This was one of those might-have-been airplanes designed by the Goodyear Company in the 1950s. The design was to provide for an inflatable rubber airplane that could be used for military purposes. As a rescue plane, it could be dropped behind enemy lines near downed pilots who would inflate the craft and fly to friendlier territory. It was ideally suited for both land and water uses.
Inflatable, rubber, monoplane. Powered by a single, two-stroke, 42-hp, Nelson engine mounted behind the pilot and above the wing after inflation.
Two-seat variant has a 60-hp McCulloch engine. Somewhat like a giant inner-tube. Structural integrity was retained in flight with forced air being continually circulated by the motor, and required less air pressure than the average auto tire.
The airplane was wheeled out like a wheelbarrow and inflated in about 5 minutes
The Inflatoplane carried a maximum weight of 240 lb., had a range of 390 mi., and an endurance of 6.5 hr.s. Its cruise speed was 60 mph. Take off distance on sod was 250 ft with 575 ft needed to clear a 50-foot obstacle. It landed in 350 ft on sod. Rate of climb was 550 ft per min. Its service ceiling was estimated at 10,000 ft.
Twelve Inflatoplanes were designed and built in less than twelve weeks. Development, testing, and evaluation of the inflatable airplane continued through 1972 and the project was cancelled in 1973. Goodyear donated two Inflatoplanes, one to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and one to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
The aircraft is in storage at the Garber Restoration Facility.
update March 2016, I just found that Breed of Speed also posted a much longer article about this aircraft http://www.breedofspeed.org/1/post/2016/02/could-you-just-imagine-riding-in-the-goodyear-inflatoplane-built-in-1956-with-the-idea-of-being-used-as-rescue-planes.html