employee of Aero Services when the trailers were built, was employed by Lockheed and developed inventions on their behalf in 1949, 1951, and 1955. Lockheed Aircraft Corporation would not have employed Hoffman if he had been arrested for theft of material from Lockheed.
The rumor that Aero Flite trailers were built with stolen materials appears to be unfounded. Instead of ending due to a police raid, it appears the company went out of business due to weak sales in relation to operating costs.
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