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Photo # 14 -- This photo is from the album of Air Mail Pioneer Ernest A. Johnson who worked for the U.S. Air Mail Service from 1-21 to 4-24.  Can you identify the model of this plane?   E-mail to Air Mail Pioneers


Caption ID from Roy Nagi -- Ford-Stout 2-AT, which was refitted with a 500 hp Packard engine, went to the United States Post Office! The source for this is the aerofiles.com web site. This web site also mentions that the first fatal accident on a commercial airmail route was in a Ford-Stout 2-AT-2, on May 18, 1926. 


Caption ID from Robert Still -- Photo#14 is a stout designed ford 2-AT transport.  Aircraft was powered by 400hp Liberty engine. One was also built with a P&W wasp radial engine. 

Caption ID from Jim Campana -- This appears to be a Ford ( Stout ) 2-AT. There were 10 or 11 of these aircraft built between 1924 - 1925. All were grounded in 1928 due to structural weakness of the wings. The 2-AT was a forerunner of the Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT. I would refer you to William Larkins' book The Ford Tri-Motor 1926-1992, pages 16 & 17. If you have any questions please feel free to E-mail me at jimc994463@aol.com.


Caption ID from Daniel E. D. MacMurray -- III #4 is a Stout 2-AT "Pullman."  It was also called the "Air Sedan."  It was powered by a Liberty engine and built in late 1924.  It bore ATC number 87 and was the forerunner of the famous Ford Trimotor.  Stout, as I'm sure everyone is aware, was purchased by Ford who, in turn, attempted to use the company to build a flying version of the Tin Lizzie; the experiment failed and Henry Ford's interest ended when the small inexpensive aircraft crashed.


Caption ID from Dr. Orville E. Lanham -- Henry Ford was a real visionary for aviation. When he met with Charles Lindbergh, after the Lone Eagle's transatlantic flight, he said that future airplanes should be: Made of metal, not wood, multi-engined, and monoplanes. This was before the four engine Fokker , on which Knute Rockne was a passenger. The wing separated in flight due to the failure of the glues used to bond the ribs, and spars. The Fokker was mostly wood. Ford believed multi-engined planes would provide extra resources, as engines were very reliable. Also, monoplanes would not be subjected to the same icing conditions as biplanes, with the extra wings, struts, wires, etc.  Lindbergh, the technical advisor to TWA and Pennsylvania RR chose the trim motor of the Fokker for this lst transcontinental train/plane venture.  The Fokker was faster, but Lindbergh heeded Ford's advice. The TWA/PRR venture had five Ford Tri Motors.
         Ford also had it's own airline, and pioneered radio air navigation. The lst modern airport in America was in Dearborn, Mi., site of the Ford Museum. Runways were of concrete, and about 1 mile in length. It took that much runway for the lumbering Stouts to be airborne. Ford flew parts for Model T's from Dearborn to the Model T Assembly plant in Omaha, Nebraska.  Note, the Pullman had an open cockpit!
            Also, the plane used the Liberty engine, as there were so many produced during WWI, that engine development was retarded as there were plenty of engines. The V 12  water cooled Liberty produced about 400 horsepower. The ignition system as the familiar point, plugs, coil, and engine driven generator. They were beasts to start in cold mornings.


Caption ID: From the paperback book, "Tin Goose, The Fabulous Ford Trimotor" by Douglas J. Ingells with Ralph Dietrick in the Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan.On page 22 is a photo of five "Air Transports" on the ground with another flying overhead.  The number on the aeroplane rudder that is flying overhead is clearly marked "2."  It is the same font as the aeroplane in the mystery photo.  Other aeroplanes on the ground do not have their rudders visible.

The caption reads, "This fleet of (6) Ford single-engined "Air Transports" (the famous 2-AT series) flew over 1,000 trips between Detroit-Chicago-Cleveland during the first year of operations of the Ford Air Transport Service.  Most of these planes were later sold to Florida Airways, a predecessor company of today's Eastern Airlines.  (Ford Archives Photo.)

I'll bet that the aeroplane with #5 on its rudder (mystery photo #4) is in this picture, sitting in line on the ground.  Page 23 of the same paperback shows a front shot of an aeroplane (no visible number on the rudder) with the following caption: "Loading the first commercial air mail February 15, 1926.  Plane is 2-AT Ford/"Air Transport," and minutes later it took off for the inaugural Detroit-Chicago run.  (Ford Archives Photo.)

Many other airborne mail facts can be found in the book.  weiso3@hotmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Richard E. Johnson

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