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Old 04-11-2009, 10:07 AM   #1
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Avation History

Found in my inbox,* SOME VERY INTERESTING EARLY AMERICAN AVIATION HISTORY And the younger generation thinks they developed "net working" In aviation history, decades before geeks and nerds altered our way of life,*young and gutsy aviation pioneers changed the world with their wood sticks, bailing wire, canvas and aluminum.How many of you know that in 1910, mighty Martin Marietta got its start in an abandoned California church? That's where Glenn L. Martin with his amazing mother Minta Martin and their mechanic Roy Beal constructed a fragile biplane that Glenn taught himself to fly.It has often been told how Douglas Aircraft started operations in 1920 in a barbershop's backroom on L.A.'s*Pico Boulevard.* Interestingly, the barber-shop is still operating.The Lockheed Company built the first of their famous Vegas' in 1927 inside*a building currently used by Victory Cleaners at 1040 Sycamore in Hollywood.In 1922, Claude Ryan, a 24 year old military reserve pilot, was getting his hair cut in San Diego, when the barber mentioned that the 'town's aviator' was in jail for smuggling Chinese illegals up from Mexico. Claude found out that if he replaced the pilot 'sitting in the pokey,' that he would be able to lease the town's airfield for $50 a month -*BUT he also needed to agree to fly North and East*- BUT not South!Northrop's original location was an obscure So California hotel. It was available because the police had raided the hotel and found that its steady residents were money-minded gals entertaining transitory male hotel guests.Glenn Martin built his first airplane in a vacant church, before he moved to a vacant apricot cannery in Santa Ana. He was a showman and he traveled the county fair and air meet circuit as an exhibitionist aviator* >From his exhibition proceeds, Glenn was able to pay his factory workers and purchase the necessary wood, linen and wire.* His mother, Minta and two men ran the factory while Glenn risked his neck and gadded about the country. One of his workers was 22-year old Donald Douglas [who WAS the entire engineering department]. A Santa Monica youngster named Larry Bell [later founded Bell Aircraft] ran the shop.Another part of Glenn Martin's business was a flying school with several planes based at Griffith Park, and a seaplane operation on the edge of Watts.* His instructors taught a rich young man named Bill Boeing to fly. Then,*Boeing bought one of Glenn Martin's seaplanes and had it shipped back to*his home in Seattle.* At the same time, Bill Boeing hired away Glenn's personal mechanic.* Later, after Boeing's seaplane crashed in Puget Sound, he placed an order to Martin for replacement parts.Still chafing from having his best mechanic 'swiped,' [a trick he later*often used himself] Martin decided to take his sweet time and allowed Bill Boeing to 'stew' for a while. Bill Boeing wasn't one to 'stew' and he began fabricating his own aircraft parts, an activity that morphed into constructing entire airplanes.A former small shipyard nicknamed 'Red Barn' became Boeing Aircraft's first home.* Soon, a couple of airplanes were being built inside,*each of them having a remarkable resemblance to Glenn Martin's airplanes*�. That, interestingly, had its own remarkable resemblance to Glenn Curtiss' airplanes.A few years later, when the Great depression intervened and Boeing couldn't sell enough*airplanes to pay his bills, he diversified into custom built speed boats and furniture for his wealthy friends.After WWI, a bunch of sharpies from Wall Street gained control of the Wright Brothers Co in Dayton and the Martin Company in L.A. And 'stuck them' together as the Wright-Martin Company. Wright-Martin began building an obsolete biplane design with a foreign Hispano-Suiza engine.**Angered because he had been out maneuvered with a*bad idea, Martin walked out �. Taking Larry Bell and key employees with him.From the deep wallet of a wealthy baseball mogul, Martin was able to establish a new factory. Then his good luck continued, when the future aviation legend Donald Douglas, who Glenn persuaded to join his team.**Martin MB-1. Quickly emerging from the team's efforts was the Martin Bomber.Although too late to enter WWI, the Martin bomber showed its superiority when Billy Mitchell made everyone mad at him by sinking several captured German battleships and cruisers.*In Cleveland, a young fellow called 'Dutch' Kindelberger joined Martin as*an engineer.