During my recent visit to Oshkosh, I managed to secure a ticket to fly in the oldest aircraft I have ever stepped onboard. On a grey and cool Tuesday morning at Oshkosh, I hiked from the main gate over to the Warbird Alley flight line to line up for a scenic flight onboard “Little Ford”, a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor (Model 4-AT-E).
Little Ford (NC8407) was built in 1929 and was frame #146 from the Ford Aircraft factory. Sold to Eastern Air Transport (later Eastern Airlines), it served for three years before heading over the Straits of Florida to operate for Cubana on its new Santiago de Cuba to Havana route. Before returning back to the U.S., it served as presidential transport for the Dominican Republic as well. During the 1950’s, the aircraft was upgraded with higher-horsepower engines, becoming the most powerful 4-AT ever flown.