William Bushnell Stout: Early Military Aircraft

Stout Batwing under construction in a Motor Products Corporation plant, 1918.

Stout Batwing under construction in a Motor Products Corporation plant, 1918.

William Bushnell Stout was one of the most pioneering automotive and aviation designers of the early twentieth century. He was Chief Engineer for the Scripps-Booth Automobile Company beginning in 1914 and several years later joined the Packard Motor Car Company as its General Sales Manager. Stout became Packard’s Chief Engineer of its aviation division when the division was created in 1916, which led to some of his earliest notable aviation developments.
While still with Packard, Stout was appointed as an advisor to the Aircraft Production Board which awarded him a contract to build the Stout Batwing. The aircraft, funded by the Motor Products Corporation, was designed as a blended wing body aircraft, which is a type of aircraft with no distinct fuselage. One prototype was built and flown, but the project was abandoned due to poor visibility.

William Bushnell Stout in the cockpit of a Stout ST-1, 1922.

William Bushnell Stout in the cockpit of a Stout ST-1, 1922.

Several years later, Stout built another military prototype, the metal Stout ST-1 twin-engine torpedo bomber. The prototype was first flown by pilot Eddie Stinson. The prototype crashed in 1922, which led to the US Navy canceling all orders of the aircraft.

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