**Later, as the leader of North American Aviation, Dutch became justifiably well-known.Flashing back to 1920, Donald Douglas had saved $60,000, returned to L.A. And rented a barbershop's rear room and loft space in a carpenter's shop nearby. There he constructed a classic passenger airplane called the Douglas Cloudster.A couple of years later, Claude Ryan bought the Cloudster and used it to*make daily flights between San Diego and Los Angeles. This gave Ryan the distinction of being the first owner/operator of Douglas transports. Claude*Ryan later custom built Charles Lindbergh's 'ride' to fame in the flying*fuel tank christened: The Spirit of St. Louis.In 1922, Donald Douglas won a contract from the Navy to build several torpedo carrying aircraft. While driving through Santa Monica's wilderness, Douglas noticed an abandoned, barn-like movie studio. He stopped his roadster and prowled around. That abandoned studio became Douglas Aircraft's first*real factory.With the $120,000 contract in his hand, Donald Douglas could afford to hire one or two more engineers. My brother Gordon Scott had been schooled in the little known science of aviation at England's Fairey Aviation, so he hired Gordon.My first association with the early aviation pioneers occurred when I paid*my brother a visit at his new work place. Gordon was outside on a ladder washing windows. He was the youngest engineer. Windows were dirty. And*Douglas Aircraft Company had no money to pay janitors.Gordon introduced me to a towhead guy called Jack Northrop, and another chap named Jerry Vultee.* Jack Northrop had moved over from Lockheed Aircraft. And all of them worked together on the Douglas Aircraft's world cruiser designs. While working in his home after work and on weekends, Jack designed a wonderfully advanced streamlined airplane. When Allan Loughead [Lock-heed] found a wealthy investor willing to finance Northrop's new airplane, he linked up with Allan.* Together, they leased a Hollywood workshop and constructed the Lockheed Vega. It was sensational with its clean lines and high performance. Soon Amelia Earhart and others flew the Vega and broke many of aviation's world records.*I had the distinct pleasure of spending time with Ed Heinemann who later designed the AD, A3D and A4D.* He told me how my Dad would fly out to Palmdale with an experimental aircraft they were both working on. They would fly it around for a few hops and come up with some fixes. After having airframe changes fabricated in*a nearby machine shop, they would hop it again to see if they had gotten the desired results. If it worked out, Mr. Heinemann would institute the changes on the aircraft's factory assembly line. No money swapped hands!*In May 1927, Lindbergh flew to Paris and triggered a bedlam where everyone*was trying to fly everywhere. Before the first Lockheed Vega was built, William Randolph Hearst had already paid for it and had it entered in an air race from the California Coast to Honolulu. In June 1927, my brother Gordon left Douglas Aircraft to become Jack Northrop's assistant at Lockheed. While there, he managed to get himself*hired as the navigator on Hearst's Vega. The race was a disaster and ten lives were lost. The Vega and my brother vanished. A black cloud hung heavily over the little shop. However, Hubert Wilkins, later to become Sir Hubert Wilkins, took Vega #2 and made a successful polar flight from Alaska to Norway. A string of successful flights after that placed Lockheed in aviation's forefront. I went to work for Lockheed as it 26th employee shortly after the disaster and I worked on the Vega It was made almost entirely of wood and*I quickly become a half-assed carpenter.At this time, General Motors had acquired North American consisting of Fokker Aircraft, Pitcairn Aviation [later Eastern Airlines] and Sperry Gyroscope and hired Dutch Kindelberger away from Douglas to run it Dutch moved the entire operation to L.A. where Dutch and his engineers came up with the*P-51 Mustang.Interestingly, just a handful of young men played roles affecting the lives of all Americans ..... as it initiated the So California metamorphosis, from a semi-desert with orange groves and celluloid, into a dynamic complex, supporting millions.Although this technological explosion had startling humble beginnings, taking root as acorns in -*a barber shop's back room - a vacant church - and an abandoned cannery - but came to fruition as mighty oaks.Source:* Denham S. Scott, North American Aviation Retirees' Bulletin
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Old 04-11-2009, 01:32 PM   #2
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RE: Avation History

