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CoolPix - Early Aviation: Byrd’s Fokker Trimotor At The Henry Ford Museum

(click pic for hi-res)

 A new CoolPix category starting up, this time it’s ‘Early Aviation’.  This is a pic I took of the Fokker Trimotor that was used by Admiral Richard E. Byrd to fly over the North Pole on May 9, 1926.  The claim was that this was the first ever flight over the North Pole, but seems there's some question about whether Byrd and his pilot Floyd Bennett actually made it far enough to pass over the pole.  They encountered an oil leak on one engine and returned back at the airport sooner than expected.  There seems to be a bit of ongoing controversy about the matter, however, Byrd’s accomplishments before and after this trip are quite extensive regardless.

 There’s a lot more about this specific airplane that’s pretty interesting as well.  It’s displayed as shown at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.  There’s a lot of great aviation pieces at the museum, like the Anzani 6-cylinder radial powered Laird biplane that Katherine Stinson flew in 1916.  I always say this: you gotta get to The Henry Ford - it's awesome!  So anyway, it’s a very cool display for this unique aircraft.

 This particular Fokker Trimotor is pretty special in that it’s serial #1.  It’s also interesting to note that 'Fokker' is painted prominently pretty much all over the airplane.  The Byrd expedition to the North Pole was funded by Edsel Ford, and the airplane was named the ‘Josephine Ford’ for Edsel’s young daughter.  Seems Tony Fokker didn’t want there to be any chance of people confusing his Trimotor with the one soon to be flying from Ford!  A pretty interesting detail in the history of this airplane.

 Lastly, the airplane was not fitted with a heater, so it’s likely that the cabin temp was as cold as -50° F while flying over (or near!) the North Pole.  Cool stuff indeed : )


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Reader Comments (1)

No heater? Oh that must have been horrible. I have flown airplanes with no heater too and whined about it the whole time. Great picture, thank you for sharing.

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