The idea of the Stinson Airliner was
that of financier, E. L. Cord, who owned the Aubourn-Cord-Dusenburg
Cord also owned Lycoming, which was the engine
manufacturer as well as Century Airlines.
This Stinson Model T airliner was built in 1931
at the Stinson Aircraft Factory in Wayne, Michigan.
The fuselage is welded steel tube construction,
the wings are built of wood and then the entire structure
is covered with fabric.
Many early airline companies used the Stinson Tri-Motor
including Eastern, Delta, American, Braniff, TWA and United.
Cheaper to fly than many of its competitors, such
as the Ford Tri-Motor, and competitively priced at less
than $26,000, the Stinson Tri-Motor was the hottest thing
on the market. Sporting
hot and cold water, toilet facilities, a cabin heater
and a two-way radio, the Tri-Motor could carry a pilot,
mail, baggage and 10 passengers.
This aircraft began life with Century
Airlines, which eventually became part of American Airlines.
After airline service, it was used for rides and
World War II it was put back into airline service with
Wein Alaska Airlines.
After the war, it was retired from service and
It deteriorated rapidly as people robbed parts,
cut pieces off of it and even lived in it.
Bill Brennand of Wisconsin found the aircraft in
derelict condition in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1970.
It was questionable whether it could be restored
to flying condition but a tremendous amount of technical
data was found and restoration began in 1977.
It was restored over a period of 4 1/2 years using
over 10,000 man-hours.
After making its first post-restoration flight
in 1981, Bill used it to “barnstorm” passengers around
the country at different events and air shows over the
won many awards with the aircraft until Kermit purchased
it at an auction in 1999.
The only other
high-wing Stinson Tri-Motor left in existence is owned
by Greg Herrick in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When I flew this aircraft back from Oshkosh, Wisconsin
in August of 2000, it was only a short flight over to
Minneapolis where we hooked up with Greg for a photo flight
and got pictures of these last 2 rare aircraft flying
In 1930, a Century
Airlines Stinson Tri-Motor flight from Chicago to St.
Louis took 2 hours and forty minutes and cost $13.95.
I think the food was good as well.