What did he say??????
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:00 PM   #3
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Avation History

FF---- Your interpretation of Boeing's early history is interesting reading but largely inaccurate. I know this because I've read most of the stuff in the Boeing archive about how the company got its start including Bill Boeing['s own writings as I've had to describe Boeing's early history for a number of company projects plus two books of my own.

Bill Boeing got into airplane manufacturing because he and Conrad Westervelt, a naval engineer who was a friend of Boeing's, took rides in an early Glenn Curtiss seaplane on Lake Washington on the 4th of July, 1914. The plane's owner and pilot was Terah Maroney, and after the flights Westervelt did some structural calculations and found out Maroney's plane was barely strong enough to hold itself together. Boeing, who had become interested in aviation during an airshow he attended in California in 1910 suggested that he and Westervelt could probably build a better plane. Westervelt agreed and he designed the plane, patterning it largely after the Martin floatplane Boeing had bought for a flying club he had started.

Meanwhile, Boeing, who was a very wealthy fellow from his family's (and his own) ventures in mining and timber, decided he wanted a yacht. One of the best yacht builders in Seattle at that time was a fellow named Ed Heath. Heath's shipyard on the Duwamish Waterway*in*south*Seattle*included a large, barnlike building painted red with big white letters spelling out the name of the shipyard on it. So Boeing hired Heath to construct his new yacht, to be named the "Taconite" after the mineral that had brought the Boeing family much of its wealth. Unfortunately, Heath was the kind of guy who put more into his boats than he charged for. So he went bankrupt. Boeing wanted his yacht finished, so he bought the Heath Shipyard for $1 and all the company's debt.

WWI had just gotten underway and Boeing felt that aviation had a strong future, particularly in the miltary. When in 1915 Boeing and Westervelt decided to actually build the plane Westervelt had designed, they need a place to build it, and the Heath Shipyard, now owned by Boeing, seemed the logical place.

So the first two planes, officially named "Mallard" and "Bluebill," were constructed by a small group of craftsmen that Boeing and Westervelt put together, primarily shipwrights who worked for Ed Heath. Ed, who was still running the boatyard, designed and built the wooden floats himself. The two planes were unofficially called "B & W's" for "Boeing & Westervelt."* Eventually as Boeing's airplane venture actually turned into a company, "B & W" became the official model number of the first two planes. I suspect there are only a handful of people at Boeing today who know they were named "Mallard" and "Bluebill."

Boeing had acquired a floating boathouse on the northeast shore of Lake Union and as the major components of the B&Ws were completed they were taken down to the boathouse and assembled. Boeing eventually had the boathouse modified into a three-bay hangar with a big ramp across the front. This hangar held his flying club's Martin floatplane and the two B&Ws. The next planes The Boeing Co. made--- the Model C which was patterned somewhat after the B&W and were the company's first production airplane (for the Navy) and the B-1 flying boats were flight-tested from the Lake Union hangar.

The original name of The Boeing Company was Pacific Aero Products. As the company got into airplanes in a bigger way with the Model C', they continued to be built at the Heath Shipyard. The nickname "Red Barn" was not applied to the original building until many years later. And as the airplane business grew, the "barn" was soon surrounded and overshadowed by newer and larger engineering and assembly buildings. After a new and larger manufacturing facility was built next to the King County airport farther south, the buildings on the Heath Shipyard site became Boeing's Plant 1 while the new facility on King County Airport became Plant 2.

