FORD 4-AT-A/B/E NC3041
BUCKLED UP IN CANADA
This airplane was manufactured in September 1926 by the
Stout Metal Airplane Company (Ford Motor Company), Dearborn,
MI as a Ford tri-motor 4-AT-A (S/N 4-AT-3; ATC 132). It
left the factory with two Wright J-4 engines (S/N R 7001;
S/N L 7007) and a Wright J-5C engine (S/N 7313) of 200 and
220 HP, respectively. It was sold in 1926 to the Ford Motor
Company to be, “used on commercial airways of the
Ford Motor Company.”
Ford Trimotor NC3041, Date & Location Unknown
Almost three years later, during March-April 1929, a new
fuselage from bulkhead #6 forward was installed, with a new
center wing section. This converted the airplane to
a Model 4-AT-B. New engines were installed, and also
changes were made to conform to the Model 4-AT-E under ATC
132. It was used as a freighter until about August
1932, then put in storage at the Ford Airport. It was sold on September 11, 1933 to Roy W. Brillhart of
Kansas City, KS, on January 27, 1934 to Ben F. Gregory of
Kansas City, and on February 24, 1934 to Elizabeth Walker
of Kansas City, MO.
Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner, August 12, 1934 (Source: Woodling)
Guest Editor Bob Woodling uncovered some interesting information regarding the airplane and its owners. He writes providing, "... background on the owners of the airplane, Mr. and Mrs. Alton Walker of Kansas City, Missouri. Mr. Walker was the head of Western Airplane Distributors [see B. Voigts, below] and was using the airplane for business and pleasure. The airplane was registered in Mrs. Walker's name...." The news article at right from the Ogden (UT) Standard-Examiner of August 12, 1934 provides insight into the relationship between the Walkers, Voigts and the airplane.
During the Walker’s ownership, we find NC3041 at Tucson
two times, on November 1st and November 3, 1934. on
November 1st it was flown (apparently) solo by Busch Voigts. He
noted in the passenger column of the Register: "Western
Airplane Distributors". Based in Kansas City,
MO, he arrived from Douglas, AZ. He gave no destination
or purpose for the flight. Chances are high that the Walkers were with him, but didn't sign the Register.
Mr. Woodling writes, "The news article states that Busch Voigts was their pilot and that they were headed south of the border. When the airplane arrived in Tucson on November 1, 1934, it had come from Douglas, AZ. So possibly it was returning to the States from the trip mentioned in the news article."
On November 3rd, NC3041 was (allegedly?) flown through Tucson by Wendell Shampine,
who gave his home base as Pasadena, CA. He and his
five passengers were inbound from Pasadena, and returning
to Pasadena. The passengers were listed as Joe Blutz (commonly
used at the time as a pseudonym on the order of John Doe),
Betty Kline, Carol Howard, Jamie Littlefield, and Yon Barley. Someone noted in the Remarks column in the Register, "Nice
Mr. Woodling states, "...Voigts' ... obit[uary] states that he attended the Univ. of Arizona, after attending KU. In researching Register signer Wendell Shampine, I found out that he was a student at the U of A in 1934 and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, as was a man named Carl Barley, who was from Welch, WVA. I assume he is the 'Yon Barley' who signed the Register. I think he wrote the 'foot ball game Coast' comment in the Register.
"Register signer Jamie Littlefield was also a student at the U of A at the time and a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. I assume the other two women who signed the Register were also U of A students.
"I do not think any of the above U of A students were pilots [including Wendell Shampine, 12/21/1913-7/30/1998]; they may have just been having a good laugh at the expense of Busch Voigts. But did Voigts fly them to the coast for the football game? Hard to tell. There was a big game on Nov. 4, 1934. Undefeated Stanford beat UCLA 27-0 in Los Angeles. The Indians went on to an undefeated regular season, losing to Alabama in the Rose Bowl."
Below, additional documentation, which corroborates the chain
of custody and fate of the airplane.
Ford Trimotor NC3041 Data
The airplane sold again on January 9, 1935 to Alton Walker, Elizabeth's husband,
of Kansas City, MO. And then again on July 1, 1935
to White Pass Airways, Inc, Skagway, AK. White Pass
sold it on March 30, 1936 to the British Yukon Navigation
Company, Ltd., based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. Simultaneous
with its sale into Canada, its registration was changed
to CF-AZB .
Alton H. Walker, 1924 (Source: Woodling)
Photograph, right, of Alton H. Walker from his Kansas State University yearbook, 1924, a decade before we find him at Tucson.
On August 8, 1941 the fuselage of the airplane buckled when
the tail hit a hangar while in tow. It was damaged
beyond repair and suffered the fate as described above.
Mr. Woodling writes, "The Walkers later ... bought Byrd's Fairchild FC-2W2 'Stars and Stripes' [NC8006] and flew it around the country. [Register pilot] Bob Myrick was their pilot for that tour. It was supposed to be an around-the-world tour but I doubt they made it very far. [Does anyone KNOW?]"
"The Walkers moved to the west coast in the late 1930s. He was still in the airplane sales business, but the 1940 census lists his occupation as the owner of a grocery store." Alton Walker died in Monterey, CA, March 7, 1989 at age 84.
UPLOADED: 03/29/06 REVISED: 02/04/07, 12/05/11, 08/29/12