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MAULE Belford David
Birth:          4 Nov 1911 Pleasant Twp., Seneca Co., Ohio
Death:          2 Sep 1995 Colquitt Co., Ga.
Cause of Death: calcified heart valve

1981 book:
	Belford manufactures aircraft. Maule Aircraft, in Moultrie, Ga., specializes in 
short takeoff and landing aircraft. B. D. designed and flew the first successful 
flapping-wing aircraft, was a mechanic and motor engineer on dirigibles in the Army Air 
Corps. From 1932 through 1940, he was an engineer with Lycoming Motors. He 
established Maule Aircraft in Jackson, Mich., in 1940, and moved it to Moultrie, Ga., 
in 1968. B. D. invented a tail wheel for steering light airplanes.
Source: Shirley Hendrixson (1EE11122); Lew Maule (1EE1111)
Atlanta Journal (17 Dec 1995), p 14A
Shirley Maule Hendrixson
1920 in Adams Twp., Seneca Co., Ohio
1930 in Adams Twp., Seneca Co., Ohio student aviation school
Ga Deaths on
Maule Air,  
Maule Taildragger 
Incorporated, based in Moultrie, is a family-owned aircraft manufacturing company that 
produces single-engine, four-place STOL (Short Takeoff Or Landing) aircraft. Founded 
in 1941, Maule Air is the oldest of the few small aircraft manufacturers in Georgia. The 
STOL abilities of the Maule series have proven useful in terrain ranging from Canadian 
lakes to the Alaskan bush to the dense jungles of Brazil. 

Founded by Belford David "B. D." Maule and his wife, June, the company was initially 
named the B. D. Maule Company. B. D. died in 1995 and was succeeded by June, 
who continued to serve as president in 2005 at the age of eighty-eight. Today, Maule 
Air employs eighty people, including many of the Maules' children and grandchildren. 

B. D. Maule  
B. D. Maule 
discovered a talent for things mechanical early in his career. In 1929, at the age of 
eighteen, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 19th Airship Company at 
Langley Field, Virginia. When he wasn't working on dirigibles for the army, Maule 
found time to build his first airplane: a single-seat, midwing monoplane powered by a 
Henderson 27 HP motorcycle engine. He called it the "M-1" and taught himself to fly 
in it. After his service with the army, Maule married and went to work for Lycoming 
Aircraft Engines, a major manufacturer of general aviation piston engines in 
Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

In 1939, while still working at Lycoming, Maule designed and built the "Hummer," a 
low-cost self-starter for light aircraft. In 1940 he moved his family to Jackson, 
Michigan, and with Art Knapp formed the Mechanical Products Company (MPC) to 
manufacture the Hummer starter. MPC grew rapidly, and in 1941 Maule left to start the 
B. D. Maule Company, which produced subcontractor parts and light aircraft tailwheels 
that he had designed. As the United States drew closer to involvement in World War II 
(1941-45), demand for starters diminished and the need for tailwheels and 
subcontractor parts increased. Although it has been improved over the years, the 
steerable, full-swiveling tailwheel is still in production today. 

Throughout his life, Maule was a dedicated engineer and designer. Among his 
innovations were specialty television antennas, towers and rotator parts, and a 
nondestructive fabric tester approved and still utilized by the Federal Aviation 
Administration (FAA). During the latter part of the war years,  
Maule M-4-180V 
Maule designed and experimented with a manpowered glider known as the 
"ornithopter," which featured flapping wings. 

Maule completed the design for the first of the current line of Maule airplanes in 1956. 
The aircraft was rugged and reliable and evolved into a high-wing monoplane 
taildragger with a welded steel tube truss fuselage, metal spar wing, STOL 
characteristics, and good range and speed. Testing for certification of what became 
the "M-4" began in 1957, with FAA Type certification following in 1961. 

The company name changed to Maule Aircraft Corporation in 1962. The fast-cruising 
M-4 was produced in the small company factory in Napoleon, Michigan. With its STOL 
capabilities, float and ski options, stability, ease of handling, roomy interior, and 
economical operation, the craft was a success with pilots internationally. 

In 1968,  
Maule Air 
due in large part to good flying weather and lower labor costs, Maule and his family 
moved the company to Spence Air Base, a former World War II training field in 
Moultrie. The M-4 had evolved from 145 horsepower with a fixed propeller to 220 
horsepower with a constant speed propeller. By the time of the move, Maule had 
delivered approximately 250 aircraft. New manufacturing buildings were constructed at 
Spence, along with a roomy lodge home, designed by Maule's wife, and Maule Lake, 
which accommodates float plane landings and takeoffs. 

As of 2006 the company had manufactured more than 2,300 airplanes. Maule Air 
produces twenty standard models of the STOL aircraft, eighteen with piston engines 
and two with turbine engines. In 2003 Maule Air introduced the M-9-230 at the 
Experimental Aircraft Association Oshkosh AirVenture and became the first U.S. 
aircraft original equipment manufacturer to utilize the SMA SR305 Jet A powered 
diesel engine. The M-9-230 serves as either a five-seat passenger plane or a two-seat 
cargo hauler. 

