Help Support the Tour!
Original Newspaper Articles
Route Map


Read Tour Updates
Pilots, Planes and People of the Original Tours
Follow the Planes in Flight!
Re-creating the National Air Tours
Listing of All Original Tour Planes

Aviation Foundation
of America, Inc.
121 5th Ave. N.W.
Suite 300
New Brighton, MN 55112


A 501(c) (3) public charity

Press Releases

Suzanne Fedoruk: National Air Tour 2003
Paige Johnson: Ford Motor Company



The National Air Tour 2003 Announces Ford Motor Company as Sponsor

OSHKOSH, Wis., (July 30, 2003) — Ford Motor Company, the second-largest automaker in the world, is celebrating 100 years of powered flight and its rich aviation heritage by sponsoring the National Air Tour 2003 — the historic flight re-creation this September of the National Air Tours that took place from 1925 through 1931.

“Ford Motor Company and Ford dealers were among the original sponsor of the Tours. We’re thrilled that Ford is again supporting the National Air Tours and celebrating America’s aviation heritage,” said Greg Herrick, president of the Aviation Foundation of America, the nonprofit organization that is coordinating the Tour. “We all know it was the Wright brothers who discovered powered flight. But it was Ford Motor Company under the direction of Henry and Edsel Ford, who helped our nation realize the potential of civil and commercial aviation.”

In addition to sponsoring the historic flight re-creation, Tour officials announced on July 7 that Edsel B. Ford II is the honorary chairperson of the National Air Tour 2003. Just as his grandfather Edsel B. Ford did for the original Tours, Edsel B. Ford II will flag-off the start of the Tour when it departs the Dearborn, Mich., area Sept. 8, and present the trophies to participants at the completion.

“The National Air Tour 2003 provides a perfect opportunity to reflect on the dreams and passions that have marked aviation history, and inspired my great-grandfather’s and grandfather’s contributions to aviation,” Edsel B. Ford II said. “The stories of the Wrights’ first flight and how Henry Ford brought automotive travel and commercial flight to the masses are universally inspirational, as they really changed the course of history.”

Ford Supported Original National Air Tours
The original Air Tours were conceived by a group of Detroit businessmen, receiving significant support from Edsel and Henry Ford, to promote the safety and reliability of aviation. By supporting the Tours and lending the trusted Ford name, they helped convince a skeptical public that passenger flight was a sensible means of transportation.

Officially known in 1927 as the National Air Tour, the Tour was frequently referred to as the Ford Air Tour. Edsel B. Ford, a staunch supporter, provided the elegant trophy and Ford Motor Company provided financial support. Ford dealers along the various Air Tour routes often sponsored the Tour stops.

Ford and Aviation

Edsel and Henry Ford contributed greatly toward the development of civil aviation by supporting ventures such as the National Air Tours, the development of radio navigation, terminals, hangars and other airport infrastructure, as well as all-metal transport aircraft. In fact, it was Ford Motor Company that pioneered the first successful radio-navigated flights and built the first concrete runway in the world at Ford Airport in Dearborn.

The National Air Tours Past and Present
On Sept. 8, the National Air Tour and its all-volunteer pilots and crew will take to the air again in Dearborn, Mich. More than 25 rare, vintage aircraft will fly approximately 4,000 miles during a 17-day period, weather permitting. The Tour will bring living aviation history to people in 26 cities, through the media and over the Internet at The Tour is expected to return to Dearborn on Sept. 24.

The National Air Tour 2003 is an official U.S. Centennial of Flight celebration that highlights the innovators and innovations of the Golden Age of Aviation — the period in aviation history between the two World Wars. The Golden Age marked a time of great advancements in civil aviation, spurred on by such ventures as air tours and air races.

The original National Air Tours helped build America’s modern system of air transportation by showcasing the latest advancements in aircraft design, encouraging the development of airports and promoting the safety and reliability of civil aviation. In total, the National Air Tours visited 114 cities in their seven-year history. The cities often prepared for the Tour’s arrival by improving their airports and in some cases, building a new landing field.

Celebrating the Centennial of Flight
In addition to Ford Motor Company’s support of the National Air Tour 2003, Ford Motor Company is celebrating the 100th anniversary of flight through its presenting sponsorship of EAA’s Countdown to Kitty Hawk – a centennial celebration of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight, an innovation that forever changed our world. Led by EAA, presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Microsoft Flight Simulator and Eclipse Aviation, this yearlong series of inspirational events honors the innovation and determination it takes to make world-changing dreams a reality. Countdown to Kitty Hawk features an interactive touring pavilion and the world’s most-accurate 1903 Wright Flyer reproduction that will exclusively re-enact the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Dec. 17, 2003 — exactly 100 years later.

Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is the world's second-largest automaker with approximately 350,000 employees, and dealerships in more than 200 markets on six continents. Its automotive brands include Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercury, Aston Martin and Volvo. Its automotive-related services include Ford Credit, Hertz and Quality Care. The company’s world headquarters is in Dearborn, Mich. Ford Motor Company officially observed its 100th anniversary on June 16, 2003. Additional information can be found on the company’s Web site at

Aviation Foundation of America
Minneapolis-based Aviation Foundation of America is a 501(c)3 public charity designed to preserve and promote America’s aviation heritage at a grassroots level through initiatives such as historic flight re-creations, airport preservation projects and educational programs. The Aviation Foundation of America is an official partner on the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission along with the FAA, NASA and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

For additional information about the National Air Tour 2003 including a complete list of Tour stops and historic photos, please visit

# # #

Read The Book Online


Read The Book Online


Read The Book Online

Aviation Foundation of America, Inc. ©2002 All Rights Reserved