FORD 4-AT NC5092
FROM TOUR PLANE TO HANGAR BANGER
This airplane is a Ford 4-AT tri-motor (S/N 4-AT-19; ATC
unidentified) manufactured May 1, 1928 by the Stout Metal
Airplane Company (Ford Motor Company), Dearborn, MI. The
4-AT was Ford’s second tri-motor design, “featuring” an
open cockpit for the pilot. It came from the factory
with three Wright J-5AB engines (S/Ns L 8360, R 8362, C 8990)
of 220 HP each. It was a twelve-place airplane, weighing
10,000 pounds. It carried the marking, “Standard
of California No. 1”. Refer to Boeing NC381 to
learn about “Standard of California No. 2”
It sold on May 7, 1928 to the Standard Oil Company of California,
CA for $50,300. During March 1929 it
was rebuilt at the Ford factory to 4-AT-E standards with
Wright J-6 engines (S/Ns 10224, 10227, 10222), center section
rebuilt (which probably included an enclosed cockpit you can see in this photo, and
ATC # 132 assigned).
This image, from this link, page 72, shows NC5092 as she
participated in the Ford Reliability Tour of 1928. Standard
Oil of California provided free fuel to Tour participants,
as did Standard of Indiana, Continental Oil Company, and
The Texas Company.
Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is an undated photograph of NC5092. Interestingly, the Buhl in the foreground, NC6873, is also a Register plane, that visited Parks Airport in East St. Louis, IL in February, 1930. The people are unidentified. If you can help identify them, please let me KNOW.
Register Aircraft NC5092 & NC6873, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
Tucson saw NC5092 twice, on December 14, 1928 and March
1, 1929. Based in San Francisco, CA, the pilot both
times was F.V. Tompkins. On December 14th he carried
six unidentified passengers on a round-robin to and from
Phoenix, AZ. On March 1st he carried a single passenger,
a Captain S.S. Chadderton. Capt. Chadderton was Manager,
Aviation Division of Standard Oil of California. They
were eastbound from San Francisco, CA to Detroit, MI. This
flight is probably the one that took the airplane to the
factory for its upgrade to 4-AT-E standards (see above). Image below was found online and shared by a site visitor. From the crowd, the image could date from the 1928 Air Tour.
Ford NC5092, Date & Location Unknown (Source: Web)
Unsourced News Article, Ca. January 30, 1940 (Source: Woodling)
NC5092 flew with Standard Oil until 1931. On August
13, 1931, the airplane sold to Jack W. Thornburg, Grand Canyon,
AZ. It transferred immediately on the 14th to the Ruckstell
Corporation, Ltd., Glendale, CA, then to Grand Canyon Airlines,
Inc., Grand Canyon, AZ on October 9, 1931. Glover
a pilot of the Register, provided cash flow for the Depression-saddled
Grand Canyon Airlines.
The airplane flew with Grand Canyon until 1934 when it sold
to Vernon Bookwalter, Seattle, WA. Six months later,
on November 24, 1934, it was sold to White Pass Airways,
Inc., Skagway, AK. It stayed in Alaska until 1940.
On January 30, 1940, the airplane struck a hangar upon landing
and was “washed out,” left. The pilot was Vernon
Bookwalter. Bookwalter survived, since he showed up twice in adjacent articles in July, below.
Fairbanks News-Miner (AK), July 7, 1940 (Source: newspapers.com)
UPLOADED: 03/29/06 REVISED: 12/05/11, 12/03/14, 05/15/18