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Monday, March 14, 2011

The Model T of the air - Henry Ford's Flivver Plane

Henry Ford had a vision- of which he had many. However this vision was to make the skies accessible in the same manner than he did with the Model T making land travel accessible for everyone.

In the mid 1920's Ford was starting production on the famous Ford Tri-Motor airplane, but Henry Ford wanted something smaller that the average person could own, maintain & fly without putting a strain on the budget. His answer was the Flivver Plane.

The fact that Ford had never been up in an airplane before, his first two & only flights were in 1927 when Charles Lindbergh gave him a ride in the Spirit of St. Louis and later in the day a ride in a Ford built Tri-Motor craft did not deter him from being a supporter of air travel. Even into the early 1940s Ford was oft quoted saying  that a combination car & airplane would be the coming thing.

While that never materialized, one of the byproducts of his vision was the Flivver Plane. Weighing only 350 pounds and powered by a 3 cylinder Anzani engine that propelled the plane at 85mph.

You can see an original Flivver Plane at the Henry Ford Museum, or clicking this link.

There is at least one replica Flivver Plane built by chapter 159 of the EAA. Clicking on the link will give a very good short history & specifications that I didn't type here to avoid repetition.