Aero Flite Trailers
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The Wally Timm Company
While the first Aero Flite trailer was not built until after World War II, the company’s history is able to be traced to the years preceding the war. The company that later built Aero Flite trailers began as The Wally Timm Company. Wally Timm was a well respected aircraft designer and builder. In the 1930’s, along with his brother Otto, Wally designed and built several planes, including the T-840 twin engine cabin plane. The Timm brothers were truly aviation pioneers and it was reported that famed aviator Charles Lindbergh received his first airplane ride from Otto Timm. The Timm T-840, which was test flown for the first time in February 1938, was highly unique, with its wings and engines set unusually high in relation to the fuselage, and the plane boasted the most safety features of any aircraft of its day. In the early 1940’s the Timm brothers developed a process for mixing resin with wood fiber to create a product that was stronger than plywood. They built the Timm S-160K, a prototype trainer plane that was built with their “aeromold” process. They offered the plane to the US Navy and 262 planes were built and delivered.
In 1941, Wally Timm sold to the Aetna Aircraft Corporation the rights to an airplane Timm had designed . The plane was known as the Aetna “Aerocraft” model 2SA. Timm had designed and built the Aerocraft for possible sale to the US military, but his bid was unsuccessful. The only surviving Aerocraft, known today as the 1941 Aetna-Timm Aerocraft 2SA, is on display at the Iowa Aviation Museum in Greenfield, Iowa.
At the time Wally Timm sold the design for the Aerocraft to Aetna Aircraft Corportation, the Vice President of Aetna Aircraft was a man named J. Gordon Hussey. Hussey had become involved in aircraft manufacturing in the late 1930's. The relationship between J. Gordon Hussey and Wally Timm extended well beyond the transaction involving the Aerocraft airplane design.
In a 1942 letter to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, Wally Timm advised the Administration that he had sold the Wally Timm Company, resulting in a name change for the company. The new company name was named “Aero Services, Inc.” According to Timm’s letter, all the same personnel and equipment were in place at the same address and only the ownership and name had changed. There was a management change, as well. J. Gordon Hussey had become the company’s President and General Manager, Frank H. Belcher was the company’s Vice President, and Wally Timm stayed on as company Secretary.
Aircraft designed by Wally Timm and built by the Wally Timm Company are highly prized today and are an important part of aviation history. A 1941 Timm N2T-1 bearing US Navy markings hangs at the National Museum of Naval Aviation, located on Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. The photograph below depicts the only remaining Aerocraft, the design that Timm sold to Hussey's company in 1941.
1941 Aetna-Timm Aerocraft 2SA.
Photo used with permission: Iowa Aviation Museum
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