FORD 4-AT-B NC5493
SCENIC AIRWAYS TRI-MOTOR
This airplane is a Ford 4-AT-B tri-motor (S/N 4-AT-22; ATC
# 87) manufactured May 23, 1928 by the Stout Metal Airplane
Company (Ford Motor Company), Dearborn, MI. It came
from the factory with three Wright J-5C engines (S/Ns L 8446,
R 8445, C 8965) of 220 HP each. It was a twelve-place
airplane, weighing 10,130 pounds.
It sold on June 4, 1928 to Scenic Airways, Inc., Grand Canyon,
AZ. Register pilot J.
Parker Van Zandt was founder
of that company. It operated with Scenic until November
8, 1929, when it was sold off as a response to the market
crash of the previous month. It sold to R. “Reg” L.
Robbins of Ft. Worth, TX to be used for barnstorming.
Below, from the fNew Mexico Digital Collections (NMDC), of the Albuquerque Museum Photo Archives, is a photograph of NC5493 from 1928. Note the airplane being fueled from a five-gallon can by the serviceman on the top of the wing. The logo on the fuselage is the old-style Scenic Airways logo: small rainbow in a shield.
Ford NC5493 at Albuquerque, NM, 1928 (Source: NMDC)
Our airplane landed at Tucson once, on March 12, 1929, probably
in Scenic Airways livery. It was flown by P.D. Lucas
carrying four passengers. They were northwest bound
from El Paso, TX. They stayed overnight in Tucson,
heading out the next morning at 8:30 to Phoenix, AZ.
Below, two images of NC5493 in service to Scenic Airways. Dates and locations of the images are unknown, but the newer Scenic Airways paint scheme is on the fuselage: a broad rainbow.
FORD 4-AT-B NC5493 On the Ground With Service Vehicles & Onlookers
FORD 4-AT-B NC5493 ALOFT
Over the next six years the airplane changed hands three
times. Probably the most interesting transfer was on November 8, 1929 to R.L. Robbins of Ft. Worth, TX. It was registered "NR" during July 1931 and used for an air-to-air refueling craft for a trans-Pacific non-stop record. Robbins' refueled airplane was to be Lockheed Vega NR7429. Please follow the links to learn the outcome of the record attempt.
After the refueling work it moved from Texas to Missouri to Illinois in the hands
of Vernelle Irwin of Hallsville, IL. In March 1937
Irwin had airwheels and aerol struts installed on NC5493
that came from the wreck of NC7863 owned by Vernon Johns.
It sold three more times, moving from Illinois to New York
with Atlantic Airmotive Corp. in Mineola, LI (Roosevelt Field)
on November 1, 1940. It suffered an accident at West
Orange, NJ on June 10, 1942. The, “plane entered
power dive from which it failed to recover. Pilot
Richard A. Behrens killed.” The airplane
was totally destroyed by fire after the accident.
UPLOADED: 03/29/06 REVISED: 12/21/07, 03/11/08, 11/05/13