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A Flight in 1929 Ford 4-AT-E Tri-Motor NC8407


This Ford 4-AT-E Tri-Motor (c/n 4-AT-69), registered as NC8407, was the 146th off Ford's assembly line and first flew on August 21, 1929. It was sold to Pitcairn Aviation's passenger division, Eastern Air Transport, whose paint scheme is seen on the aircraft today. In 1930, it was leased to Cubana Airlines, where it inaugurated air service between Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The airplane was later flown by the government of the Dominican Republic, and in 1949 returned to the U.S. for barnstorming use. In 1950, it was moved from Miami to Phoenix and was refitted with more powerful engines for use as a crop duster - with two 450 HP engines and one 550 HP engine, it became the most powerful Model 4-AT ever flown. In 1955, it was moved to Idaho and fitted with two 275-gallon tanks and bomb doors for use as a borate bomber in aerial firefighting. Then in 1958, it was further modified for use by smoke jumpers. After working for a variety of crop spraying businesses, it was moved to Lawrence, Kansas, in 1964, where its new owner flew barnstorming tours. In 1973, a severe thunderstorm ripped the plane from its tie-downs, lifted it 50 feet into the air, and smashed it to the ground on its back. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) subsequently purchased the wreckage, and it was restored over a period of 12 years. It was displayed in the EAA AirVenture Museum until 1991 when it began annual tours during which rides are offered (11:51).

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