The most famous plane built at Plant 1 was the Boeing Model 314 Clipper. The most famous plane built at Plant 2 was the Boeing Model 299 (aka B-17). The B-47 and B-52 were also built at Plant 2.

The B-29 was built in Renton (and in other locations and by other companies) in a plant Boeing got from the Navy in exchange for a facility in another state. The Renton plant also built the 707 and KC-135. Two new buildings were put up next door to assemble the 727, 737, the Boeing hydrofoils,*and the*757. The original Renton B-29 assembly building still exists today and is where the wings for 737s are built. It also holds the new assembly line for the P-8 ASW plane.

After the seaplane era was over Plant 1 was used for special projects like missiles and such. Eventually it was closed. The Pacific Northwest Aviation Historical Society (or some such name) acquired the "Red Barn" and moved it by barge from its original Heath Shipyard/Boeing Plant 1 site up the Duwamish and then trucked it to a site on King County Airport (Boeing Field) where they planned to eventually build a museum. This is where it was when I hired into the company. It was sitting on cribbing, sagging, falling apart, (painted gray, not red) and generally derelict, sitting next to a B-47 in about the same condition.

Eventually, the Historical Society raised enough money to construct the first phase of the Museum of Flight, and the Red Barn was restored.

Boeing's first two planes, the B&Ws were sold to New Zealand where for many years they were used as trainers. The B&W hanging in the Museum of Flight in Seattle is actually an exact replica made to celebrate The Boeing Company's 50th anniversary by Clayton Scott, a longtime Boeing test pilot.

For many years, long after Pacific Aero Products was re-named The Boeing Airplane Company the white letters spelling out the name of Ed Heath's shipyard were still visible on the side of the shipyard building. Below is the most widely distributed photo of the building. Taken during WWI (hence the posed "guards" outside), you can see the shipyard name down the right side.* I believe they spell out "E. W. Heath Company" (or "Co.").

Incidentally, while The Boeing Co. did built boats, they were not built by "Boeing" but by "Boeing of Canada." They built powerboats and some beautiful sailing sloops. I've seen one of the sloops in Seattle and one of the powerboats on Lake Mahood in BC. The "real" Boeing (in Seattle) did build furniture for a very short time right after WWI*in an attempt to augment the bottom line when airplane contracts were lean.*

The boats and furniture were not built for any of Boeing's friends--- they were simply business ventures.** Long before the Great Depression came along, Boeing had branched out into far more than running The Boeing Airplane Company.* Through acquisitions and mergers, he had put together a huge aviation consortium called United Aircraft and Transport Company, which*consisted of United Airlines, Varney Airlines,*Pratt & Whitney, Stearman, Hamiton Standard, Chance Vought, Boeing Airplane Company, National Air Transport,*and dozens of other aviation-related companies.*

In 1934 UATC was broken up after government anti-trust hearings and Boeing sold all his shares in disgust.* He never had anything to do with The Boeing Company after that.* The only time he came back was for the rollout ceremony of the 367-80, the prototype for the KC-135 and (slightly wider) 707 airplanes.* Bill Boeing was 72.

Boeing used the "Taconite" that Ed Heath built for a number of years.* He later had a much more modern yacht built, the "Taconite II," which still exists and I believe is available for charter in Vancouver, BC.

More than any of you wanted to know, I'm sure, but if one is going to describe a historical event it's best if the description is historically accurate


-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of April 2009 11:35:09 AM
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Old 04-13-2009, 11:49 AM   #4
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RE: Avation History

There is a boat named Taconite moored at Van Isle Marina in Tsehum harbor. I don't recall that it is II though. It participates in the vessel traffic system so it's in the 70+ foot catagory. Any idea if it is possibly the Boeing boat?

