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MANAGEMENT IN AVIATION HISTORY BENCH MARKS


Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) inaugurated its coast to coast service by aircraſt and train flying a Ford TriMotor, piloted by Charles Lindbergh westbound from Los Angeles in “The City of Columbus.” TAT (1929-1930) built the first modern airports with terminals for passenger comfort. Aſter a merger, TAT became part of TWA. Photo: Courtesy of Henry M. Holden


All-In Risks and a Rescue


As soon as metal began to compete with wood, the latter had to give place, slowly perhaps, but surely. Literary Digest, November 5, 1927


BY GIACINTA BRADLEY KOONTZ


A RECENT FILM, “FORD VS. FERRARI” IS A FICTIONALIZED ACCOUNT OF THE 1966 VICTORY BY THREE FORD RACING CARS IN THE 24-HOUR ENDURANCE LE MANS HELD IN FRANCE. THE CHALLENGE BY HENRY FORD II TO ADD A RACING DIVISION WAS IN KEEPING WITH HIS GRANDFATHER’S SUCCESS BY GOING ALL-IN WITH A NEW IDEA.


In 1913, Henry Ford


revolutionized the manufacture of automobiles when he built a new factory with moving chassis assembly lines which mass-produced cars in only one color — black. Ford took a chance that the American public would trade individual high-end automobiles for a less expensive, albeit plain, family car. He went all-in and succeeded. In 1925, Ford again went all-in with a new division at his plant in Detroit to revolutionize the way aircraft were built. Ford, and his son, Edsel, took a chance that modern aircraft could be constructed of metal during an era when wood remained


16 DOMmagazine.com | apr 2020


the popular material due to its light weight and easily repaired parts. Their all-metal aircraft were not the first offered, but they were the first major success.


THE TIN GOOSE William Bushnell “Bill” Stout [1880- 1956], an inventor and entrepreneur, formed the Stout Metal Airplane Company in 1922, designing the 2-AT Air Transport in 1924. Sturdy and aerodynamic, Stout’s 2-AT was a single-engine monoplane with an all-corrugated metal fuselage. It held five passengers who sat in chair-seats, their luggage stowed in separate compartments. In addition to


passenger comfort, Stout believed that all safe commercial aircraft should require two pilots. The enclosed cockpit accommodated a pilot and co-pilot, protected by a windshield. As he did with automobiles, Henry


Ford saw the future in aviation, and went all-in. Partnering with Stout in 1925 to


build larger all-metal aircraft, Ford built a factory, hanger and flying field next to his Detroit automotive plant. Stout took on other projects while Ford’s engineering staff proceeded to build an aircraft with one engine on the nose and one on each wing. Full production began in 1926, with many of Stout’s basic concepts.


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