Because of their unique flight characteristics, Maule planes were chosen for use in 
three motion pictures: Cannonball Run (1981), Gone Fishin' (1997) , and Speed 2 

B.D. and June Maule were inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992 
and 1999, respectively.

B. D. Maule dies at 83
Belford D. Maule, founder and owner of Maule Air Inc., in Moultrie, Georgia, died 
September 2 after a brief illness.
Maule's career in aviation began with a correspondence course in 1928. He joined the 
Army Air Corps when he was 18 and used his spare time to design a mid-wing 
monoplane powered by a motorcycle engine.
His plant, now located in Moultrie, was first established in Jackson, Michigan, in 1941. 
He moved the company to Georgia in 1968. Over the years he developed a line of 
tailwheel, tri-gear, and seaplane aircraft powered by piston and turboprop engines. 
They are in use all over the world, primarily in utility roles, but also as military trainers.
Maule, born in Old Fort, Ohio, on November 4, 1911, was a member of the OX-5 Hall 
of Fame and the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame; he was inducted into the Georgia 
Aviation Hall of Fame in 1992.
He is survived by his wife, June Aderhold Maule, whom he married in 1934; three 
sons, Raymond, David, and Gary; and two daughters, Shirley and Janet, all of 
3 Sep 1995


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B.D. Maule in his youth
(click to enlarge)

In the beginning…
Belford D. Maule, or "B.D.", as everyone knew him, was born November 4, 1911 in 
Old Fort, Ohio to farming parents. Not caring much for farm life, he left at the age of 
15 to live in Salladasburg, PA. with an uncle and aunt who owned a garage and tea 
room. There he demonstrated his mechanical ability by building a tractor, and by 
motorizing an ice cream freezer and an ice saw, among other things.

B.D. joined the Army when he was 18 and was assigned to the 19th Airship Company 
at Langley Field, Virginia. While working on dirigibles, he found time to


Click here to see Maule M-1 images from the 1930’s
design and build his first airplane, a single seat midwing monoplane powered by a 
Henderson 27 HP motorcycle engine, known as the M-1. Starting with the airplane on 
floats, and later on wheels at the Salladasburg farm, B.D. taught himself to fly. 
(Regulations weren't as strict in those days.)

Following his stint in the Army, B.D. moved back to Pennsylvania and became a family 
man, marrying June Aderhold in 1934. June and B.D. located in Jersey Shore, 
Pennsylvania and built their own home there in 1936. Note that Jersey Shore is not 
only June's birthplace but is also midway between Lock Haven (Piper Aircraft) and 
Williamsport (Lycoming Aircraft Engines). This was an area in keeping with B.D.'s 
interest in aviation. B.D. went to work for Lycoming, and in 1939 designed and built 
"the Hummer", a low cost mechanical starter for light aircraft. (Many airplanes did not 
have electrical systems back then.)

The War Years…
In 1940, the Maule family moved to Jackson, Michigan. Mechanical Products Company 
was formed to manufacture the Hummer starter (Piper and the Continental Engine 
Company had shown an interest). In 1941 the B.D. Maule Company was formed in 
Napoleon, Michigan to build a light aircraft tailwheel which B.D. had designed. The 
steerable, full-swiveling tailwheel, is still being manufactured by Maule, in an improved 
form. With the advent of World War II, the starter business waned, and tailwheels 
were in demand as well as subcontract work to support the war effort.

As a diversion during the latter part of the war, B.D. designed a man-powered glider 
with flapping wings, known as an ornithopter. He claims to be the first (and is probably 
the last) person to have successfully flown such a device.

The Post-War Years…
In 1946, B.D. and June purchased a farm near Napoleon, Michigan. With the help of 
their two oldest children, they converted it to an airport. In the process, they had the 
dubious honor of leveling a dog race track which had been operated by Al Capone. 
The airport flourished, being used for flight training during the initial post-war aviation 

MAULE Charles Lleuellah (11 May 1887 - 1 Oct 1953)
BELFORD Florence Jennie (28 Mar 1883 - 8 Nov 1957)

MAULE Lleuellah Richard ("Lew") (24 Mar 1910 - 6 Sep 1997)
MAULE Belford David (4 Nov 1911 - 2 Sep 1995)
MAULE Harry William (19 Jan 1913 - 8 Jan 1996)
MAULE Eldon Charles (23 Apr 1915 - 26 Jan 1992)

Marriage To ADERHOLD June DeEtta (1 Feb 1918 - 29 Oct 2009) m. 15 Mar 1934 Pa. Notes Children by ADERHOLD June DeEtta 1 Feb 1918 - 29 Oct 2009
MAULE Raymond Kenneth (24 Oct 1934 - 7 Jan 2018) MAULE Shirley Mae () MAULE Janet Elaine (24 Oct 1941 - 29 May 2003) MAULE Gary Dean (11 Dec 1951 - 29 Oct 2009) MAULE David Lee ()
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