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This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


Donna Veca & Skip Mazzio, 1987. "Just Plane Crazy". Aviation Book Company, Glendale, CA ISBN 0-940997-01-0

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FORD 5-AT-B NC9639

FORD 5-AT-B NC9639


This airplane is a Ford 5-AT-B tri-motor (S/N 5-AT-17; ATC # 156) manufactured January 10, 1929 by the Stout Metal Airplane Company (Division of Ford Motor Company), Dearborn, MI.  It came from the factory with three Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines (S/Ns L 981, R 979, C 1000) of 400 HP each.  It weighed 13,250 pounds. See an image of this airplane here.

It sold on February 7, 1929 to Maddux Air Lines, Los Angeles, CA.  We find NC9639 landing at Tucson on February 11, 1929 enroute west from Detroit, MI to Los Angeles, CA.  It was flown by Larry G. Fritz, Chief Pilot for Maddux.  He carried eight passengers, including his mechanic Les Rhodda, and William B. Mayo.  Mayo was chief engineer of the Ford Co.  Fritz also carried Virginia Sullivan, Olive Mayo, Asa Fessender, Norman Gay, a Mr. McLain and Lawrence King.

The airplane was probably on its way west for the grand opening of Glendale Grand Central Terminal.  A contemporary news article (cited in the book, left) states, “Lieut. D.W. Tomlinson…was given a signal to taxi forward….He was unable to see to the rear, and when he gave the motors gas, the horizontal stabilizer on the tail section caught the party amidships knocking several persons to the ground.

“Miss Sullivan … [was] slightly injured and recovered shortly.  Miss Mayo turned her ankle and the mayor broke his glasses….”  On that trip NC9639 was also, with little doubt, on its maiden voyage from the factory.

It flew with Maddux into 1931 and was sold to Transcontinental and Western Air, Inc., New York, NY on April 21, 1931.  It had a “high speed” modification as of January 2, 1931.  During their ownership, the airplane wore “TWA #611” on its fuselage.

On July 5, 1934, NC9639 was sold to Pan American Grace Airways, Inc., New York, NY.  They installed a cargo hatch and operated the airplane as a cargo and passenger carrier with 550 HP Wasp engines in the outboard positions and flew it for about five years on the Bolivian extension of their route.

On April 17, 1939 NC9639 was sold to Compania Aramayo de Mines en Bolivie, La Paz, Bolivia.  Listed as its final disposition: “Sold in Bolivia and reported registered: CB-CAM”.  No further information.


UPLOADED: 04/01/06 REVISED: 09/25/07, 11/13/12

The Register
I'm looking for photographs of this airplane to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

---o0o--- Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.


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