View Full Version : Ford Tri-Motor

Bill Larkins
07-12-2003, 07:53 PM
There is an extensive history of the Ford operations in the US as well as a connection to Reno and the Air Races. This is a photo of Harrah's 5-AT-B, N9645, on Virginia Street in the middle of Reno on September 13, 1983. More later.

Bill Larkins
07-12-2003, 08:16 PM
Sorry, hit a glitch. Here is the photo for the previous message.

07-12-2003, 11:05 PM
Bill, I always wondered how they got the smaller airplanes down there on Virginia street, this one must have been the trick!! A couple of times, I stayed at Fitzgeralds, went to bed at night, woke to a street full of airplanes below my window.. never woke to take a look.

The Ford that used to be owned by Harrah is now owned by Evergreen and used to be seen flying, fairly regularly, up here in the Portland area.. Not sure of the flight disposition of any of the Evergreen collection now that they've moved them to a museum that, unfortunately, is across Highway 18 from the McMinville airport.. initially, that museum was to be an active "flying" museum.

Small bit of "six degrees of separation".. when Harrah was doing the restoration on that airplane many years ago, my brother, then a working airplane mechanic, worked for the Harrah's Collection, he actually did some work on that very airplane. He said he heard it had been quite a derelect carcass down in Mexico and had even been someone's "home" of sorts while down there.. Amazing what treasure can be brought back from ruin!

Very interesting picture!

07-14-2003, 07:05 PM
I am 6 miles from the Evergreen Museum. The Ford and the Mustang were both active in June. The latter made a trip to the Pendleton show at least. This P-51D is the former #37, N37492 racer that was second fastest qualifier for the 1946 Thompson with famed fighter pilot George Welch at 394.304. It won the All American Air Manuevers race in Miami in January 1946 ahead of F-5G #25, P-51 #77 (NX79111), P-63C #4, and P-39Q #12. Called "Wraith" in 1947 at Cleveland, it was 3rd fastest qualifier, but dropped out of the Thompson in the 6th lap. In 1948 she raced with Charles C. Walling as "Jay Dee". In 1949 Ken Cooley flew her last two races. It would be great to see this one restored to her old racing colors. Presently it flies in semi-Oregon ANG colors. Before that, with Evergreen, it wore the markings (except serial) of Lt. Donald P. Voelker of the 364th FG, 383rd FS with the large black circle with white "S" on the tail. Voelker was MIA on 6 Dec 1944.
The Ford was damaged in a 1954 accident in Mexico as XB-NET. The Mexican owners had replaced the corrugated skin with smooth back in 1951. Eugene O. Frank bought her in November 1955 and she had registration N58996, and kept it with others in his collection in Caldwell, Idaho before Harrahs got it in 1964. Evergreen has owned her since March 1990.

Bill Larkins
07-14-2003, 10:32 PM
Thanks Lowell, I didn't have time to get that information and this posted. This is the way that the "City of Reno" looks today inside the Museum uinder the wing of the Hughes HK-1 flying boat. Photo by Ace Campbell.

07-15-2003, 06:40 PM
This airplane used to be seen frequently (fairly) around the PDX area turning horsepower into noise.. I don't think any of the collection out there will fly nearly as often being across the highway.. Lowell, do you know if they are flying anywhere near as often as in the past when they were based out at PDX?


07-15-2003, 10:01 PM
The activity of the Evergreen collection is not at all what it once was. The location across the street from the airport plays a part as I believe movement of the flying airplanes across is probably only done in the late night hours. But that is only a small part of the picture I'm sure. The museum has seen a tremendous number of visitors this summer. I've noticed just in my Saturday docent volunteer work twice a month that when the Mustang was gone, or just parked outside a little ways out of public access across the street, it was a real heartbreak for some guests who had wanted to see a P-51 up close. I guess us Reno and warbird show regulars are spoiled by our exposure to many P-51s several times each year. This potential dissapointment to museum guests may be just one factor in the active flying of the airworthy exhibits. Insurance, maintenance, and scheduling are other factors that come quickly to mind.
My hope is that the upcoming 44th Annual Northwest Antique Airplane Club Fly-in which will be held in McMinnville, Oregon (MMV) on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, August 15, 16 & 17, will see some other aircraft in the collection brought out for some flying. Besides the Tri-Motor and P-51D, the P-40K and FG-1D are possibilities I'd think. The P-38L would be a real treat as well. Probably just wishful thinking, but who knows?
The Fly-In website is:

My Son has asked Holbrook Maslen to bring his new Yak #88 racer over from Caldwell, Idaho for the event and we fully expect that will happen. The McMinnville site with its longer runways should afford the warbird element the chance to become a more visible part of this long distinguished show. The old location in Vancouver probably wasn't the best for much fighter participation.
Wayne, try to make plans to join us on Saturday the 15th and if Holbrook gets the Yak here maybe we can get an air-to-air photo shoot.

07-15-2003, 10:22 PM

I have been planning on getting out for the event. Since they closed or are closing the old Evergreen Field, it did seem fitting that it be moved out there and the Museum will benefit from the additional attention it will get from a "show" fly-in being held there..

As you may know, I used to be pretty deeply involved with the museum, before it was actually a museum that is ;)

I created and managed the original website for the museum from about '98 to the middle of 2000 I think it was when the redesigned it to what is there now.

One disappointement I had with the redesign was omission of the HUGE scans I did of some of the original photos that were lent me for that purpose. I had originally planned on only resizing them down but when I looked at the full size scans, they were amazing in the details that came out!

I will almost for sure be out on the weekend of the show for one day, at least, if Saturday would be the best day, I'll shoot for that..

I'd have to line up a photo plane, unless Jim Wright brings up his Bonanza, along with, I hope, the Hughes Racer for the event.. if he does, he *might* allow me up in it if the competition for such a slot were not too stiff..

Say hello to Kelvin for me next time you're out there.