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Old 06-13-2012, 09:37 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
The Junkers JU-52 vs. the Ford Trimotor

These aircraft look very similar-did Junkers copy the Ford design?
The corrugated metal fusilage-did it create a lot of drag? I assume that corrugated sheet metal would be stronger than flat metal-was this done to reduce the weight?
Old 06-13-2012, 09:49 AM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
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Location: rhode island
Posts: 38,137
The corrugated metal was stronger per pound and that's why it was used. I recall something about Ford first using corrugated steel, even on wings. But the design of a plane is much more than the form of the metal involved, and most planes then and now resemble each other.
Old 06-13-2012, 11:59 AM
ducati ducati is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
The Junkers Ju-52 looks nothing like a Ford Tri-Motor.

The Fokker F7A looks like a Ford Tri-Motor. More correctly, the Ford looks like the Fokker.

The story goes that Richard Byrd et al flew a Fokker F7 to the north pole in 1926. After returning, he toured the world, and stopped at Dearborn Field in Detroit - owned of course by Henry Ford. Ford offered his own hangar to safeguard the Fokker.

While Byrd and his party were being entertained, Ford engineers worked through the night to measure, copy, and reverse-engineer the entire plane.
Ford had previously purchased the Stout airplane co. and modified one of its models with 3 engines, but it wasn't until after the Fokker visit that the Tri-Motor took its final form.

I first heard this in about 1978 from an old flight instructor of mine. It's repeated here and there on the internet, but no one knows for sure.
Old 06-13-2012, 01:56 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 18,476
I'm interested in Henry Ford's dalliance with aviation-the Trimotor aircraft was made for a number of years..and during WWII, Ford made bombers in Michigan (under license).
Did Ford decide aeronautics was not a business he could be successful in? The early years of aviation were pretty wild-a ton of firms made planes, but few survived.
Old 06-13-2012, 08:46 PM
ducati ducati is offline
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
From Wiki:
The rapid development of aircraft at this time (the vastly superior Douglas DC-2 was first conceived in 1932), along with the death of his personal pilot Harry J. Brooks on a test flight, led to Henry Ford's losing interest in aviation. While Ford did not make a profit on its aircraft business, Henry Ford's reputation lent credibility to the infant aviation and airline industries, and Ford helped introduce many aspects of the modern aviation infrastructure, including paved runways, passenger terminals, hangars, airmail, and radio navigation.
Old 06-13-2012, 09:39 PM
blondebear blondebear is online now
Shouting Grasshopper
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Meridian/280
Posts: 13,029
You can ride in a TriMotor this summer if you want... Only $80...well worth it, I'd say.

Last edited by blondebear; 06-13-2012 at 09:40 PM.


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