Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hawley Bowlus, engineer and designer of Airstream and Bowlus trailers, also did pioneer work on gliders

1 comment:

  1. William Hawley Bowlus was a designer, engineer and aircraft builder (both powered planes and gliders). He worked for Ryan Aircraft as the Superintendent of Construction on Charles Lindbergh's plane "the Spirit of St. Louis". Hawley Bowlus gave sailplane lessons to both Charles and Anne Lindbergh.

    Bowlus could be called the father of Airstream travel trailers. He built the first lightweight, aluminum skin travel trailers in the 1930s by applying aircraft construction techniques. When Bowlus' company went bankrupt in 1936, Wally Byam purchased some of his equipment and hired a number of his employees and redesigned Bowlus' trailer into the "Airstream Clipper".

    In the 3rd picture above (showing the museum write-up) the photo at the bottom shows a modern ultralight sailplane called a "Super Floater" taking off over the cliff at the Torrey Pines gliderport. To qualify as an ultralight glider it must weigh less than 155 pounds. Here is a link to a Vimeo video of a Super Floater being flown by several people outside Tehachapi.

    The video is about 10 minutes long but it gives a really good idea of what soaring is really like. I think the Super Floater qualifies for you blog because it has a wheel (just one) and it's really cool.