One of the most iconic aircraft ever built was the Ford Tri-Motor, designed by William Bushnell Stout and manufactured by Henry Ford. Between 1926 and 1933 a total of 199 Ford Tri-Motors were built, and by the end of its illustrious career more than 100 airlines around the world had flown the Ford Tri-Motor. Transcontinental Air Transport was created to provide coast to coast transportation, but it was neither non-stop nor all by air. The airline introduced the Ford Tri-Motor providing reliable and comfortable passenger service. Passengers began their trans-continental journey in New York, traveling by train to Port Columbus, Ohio. From there they would fly in a Ford Tri-Motor to Waynoka, Oklahoma where they would embark on another train to Clovis, New Mexico. In Clovis the passengers would once again board a Ford Tri-Motor for the final leg to Glendale, California, just North East of Los Angeles. Sounds like a tough trip, but for the time it was really quite an improvement both in speed and in comfort. For some time modern aircraft could be quickly boarded in New York and flown to Los Angeles non-stop, with passengers walking up to the counter, purchasing a ticket, and hoping onto the aircraft. Of course 9/11 changed all of that, and in a lot of ways we have returned to some of the drudgery of the early days of trans-continental travel by air. It seems appropriate, therefore, that rebuilding Ford Tri-Motors would happen here in Michigan - in fact, in Vicksburg, Michigan by my friend Maurice Hovious. Over the years he built a number of them, one of which is pictured below: My wife, not only a pilot but a professional photographer, took this picture at Maruice's Hov-Air facility in Vicksburg, Michigan on March 13, 2006. The workmanship and beauty of this aircraft can not be imagined, even in such a great photograph. Take a look at the wing spar for the airplane! Whatever else Stout did, he built a very sturdy aircraft in the Ford Tri-Motor! I would be most interested in anyone who has information, stories or anything interesting on the "Tin Goose". Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Fly it until the last piece stops moving. ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!
by John M. White •