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Ford-Van Auken 1909 monoplane
Edsel Ford, the son of automobile pioneer Henry Ford, worked part time in the Ford factory where, in 1909, he met a Ford employee, Charles Van Auken, who had bought construction drawings for a Bleriot XI monoplane.
Knowing that Edsel was deeply interested in aviation, his father asked several Ford employees to help Van Auken build the airplane. Ford also donated a 28-horsepower Model T engine.
The airplane was test flown by Van Auken on the Ford farm in Dearborn, Michigan. It rose a few feet above the ground, then settled back in a cloud of dust. Henry suggested the airplane needed more power and gave Van Auken a "hopped-up" engine.
A second flight attempt was made from the Fort Wayne parade grounds in Detroit in 1910. The airplane staggered into the air, but Van Auken lost control and crashed into a tree.
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