Taylor Aerocar Manufacturing History
Although the first official flight of the Aerocar occurred on December 8, 1949, steady testing and design improvements were needed through early 1950 to make it safe and reliable enough for its first cross-country flight (Salem OR to Longview WA) which took place on August 29, 1950. By early 1951, the Aerocar was supported by 75 stockholders who held about 2100 shares. Molt was hopeful that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) might want to rent a small fleet of Aerocars for their work, or that the Army would consider flying automobiles for improved infantry mobility instead of dropping jeeps by parachute.
In April 1951, the Aerocar was taken to Fort Bragg, NC for an Army Field Forces evaluation. While 14 different officers tried out the Aerocar, the Army at that time was focusing most of its attention on the use of the helicopter for troop deployment. The Aerocar continued on its eastern tour to the Pentagon and New York City, followed by a west coast tour to Motorama in Los Angeles in early November. Thousands of people were excited to witness the Aerocar on these tours, during which Molt had at least 25 offers to purchase it. He concluded that he needed to build more Aerocars in order to continue the promotions.
Soon thereafter, Aerocar was officially incorporated, and Molt raised nearly three quarters of a million dollars through stock sales in order to finance certification testing and the construction of the demonstrator models. By May 1954, an improved production version of the Aerocar was turned over to the CAA for certification testing. Among several problems encountered, torsional vibration in the long propeller drive-shaft was the most difficult to solve. Eventually Molt heard about a French device, manufactured in the U.S. under the trade name Flexidyne. This device consisted of a round hollow casing filled with steel shot and a wavy steel plate attached to the output shaft. As the engine began to rotate the axle, the steel shot would pack in a centrifugal manner, gradually gripping the wavy plate more firmly and with less slip. Molt had the answer he was looking for. On December 14, 1956 he was presented with the official CAA Type Certificate approval.
Over the next four years Molt looked for a manufacturer. He approached all the aircraft and engine manufacturers in the United States, but cost estimates of the final delivery price per unit seemed excessive, so further negotiations were not pursued. Eventually, in 1961, a contract was signed between Aerocar International Corporation and Ling-Temco Electronics, Inc. However, a lack of clarity over use of the deposit funds, which were spent on advertising and publicity instead of tooling, led to a collapse of the entire venture. In spite of this blow, Molt never gave up looking for another manufacturer, and for the remaining 35 years of his life, he never lost his dream of seeing the skies full of Aerocars.