Ford and Charles Lindbergh at the Ford Airport in 1927.
1927, Charles Lindbergh visited Henry Ford after his solo flight
across the Atlantic and gave Ford his first and only airplane ride,
in the “Spirit of St. Louis.”
Lindbergh later became the nation’s first chief commercial
pilot – for Ford Motor Company.
Ford and Charles Lindbergh look at Ford Flivver at Ford Airport in
Dayton, Ohio, in
Henry Ford (right)
and his son Edsel (left) enjoyed a personal and professional
relationship with Orville Wright (center), visiting each other and
corresponding regularly over many years.
Edsel Ford (left),
Richard Byrd (center) and William Stout in front of Ford Tri-Motor
In 1923, Edsel Ford
invested in the the Stout Metal Airplane Company, formed to build
the first all-metal aircraft. It later became part of Ford Motor
In 1928, Ford
donated a Ford Tri-Motor airplane to Commander Richard E. Byrd, the
explorer, for the first flight over the South Pole.
B-24 bomber final
at Ford Motor Company's Willow Run plant-built plant, September 1944
When World War II
broke out, Ford built thousands of aircraft engines, as well as the
B-24 Liberator bombers that were so instrumental in the Allied
During World War
II, Ford Motor Company produced more than 4,000 gliders in
Kingsford, Mich., at the Iron Mountain assembly plant that helped
carry American infantry into combat during the Normandy invasion and
|Ford’s vision of
aviation for the masses really gained momentum with the Ford
Tri-Motor aircraft, first built 1925 and improved in 1926 with a
Wright Brothers “Whirlwind” engine. With the Tri-Motor’s
immediate success, Ford’s Airplane Manufacturing Division became
the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft at the time.
Ford built 196 Tri-Motor airplanes, ending production in 1932. Some
still fly today.