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Old 04-13-2009, 12:50 PM   #5
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Avation History

Here is a shot of Bill Boeing's Taconite (II). Length is 125', hull planked with teak, launched in 1930.* I have seen this yacht moored*in Coal Harbor, Vancouver but that was a number of years ago. So it may well be based now at Van Isle. When I saw it the boat had its original name, "Taconite II," which is what prompted me to find out if it was Boeing's second yacht.***At some point since then someone dropped the "II" from the name. The website for the charter outfit that owns it today is http://taconiteclassicyachtcharters.com/index.html *.



-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of April 2009 01:06:55 PM
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:23 PM   #6
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Avation History

Here are the only pictures of Bill Boeing's original yacht "Taconite," the one Ed Heath built, that I coudl find on the web. In the first shot, it's not the utility boat on the right but the larger yacht partially hidden behind the Boeing B-1 flying boat. The second shot is of the whole boat.* There are some nice shots of both "Taconites" in the Boeing archives.



-- Edited by Marin on Monday 13th of April 2009 01:25:18 PM
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Old 04-14-2009, 06:14 PM   #7
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To give credit where credit is due, the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field in Seattle is actually not a Boeing museum. Other than donating money through corporate and employee fund drives when the museum was getting started, Boeing has no official role in the museum or its management at all. Boeing has made archival material available to them, of course, and our department has produced video material for the museum from time to time at Boeing's expense. But the Museum is an independent, non-profit organization.

Boeing has provided some aircraft to the museum over time. RA001, the prototype 747, was an engine testbed when I hired into the company. Boeing gave (I assume) it to the museum although we leased it back a few times. The Boeing Model 80A trimotor in the museum was restored by Boeing employees, as was the still-flyable Boeing Model 247 in United Airlines colors.

Of course the real gems, the Dash-80 and the only remaining Model 307 Stratoliner belong to the National Air & Space Museum. The Stratoliner was restored by Boeing employees---- twice. After its first restoration it ran out of fuel on a demo flight due to a crew miscalculation and was ditched in Elliot Bay across from downtown Seattle. So the plane was restored a second time by Boeing employees and if anything, the second restoration was even better than the first one.

-- Edited by Marin on Tuesday 14th of April 2009 06:15:11 PM
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:30 AM   #8
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RE: Avation History

The museum at Boeing is a fascinating place to visit.

True , BUT the surplus sales is far more useful to a good scrounge.

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Old 04-15-2009, 08:23 AM   #9
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RE: Avation History

I seem to remember that they closed the Auburn store and are mail order only. Have you been there lately? It used to be a great place to browse for items you might find a use for someday. If they're still open I just might have to take a roadtrip......
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:34 AM   #10
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RE: Avation History

Quote:
2bucks wrote:

I seem to remember that they closed the Auburn store and are mail order only.
Aargghhhhh ... say it isn't so! What other reason could a human have for driving down into that valley? what great memories of walking around that place inside and out for hours. In the good old days you could find an F-86 canopy and a valveless pulsejet just sitting there for the taking, not to mention the best supply of hardware on the planet.

Times change though. I was just up in Lock Haven to pick up an airplane and got a great tour of the Piper Museum and had some great chats with the locals who also saw the passing of an era.

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Old 04-15-2009, 10:22 AM   #11
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RE: Avation History

The Boeing surplus store is long, long gone. The company contracts directly with vendors to haul stuff away. Plus we're trying real hard these days not to have anything to throw out.
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Old 04-15-2009, 05:00 PM   #12
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RE: Avation History

You guys will probably love this place!
http://www.blackholesurplus.com/

From their site:
"The Black Hole of Los Alamos, a recycler of "nuclear waste," has the world's most diverse stock of used scientific equipment, electronics, lab supplies, nuclear by-products, surplus items and materials. We have over 17,000 square feet of pre-owned test equipment and laboratory supplies. The Black Hole has provided materials to over 500 Universities and Research Institutions around the world as well as technical props for 4 major motion pictures."
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:33 PM   #13
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RE: Avation History

I've been told that the main sets of the original Star Trek TV series were constructed largely of components obtained from Boeing surplus.
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