Tony Stadlman
Tony Stadlman
1958 - EB Meeting at Fowler's
San Jose, California
1976 - Gazing at a picture of
"Winnie Mae", Lockheed Vega
he built for Wiley Post
Courtesy of Smithsonian

Tony Stadlman & Bud Morriss
THIS is an authentic photograph taken in Grand Rapids, 1915 of P. G. B. (Bud) Morriss at the Controls of his Benoist Flying Boat, accompanied by his Chief mechanician, Tony Stadlman, who later became Superintendent of the Lockheed Airplane Company in Burbank.
Contributed by Susanne Ohmes, 1-25-11

       In September 1982, shortly before the reunion in San Francisco we lost our dear Tony Stadlman at the age of 96, and I couldn't help recalling how he always said, "You wait till you come to my home ground - we'll really show you a good time. " Well, we certainly enjoyed it, when we got there.
     Tony came to the United States from Kourim, Bohemia, Czechslovakia in September 1905 and brought us a wealth of knowledge and know-how. He was educated in Prague and had acquired mechanical skills in his Uncle's blacksmith shop. Although he excelled in gymnastics, he often told me how his family was very musical and they secretly had hopes that Tony would lean that way.
     At the time, he had a passable speaking knowledge of the English language and was able to get a job in an engine room at a hotel in Chicago. He next lost his savings to the Chicago School of Aviation, which proved to be a bad deal. However, he was not thwarted, Sam Dixon, an automobile dealer turned aeroplane builder, took him on and Tony was off and running.
     For the rest of his life, he was committed to aviation in every shape and form. Allan Lockheed and he teamed up here. Lockheed as an instructor and exhibition flyer and Stadlman in charge of shop and construction. From then there was no stopping this combination. The famous Lockheed Aircraft Co. was formed in 1927, but had previously been operating as Loughead Aircraft Mfg. with Tony as superintendent of manufacturing.
     He was partially responsible for the Wooden Molded Monocoque Fuselage Process along with Allan and Malcolm Loughead and Jack Northrup. The Lockheed Vega was an offspring of this design. Wiley Post, Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh were privileged to fly some of these.
     Not enough can be written about that fabulous Vega; the "Revolution in the Sky" it was dubbed and broke many records in the early 20's. The "Yankee Doodle" in its transcontinental flight, the "Winnie Mae" and the streamlined body of the little red Vega Amelia gained fame in.
     What a wonderful philosopher Tony could be - not lacking in a sense of humor. I recall him saying to me one time, after he read a book I'd written, "You know you made a mistake in your book about the time I fell out of a fruit tree and hurt my arm. It was an apple tree - not a peach tree." Whereupon I replied, "Now, Tony, you know a peach tree could never fall out of an apple tree." He just grinned and said, "Oh Boy!"
     There are many writeups about Anthony Stadlman. It is impossible to cover his life and works without writing a book. But to sum him up - he was truly a peach.
This from The EARLY BIRDS CHIRP, March, 1986, Number 87


Tony Stadlman
  The upper photo show the Howell flying boat designed and built by Tony Stadlman, Chicago, 1913.
Left to Right are Stadlman, Leroy Howell and Ed Jaeger.
Tony Stadlman
  Above is the wreckage of the Stadlman plane after his dive into Lake Michigan off Clarendon Beach before the eyes of thousands of people on shore. His buddies came to his rescue in another flying boat.  
       One of the many episodes in the eventful early aviation years of Anthony Stadlman was his crash into Lake Michigan and his rescue by another EB, Jack Vilas. This was back in June, 1914.
     Stadlman, Vilas and some other fliers were making frequent flights out of Chicago at the time, and Stadlman was testing a plane which he expected to use for passenger flights over the lake. Taking off from the water in his hydroplane in the sight of thousands on Chicago's north shore beaches, he skimmed over the lake, rose higher into the air, circled, and suddenly plunged into the water to the horror of the onlookers. Immediately launches and motor boats took off for the scene, but Jack Vilas and C. M. Voight who had been watching from the hangar, took to Jack's airboat and beat them to Tony's rescue. They landed on the water nearby and were able to extricate Tony from the wires of the plane and took him ashore, injured but not seriously.
     That episode caught the headlines or the nation's newspapers and they told the story in dramatic fashion.
     Stadlman started designing and building planes back in 1911, and he did considerable experimental work in seaplanes. He was one of the founders of Lockheed, and among other things he helped produce the plane that Capt. George H. Wilkins used in the first continent-to-continent flight over the North Pole. Among his many possessions is a letter dated November 23, 1917 from the Aero Club of America in which they convey a resolution for his patriotic work.
This from The EARLY BIRDS CHIRP, April, 1958, Number 59

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