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Throwback Thursday: Amon Carter’s 1931 Travel Air 5000

Vintage photograph of NAT president Paul Henderson, left, presenting the Travel Air 5000 #17 to Amon G. Carter as his good friend Will Rogers stands by at Meacham Field in 1931. (Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram)
Vintage photograph of NAT president Paul Henderson, left, presenting the Travel Air 5000 #17 to Amon G. Carter as his good friend Will Rogers stands by at Meacham Field in 1931. (Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram) Star-Telegram/Ron T. Ennis

In 1931, Star-Telegram founder Amon G. Carter Sr. became the proud owner of a Travel Air 5000.

The plane was a gift from National Air Transport who was replacing its Travel Air fleet with Ford Trimotors.

The ceremony, held at Fort Worth’s Municipal Airport, was front page news on the February 2, 1931 edition not because of Carter but because celebrity Will Rogers showed up to entertain the crowd.

“Rogers’ visit was unexpected by the several hundred people who gathered to see the big trimotored plane go through the first time on its way to Chicago carrying passengers and a cargo of air mail. Taken to the field before breakfast, the famous humorist inquired loudly and frequently upon his arrival, ‘When do we eat?,” the article said.

“Travel Air No. 17, a passenger plane bought by N.A.T. four years ago when the company experimented with combined service for a month, was rolled out on the concrete ramp. The plane had been flown to Fort Worth Friday afternoon and eventually will find its last resting place on Carter’s Shady Oak Farm at Lake Worth. Sunday morning it was the object of considerable curiosity. A large sign proclaimed it to be the gift ship.”

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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