Fletcher Aircraft Corp
Fletcher Aviation Corporation was an aircraft manufacturer founded by three brothers, Wendell, Frank, Maurice Fletcher, in Pasadena, California in 1941, developing FBT-2 trainer and CQ-1A two-seat target-control aircraft. The initial aim of the company was to produce a wooden basic trainer aircraft (the FBT-2) that Wendell had designed, but despite brief interest by the Army in the type to use as a target drone, nothing came of this aircraft. FL-23 two-seat observation/liaison aircraft built for 1950 USAF competition, followed in 1953 by FD-25 Defender light ground-support aircraft. After relocating to Rosemead, California, later projects involved a family of related designs, including (the 1954 FU-24) with 296 produced in New Zealand as an agricultural aircraft with many still operating today.
During the Korean War the company purchased Rosemead Airport from Bob and Jack Heasley. The roughly triangular property is located south of the 10 freeway, although the airport pre-dates the freeway. The property extended from Rosemead Boulevard on the west to the Rio Hondo river basin on the south and east.
In 1953, the same year the FU-24 debuted, they also produced a prototype amphibious vehicle known as the Fletcher Flair. The vehicle was powered by a 4-cylinder Porsche 356 drivetrain, modified to make it a four-wheel drive. The company hoped to sell the vehicle to the US Army but the vehicle performed poorly in the water and the Army passed.
Purchased by AJ Industries, it changed its name to Flair Aviation in 1960, and produced aircraft fuelling equipment, including drop tanks and hose reels for inflight refuelling. Moved to El Monte, California, its name was changed back to Fletcher and then Sargent Fletcher in 1964 before abandoning aircraft manufacturing in 1966. Manufacturing and sales rights for FU-24 series sold to Air Parts (NZ) Ltd. in 1964.