HISTORIC AIRPLANES: Ford
Nicknamed the "tin goose," the Ford
trimotor was cheered by airmail and passenger carriers alike.
Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford had obtained an early
airmail contract. In 1925 he won the contract to carry mail
from Chicago to Detroit and Cleveland aboard airplanes his company
already was using to transport spare parts for his automobile
produced the trimotor aircraft in 1927. One of the early all-metal
airplanes, the Ford trimotor was much more successful as a mail
carrier than the metal Juners-Larsen JL-6 aircraft had been
in 1920. The trimotor was made of a new material, duralumin,
which was almost as light as aluminum but twice as strong.
Ford's trimotor was the first airplane designed
primarily to carry passengers rather than mail. The aircraft
had 12 passenger seats and the cabin was heigh enough for
individuals to walk down without stooping. There was even
room for a "stewardess," or flight attendant, the
first of whom were nurses, hired by United Airlines in 1930
to serve meals and assist airsick passengers.
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