Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Maiden Detroit... clever name, with an interesting and notable story

See, they were racing boats before they were making airplanes, and with the customary way of calling ships and planes in the female vernacular, but having to come up with a new way of doing that since Gar Wood had already named his racing boat Miss Detroit, it was only possible to call the Stout Metal Aeroplane Co airplane with a Liberty Engine airplanes "Maiden" as it was a clever pun for the city it was manufactured in as well as a female term.

Photo and info from

A good story about the pioneers of airplanes involving the Maiden Detroit:
 It was a great day when we first took the plane out to Selfridge for its trial flights. The new field al Ford's was not ready yet. It was early spring and ice was still on the lake. Walter Lees was the test pilot. He took off against a light wind and headed out across the lake. Then, something happened. A couple of dips and down he came, landing on the ice which was fortunately thick enough to hold.
     It took us ten minutes to run out to where the ship stood on the ice and find what was the matter. Walter was furious.
     The windshield had blown in against his control wheel and he had to push the celluloid back in place with his foot before he could free the controls to land. Windshields, from then on, were made much stronger.
     A few days later he took off again---this time over land.
     Frost in the carburetor brought him down once more---in a swamp! All was safe, but the ship had to be taken apart to get it out on dry land again.

Ford later bought the Stout Metal Aeroplane company, and evolved the above into Tri Motor airplanes

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