Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I forgot to use these pictures after I came back from the Women in Aviation Conference in San Diego. My cousin and his family and I went to the Aviation museum there and I saw my first Ford Tri Motor close up.
Well, somewhat close up. It was mounted at the top of the room....
What I could see whas that this was obviously a flight control cable arrangement. How do I know? Because you can see the cables running from the cockpit back to the flight controls!
According to Wikipedia: All models had aluminum corrugated sheet metal body and wings. However, unlike many aircraft of this era, extending through World War II and later, the aircraft control surfaces were not fabric covered, but were of corrugated aluminum. As was common for the time, the rudder and elevator were controlled by wires that were strung along the external surface of the aircraft. Similarly, engine gauges were mounted externally, on the engines, to be read by the pilot looking through the windscreen.
The Ford Trimotor, nicknamed The Tin Goose, was an American three engine civil transport aircraft first produced in 1925 by Henry Ford and continued until June 7, 1933. Throughout its lifespan a total of about 200 aircraft were produced. It was popular with the military and was sold all over the world. Unlike his famous cars, trucks and farm tractors, Ford did not make the engines for these airplanes.
As of 2007, there are 18 Ford Tri-motors in existence, five of which are flyable: N1077, N414H, N8407, N9612 and N9651. Others are in museums. One such aircraft resides at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A second is located at the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. A third is at the San Diego Air and Space Museum. As mentioned above, the oldest flying Ford Trimotor is Greg Herrick's 1927 4AT-A, Serial No. 4, C-1077. It is based at Greg's Golden Wings Flying Museum  near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It is a beautiful airplane though, isn't it? It was flown by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart among many others; makes me reminisce for those romantic times...