High and Inaccessible
This aircraft was a Fokker Super Universal, S/N 840 (ATC
#52), manufactured in August 1929 by the Fokker Aircraft
Corporation of America, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. It left
the factory with a Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine (S/N 1168)
of 420 HP. It was purchased during August by the Goodyear
Tire and Rubber Company, Akron, OH.
Goodyear bought it to equip it with their new special air
wheels instead of conventional tires. Now comes the
airplane to Tucson at 5:00PM on November 30, 1929. It
was flown by J.O. Bell carrying three unidentified passengers
eastbound from San Diego, CA. They remained overnight
in Tucson, then departed the next morning at 10:00 to Akron,
Below, courtesy of site visitor Van Cully, is a photograph of NC9792 in Goodyear livery. The photo is dated October 9, 1929, just a couple of months after it was purchased. The location is estimated to be Ryan Field, San Diego, CA. The large, soft air wheels are visible on the landing gear as well as on the tail wheel.
Fokker Super Universal NC9792, October 9, 1929 (Source: Cully)
Goodyear flew the airplane until 1933, then sold it to Richard
M. McCoy, Denver,
CO. McCoy sold it a few months later,
on March 9, 1934, to Northern Air Transport, Inc., Fairbanks,
AK. In Alaska it was used on both wheels and skis.Two photos of it in service with Northern Air Transport are at the link.
On November 24, 1936 it was sold to Wien Alaska Airlines,
Inc., Fairbanks, AK. It suffered an accident at Wiseman,
AK on October 20, 1938, severely damaging the landing gear. It
was repaired by February 1929.
On April 8, 1939 NC9792 was used to ferry a replacement
engine from Fairbanks to Upper Koyukuk for another disabled
aircraft sitting on a mountaintop. After delivery of
the engine, NC9792 cracked up on take off. It
hit a snowdrift which knocked off the left landing gear.
The plane then went down on one wing and the wing broke off. After the crash, all serviceable items were
remaining portions of the aircraft were left on the mountain
top, “in a very inaccessible location." But, the Pioneer Air Museum in Fairbanks, AK lists the "frame" of NC9792 among its collection. If a site visitor in Alaska can snap a photo and sent it to me, please let me KNOW, and I'll post it on this page.
UPLOADED: 07/07/06 REVISED: 09/30/12, 02/17/13