Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Henry Ford had a Model T truck made from aluminum

Ford in 1925 initiated Ford Air Transport Service - the world's first regularly scheduled commercial cargo airline.

Ford Air Transport Service started with Stout 2-AT Pullman aircraft in 1925. Henry and Edsel Ford had a investment in Stout Engineering that became the Stout Metal Airplane Division of the Ford Motor Company later that year in August.

The first 2-AT was built at the Stout factory in Dearborn and called the "Maiden Detroit". The other aircraft in the fleet were also 2-AT's, named "Maiden Dearbon I, II, III and IV". Initially the aircraft were for Ford's company use. The first scheduled commercial flights in America were begun when The "Maiden Detroit" flew 1,000 lbs. of freight between factories in Detroit and Chicago on April 14, 1925. Ford Air Transport served routes between Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland.

The aircraft operated out of Ford Airport off of two grass runways with night lighting.

The safety and predicability of the first cargo flights were used to advantage in securing the first airmail contracts under the Kelly Act. The "Maiden Detroit" entered Contract Air Mail service on February 15, 1926 with Henry and Edsel Ford loading the first bag of mail. The aircraft flew from Detroit to Cleveland under fighter escort to become the first commercial transport of air mail.

In 1928 Ford sold the airmail routes to Stout who also was operating his own airline with Stout-Ford built aircraft. The last official flight was in 1932.
Photo from http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/showthread.php?t=428585 information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Air_Transport_Service

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