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Waldo Waterman

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Inventor - Aero Engineer

Born San Diego, California

June 16, 1894—December 8, 1976


At the age of 14, Waldo Dean Waterman became interested in anything written about the flights of the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss. His mechanical training and a 1909 Popular Mechanics article on gliders enabled him to construct and fly a glider down the slopes of a canyon in San Diego.

He advanced to powered aircraft and developed an association with Glenn Curtiss in California until 1912, when he enrolled at the University of California at Berkeley to study aeronautical engineering. He attained his degree and as World War I began, became head of theory of flight at the U.S. Army Signal Corps School of Military Aeronautics there. After the war, he became associated with several aircraft manufacturing companies in engineering and management positions. He established and managed airports and airlines, continued to set flight records for altitude and speed, and became an airline pilot.

Waterman was lured back to aircraft design by the U.S. Department of Commerce requirement for a simple, easy to fly, low cost airplane. His Arrowplane and Arrowmobile, convertible from road to air, were his answers.

Following his retirement, he continued to produce aircraft designs and construct early Chanute and Curtiss type gliders and aircraft, some of which he flew in airshows. He continued flying and contributing to aviation until his death.

Invested 1968 in the International Aerospace Hall of Fame

From "These We Honor," The International Hall of Fame; The San Diego Aerospace Museum, San Diego, CA. 1984

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Updated: March 12, 2004