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