Air Transport World

Ford tri-motor recreates transcontinental service.

Albuquerque, Lancaster and Kennedy Int'l--in 1930, TWA predecessor Transcontinental Air Transport used a combination of Tri-motor Fords by day and sleeper trains by night to speed passengers from Los Angeles to New York in record time--48 hours--for a fare of $450.

In September 1985, a recreation of that first U.S. transcontinental air service took seven days--but there were extenuating circumstances. Tri-motor N414H, Serial No. 5AT-74, was starring in an hour-long documentary that will be shown on the West German national television network early next year.

Otto Deppe, noted WEst German anchorman who is producing and will narrate the documentary, told ATW the show is aimed all boosting tourism to the U.S. among the Germans, Swiss and Austrians who will view it. The transcontinental trek was financed in part by the German office of the U.S. TRavel and Tourism Admin.

N414H, believed to be one of three Ford Tri-motors still flying, belongs to Scenic Airlines, which acquired it in 1977 from barnstormer Chuck LeMaster. Scenic used the venerable aircraft for sightseeing flights over Las Vegas before retiring it in 1980 to ceremonial and promotional duties. …

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