FORD 4-AT-E NC8400
NEW YORK TO MONTANA
This airplane is a Ford 4-AT tri-motor (S/N 4-AT-62; ATC
# 132) manufactured July 13, 1929 by the Stout Metal Airplane
Company (Division of Ford Motor Company), Dearborn, MI. It
came from the factory with three Wright J-6 (R-975-A) engines
(S/Ns 10461, 10485, 10500) of 300 HP each.
It sold on July 11, 1929 to The Curtis Publishing Company,
Philadelphia, PA. Through the Great Depression, it
landed at Tucson three times, on February 18, 1930, July
11, 1932 and on August 29, 1933. Each time it was piloted
by A.W. Gorton.
Based in Camden, NJ, his first landing was solo, westbound
from El Paso, TX to Los Angeles, CA. The airplane was
owned by Curtis Publishing at this time. The NASM record
reports an accident at North Beach, NY on October 21, 1931. It
is not clear if Gorton was the pilot. No details of
damage or repairs appear in the record. Below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), is a front view of NC8400 on the ground, location unknown. The registration number is readable under the port wing.
Ford NC8400, Date & Location Unknown (Source: SDAM)
At Gorton's second landing, in 1932, the airplane is owned by
Arthur H. Kudner of New York. He carried four unidentified
passengers on that flight, again from El Paso, TX to Los
Angeles. In August 1933, Gorton landed carrying Mr. & Mrs.
A.H. Kudner. Kudner was secretary-treasurer for the
Despatch Corporation of New York, who was still the owner
of the airplane at that time. They were eastbound from
Glendale, CA to El Paso. Written in the Remarks column
of the Register is, “L.A. – New York”.
Through the late 1930s the airplane moved through five owners
located from NY to WI, KY, MI and OH. I suffered another
accident (no details) on November 20, 1938 at Cleveland,
TN. Finally, on March 31, 1941, NC8400 sold to Johnson
Flying Service, Missoula, MT. It stayed with Johnson until
1953. The final disposition states that the airplane, “Washed
out 7/14/53, per report to FAA dated 8/3/53.”
According to aerofiles.com, this airplane still exists: "4-AT-E c/n 62 [NC8400]. 1929: Pan American Airways. LOCATION: Kal Aero, Vicksburg MI. Possible rebuild."
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 04/01/06 REVISED: 10/30/08, 12/05/14