Photo # 14
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
airborne mail facts can be found in the book.
of Richard E. Johnson