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10 Things You Never Knew About The Ford Trimotor

The Ford Trimotor was nicknamed the 'Tin Goose', and it has quite a history. Check out these 10 facts about the plane Henry Ford called "the safest airliner around."

1) Only 199 Trimotors were built, and only 8 are in airworthy condition today.

2) The metal frame of the airplane was corrugated to strengthen it, but it significantly reduced performance due to drag.


3) The Trimotor's rudder and elevator control cables were strung on the outside of the airplane.

Rex Brown

4) Engine gauges were also mounted externally on the engines. Pilots have to look out the windows to see them.

Rob Bixby

5) While didn't go fast (130 knots max speed) its stall speed was an impressive 56 knots. That's almost as slow as most 4 seat training aircraft today.

Chad Horwedel

6) Pan American Airways used Ford Trimotors for its first international scheduled flights from Key West to Havana, Cuba, in 1927.

7) Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart flew the same Trimotor (C-1077)

Tau Zero

8) In 1929, the Trimotor was the first airplane to fly over the South Pole.

9) Franklin Roosevelt flew on a Trimotor in his 1932 presidential campaign - one of the first uses of aircraft in an election.

10) EAA Still Flies NC8407, and you can get a ride in it later this month at Oshkosh.

Chad Horwedel

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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