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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Tri-Motor: When Ford put the world on wings

Every car enthusiast knows that the Tin Lizzie put the world on wheels. Ford sold over 15 million Model Ts between 1908 and 1927, a volume topped only by VW's Beetle. The 1932 Model 18 successor to the T is equally revered for delivering speed to showrooms. Ford's new flathead V-8 armed working stiffs with 65 horsepower, enough to middle-finger Chevies and Plymouths of the day.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/tri-motor-when-ford-put-the-world-on-wings/
55 REPLIES 55
GreggOhio
Pit Crew

I had the opportunity to take a ride in a Trimotor in Port Clinton, Ohio a few years ago and the feeling was very different from any aircraft I’ve ever been in - more like an elevator! Particularly impressed by the blue Ford logo in the center of the pilot’s yoke!
One correction concerning the airship USS Shenandoah that crashed in southeastern Ohio. The article said that all but one of the 41 passengers were killed. Fourteen crew members were killed in the disaster, but there were 29 crew members throughout the dirigible that survived. A few of the survivors were later killed in the crash of the USS Akron and a couple also survived in the crash of the USS Macon. I often pass by the crash site seen from I-77. I live near Akron Ohio where the Goodyear Airdock is located and where the Akron and Macon were built. Several years ago, I watched a Goodyear blimp fly into the Airdock and make a U-turn and exit!
rjracin240
Pit Crew

As a kid in high school in San Jose California, I was blessed to go to a school that had a Aviation class taught by Sherman Gillespie a WWII B-17 Pilot. What a great person and teacher. He would talk about the Watsonville Fly-In and the Ford Trimotor that would attend. My friend Terry Curry who was also in the class and a fellow 510 enthusiast would go to the airshow of course in a 510 enjoying the hilly twisty roads to and from the airport and then enjoy the show. Was pretty impressive watching that old Trimotor doing some aerobatics such as a stall and recovery.
Thanks for the memories this morning as I read your fine article.
brb
Instructor

Great article and bit of history. The tri-motor and flivver on display at The Henry Ford in Detroit are worth a look.
SJ
Technician

Good job, very interesting.
jaysalserVW
Advanced Driver

Excellent Article! I thoroughly enjoyed learning a lot of aviation history n a short amount of time!
ScaryLarryPants
Instructor

There used to be a Tri-Motor that was owned by the Evergreen Aviation Museum several years ago, but it was eventually sold to another museum. 

It's the closest I ever got to a Tri-Motor, and my issue with that plane is...I'd never fit in the damn thing, lol. I'm six-foot-one, and proportioned like Shrek...and the seats look like it was a plane built for children...and I was allowed to try to climb in and get into a seat...I couldn't get my hips jammed into a seat, it wasn't a 'fat' issue, my frame was simply too wide and tall for any of the seats. 

It was almost as bad as a flight on a B-17 bomber, and I nearly got stuck in the bomb spar passage, having to lift and bounce to get through that part of the plane.