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Most of this information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.

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http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.

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FORD 4-AT-4 1102

Registration Number 1102

From Air Line to Museum

This airplane is a Ford 4-AT-A with an interesting history. The manufacturer’s serial number is 7. The Stout Metal Airplane Co. Division, Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, MI, manufactured it on July 21, 1927. It was sold on July 26, 1927 to Jack L. Maddux, 2100 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA (Lincoln Auto Agency), “To be used in near future on airline from Los Angeles to San Francisco and El Paso.” You may see an image of this airplane on this page. Another image of his Ford NC1102 is here, courtesy of the Cosgrove Collection. Another photograph is on the Jack Maddux page on this Web site.

It came from the factory weighing 8,188 pounds, with three 220 HP Wright Whirlwind J-5 engines, as follows (the table includes data on re-engine maintenance over the next two years):

  Left S/N Center S/N Right S/N
7/21/27 (New) 7543 7542 7561
3/17/28 8136 8137 7543
6/30/28 7542 8130 7561
8/23/29 9065 8338 9125


On October 18, 1927 the airplane was sold by Jack Maddux to his company, Maddux Air Lines, Inc., 2100 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA, which was to be organized October 27, 1927. The price was 500 shares of preferred stock in the company and 250 shares of common stock. The airplane was the first transport put in service on Maddux Air Lines and wore "#1" on the side of its fuselage. Below, from site visitor David Park, is a pass for E.M. Prescott allowing him on the first flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco. We know it was for NC1102, because it identifies "Plane #1."

Maddux Air Lines Pass, April 12, 1928 (Source: Park)
Maddux Air Lines Pass, April 12, 1928 (Source: Park)

The writing on the bottom describing the context of the flight was added in ball point pen, which would date the addition after 1946 or so when ball point technology reached the general market. Below, the reverse of this pass.

Maddux Air Lines Pass, Reverse, April 12, 1928 (Source: Park)
Maddux Air Lines Pass, Reverse, April 12, 1928 (Source: Park)

Mr. Park says about Mr. Prescott, "E.M. 'Ned' Prescott was a well-to-do lumberman in the Fresno area and up north. He was Pres. of the Fresno Masons for a few years, etc. He owned Valley Lumber and Prescott Lumber Companies, in Sanger. They had saw mills in the Sequoia Park /Hume Lake area, with (famous) wood flumes to Sanger. He was a developer of Fresno at the time and probably why he was on the flight. Maddux was good at using the rich to attract the rich!"

The Davis-Monthan transient Register lists two visits by this airplane, on September 15, 1928 and November 6, 1928. The pilot for the first visit was John Collings, with Mrs. Collings and H.L. Russell as passengers. Collings would later become operating head of TWA. The pilot for the second visit was Edward Bellande, carrying four unidentified passengers. Both flights were probably under the auspices of Maddux Air Lines (although Colling's flight might have been on behalf of the Ford Motor Company). The airplane was re-licensed and new or rebuilt engines installed twice from 1927 to 1929 (table above).

The aircraft was sold again on June 29, 1929 to Maddux Air Lines Company, 510 West Sixth St., Los Angeles, CA (note change of address). As of August 23, 1929 it was fully reconditioned and re-engined at the factory and brought up to the standard of newer Ford models. The “fuselage was strengthened, mail/passenger partition removed, etc.” Its gross weight was set at 9,300 pounds.

The airplane was sold again on April 21, 1931 to Transcontinental & Western Air, Inc., 100 West 10th St., Wilmington, DE (and Graybar Building, New York, NY). A letter from TWA states that, “ship is located permanently in Pennsylvania Station in New York City, and will not be operated as an aircraft.” The registration was cancelled when the airplane was placed on exhibit in Penn Station as of May 2, 1931.

Another letter on May 28, 1935 reported that the aircraft had been purchased by the Ford Motor Company for display in the Ford Museum. A letter of July 17, 1935 from Ford confirmed the transfer from New York to Dearborn, but states that the airplane was presented to Mr. Henry Ford by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and shipped prepaid by the railroad to Dearborn for storage until such time as it is ready to be placed in the museum.

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UPLOADED: 6/9/05 REVISED: 03/08/06, 07/20/11

 
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