Ford Trimotor Monoplane - Instruction Manual (1929)
The Ford Tri-Motor was the most popular transport aircraft in the USA in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The tri-engine formula became a successful design concept as German (Junkers), Dutch (Fokker), Italian (Savoia Marchetti and Caproni) and French (Wibault and Bloch) manufacturers imitated it.
It was originally designed in 1925 by a team of engineers from the Stout Metal Airplane Company. Ford bought the company and industrialized the project in 1926. Its simple design in corrugated aluminium sheet metal earned it the nickname of Tin Goose. It reinforces the structure but increases the drag and thus limits its speed: 130 kts maximum, but a stall speed of only 56 knots!
The tail control wiring is on the outside of the fuselage. The control dials are mounted on each engine. The pilot has to look outside to consult them.
199 units were built between 1926 and 1933. Practically all US airlines used it and it was even exported to China. Pan American inaugurates its first route to Havana with a Tri-Motor and it is with a Tri-Motor that Franklin Roosevelt will become the first President to use an airplane for his election campaign trips. On November 29, 1929, a Tri-Motor named "Floyd Bennett" was the first plane to reach the South Pole, piloted by Richard Byrd.
8 examples are still flying today. You can still fly it at the Oshkosh air show.