1. Aha! You will be visiting Michigan shortly. Sadly on opposite coast to my location. If you choose to drive towards Chicago you will pass by my door, so an open invite for a good brew or two for all.

    1. German JU-52. If nothing else, look at the D in the registration number (Deutschland)

      The Fords did not have cowlings over the engines, making the fact that they are radials much more apparent.

      1. Also, the Ford has a high wing while the Junkers is a low wing.

        As an aside, I think I would rather fly in one of those than most modern airliners.

    2. The Fords were covered with corrugated sheet metal, looking like they were made from aluminum roofing. Every company making larger aircraft built trimotors [1] for a while, mostly before they started putting cowlings over the radial engines[2], and it might be difficult telling them apart, but the Fords were distinctive, and that’s clearly not one.

      1. Why three motors? Circa 1929, engines were still rather unreliable for use where loss of power meant falling out of the sky. Two engines doubled the chance of failure, and really didn’t supply a spare, since most airplanes did not yet have enough power to lose half and still reach a landing strip. But a trimotor could fly on two engines, giving a much better chance of completing the flight with a landing rather than a crash. And maybe the flight engineer could crawl into the nose or out on the wing and repair the stopped engine.

      There was a second wave of trimotors in the jet age. Although a twin-jet airliner could fly on one engine, the FAA considered that the chance of the second engine failing was too high for a twin-jet passenger plane to ever be over water and over 1 hour from land at single-engine speed. Four engines was safe enough in two engine failures, and so was 3 engines and enough emergency power that the plane could limp in with only 1 running. So at least four manufacturers built tri-jets from the late 1960s until the FAA began relaxing the regulations. (Around 2000, I think.) Now the FAA will approve some twin-jets (with proven engine reliability) to be several hours flight time from land, leaving just a few ocean-crossing routes for the 4 engined 747 or Airbus. And with the larger engines that are now possible, a twin-jet can be as large as the airlines want in terms of time to turn the plane around at the airport. (That’s a little smaller than a 747.)

      2. In WWI, aircraft designers were so worried about keeping enough airflow over aircooled engines that they made the radial engines rotate. The crankshaft was fixed, the engine rotated around it, and the propeller was attached to the engine. In the 1920’s, designers realized that they could get enough airflow by sticking a non-rotating radial fully out in the air-stream. (Of course, you had to limit the time running the engine on he ground.) But in the early 1930’s, the American agency NACA did a lot of wind tunnel work and discovered that a properly designed cowling would both improve the cooling airflow and reduce wind resistance.

      So a typical 1930 airliner for transatlantic flight (routed over Halifax, Greenland, and Iceland) would have three motors with the cylinders exposed, but a 1935 one would have two motors and NACA cowlings.

  2. That looks like a pre-war JU-52. And a quick search confirms it. It has looks only an engineer or plane nerd could love.

    1. If I remember correctly (at my age who knows) Hugo Junkers started out as a boiler engineer. Every time I see that plane I wonder who shoveled the coal into the furnace.

  3. Hope she is not headed east for some of the nasty reasons, and is just an over powering urge to be grandma.

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