HISTORIC PLANES FLY IN TO FORD TEST TRACK, RETURNING IT TO ITS ROOTS AS FORD AIRPORT
FACT SHEET: SIX HISTORIC PLANES ON DISPLAY AT FORMER FORD AIRPORT FOR
‘TAKING FLIGHT’ EXHIBIT
FACT SHEET: DEARBORN PROVING GROUND RETURNS TO ROOTS AS FORD AIRPORT FOR ‘TAKING FLIGHT’ DISPLAY
- Just as he did for the auto, Henry Ford laid the foundation for a modern aviation system.
- Fly-in of vintage planes for “Taking Flight: Ford’s History in Aviation” exhibit will be the first time in 56 years Ford’s test track will function as an airport.
- Ford Airport (now Dearborn Proving Ground) was the first modern airport, with the first purpose-built airplane factory and concrete runway.
DEARBORN, Mich., June 9, 2003 – For the first time in 56 years, Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn Proving Ground returned to its roots as an airport when five vintage aircraft, including two revolutionary Ford Tri-Motors, flew into the test track on Monday, June 9. Ford Airport opened in 1925 as the first modern airport in the world.
The collection of aircraft from the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s will be the feature of the “Taking Flight: Ford’s History in Aviation” exhibit, which honors Ford Motor Company’s crucial support and development of the aviation industry as part of Ford’s THE ROAD IS OURS 100th Anniversary Celebration, which takes place June 12-16.
“This is an exciting day,” said Edsel B. Ford II, great-grandson of Henry Ford. “It’s an incredible opportunity for Ford Motor Company to share its important but often little-known history in aviation. Just as Henry Ford put the nation on wheels, it was here at Ford Airport that he put the nation on wings as he developed the right kind of aircraft to serve the public, then built public confidence in their reliability, safety and necessity.”
Planes scheduled to fly in included two 1929 all-metal Ford Tri-Motors – which helped revolutionize aviation technology in the 1920s and enabled Ford to become the leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft – a 1929 Travel Air 6000, 1931 Stinson Tri-Motor and 1943 Stinson Reliant. Also on display will be a replica of the 1926 Ford Flivver, Ford’s early attempt to develop personal airplanes for everyday use – the “Model T of the air.”
Photos from the June 9 fly-in will be available at Ford’s media site, http://media.ford.com.
When “Taking Flight” opens June 13-15, visitors of Ford’s centennial celebration can take a shuttle – and a step back in time – to Dearborn Proving Ground to view the aircraft, which represent planes that pilots such as Charles Lindbergh flew at the airport in the 1920s through 1940s. Visitors also can learn about:
- The Henry Ford’s upcoming exciting aviation exhibit, “Heroes of the Sky”
- Ford’s WWII production of the B-24 bomber at Willow Run in Ypsilanti, Mich., courtesy of the Yankee Air Museum.
- plans to re-create the 1932 National Air Tour (commonly known as Ford Reliability Tour)
- the original Edsel B. Ford Trophy that recognized winners of the annual National Air Tour, which ran 1925-31. The elegant, sterling silver trophy is on loan from The Henry Ford.
Ford Motor Company also is sponsoring EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk, a centennial celebration of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight — an innovation that forever changed our world. Led by EAA, presented by Ford and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation, this yearlong series of inspirational events honors the innovation and determination it takes to make world-changing dreams a reality. Countdown to Kitty Hawk features an interactive touring pavilion and the world’s most-accurate 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that will exclusively re-enact the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 2003 — exactly 100 years later. The pavilion and Flyer reproduction will make a stop at Ford’s centennial celebration June 12-16. For more information, go to www.countdowntokittyhawk.org.