Although the primary mission of CONTINENTAL INC was the design, testing,
and certifying of the AIRPHIBIAN for production and to create a market,
money was a serious problem and a hindrance to going forward at full
steam. In addition to the daily tasks, I also became deeply involved in
finding experimental money. Investment capital seemed non existent.
Previous funding for Bob came through his business with the SPECIAL
DEVICES SECTION OF THE US NAVY along with a long time friend and
acquaintance. However this source was limited. My wife Page, had a long
time friend, Jim Ryan (Thomas Fortune Ryan). He became interested since
he was a flyer and understood the problems that we faced. Jim became a
strong supporter and over the time he was involved he contributed about
1 million dollars.
However during this hunt for money we also looked for alternate sources
of funds. This effort was directed toward designing and producing commercial products.
First there was the CUP MASTER, a machine for making excellent quality
single cup, and then there was the BED MASTER, a super simple way of
quickly and easily making your bed every morning. Neither really went
Meanwhile the AIRPHIBIAN certification proceeded. Structural tests,
problem solving, component improvement, jigs and tooling for the parts,
etc, were started. We were in the air almost every day with continuous
testing daily to solve the auto and flying problems.
The FAA test program began in earnest. Step #1 was to get all the
engineering drawings current and submit them. Step 2 was to submit a
fabrication program that would permit proper duplication for the
production units. Jigs were made for the auto part and the fuselage. The
wings were farmed out to a fabricator in Saybrook, Conn. It was our plan
to build 5 production models while we build the prototype for the FAA
test program. Number 2 AIRPHIBIAN was considerably different in
appearance and weight as it had gone through the weight reduction
program. The primary appearance difference was in the landing gear and
wheel fairings as well as the engine cowling which gave it a longer
Lou Achitoff, who was our FAA test pilot, began coming up daily from NYC
and we launched into a comprehensive series of air tests. Rate of climb,
take off distance, stalls, landing, cross wind landings, etc. We
conducted the STRUCTURAL & STRAIN GAUGE TESTS in the shop.
The AIRPHIBIAN passed all tests without a hitch, and became the first
FAA approved automobile-airplane in the WORLD.
Frazer Dougherty - October
R Fulton and Wayne Dasher