The 5-AT Ford Tri-motor is a rugged, dependable transport airplane which became the most famous Ford Tri-motor aircraft.
The incredible durability of the aircraft was well-proven by NC9683, the thirty-ninth 5-AT built by Ford. On April 12, 1929, 5-AT was sold to Southwest Air Fast Express (SAFE). The company had built 199 %-AT models. It has flown the routes of Colonial Air Transport and later, flew the transcontinental route between Cleveland and Los Angeles. In May 1934, the 5-AT was transferred to the Chicago base and in 1935, it retired from the American Airlines. It was sold to TACA International Airlines and operated in Nicaragua. In 1946, the 5-AT was sent to Mexico, wherein it was used for passenger and cargo hauling until 1954, then, it was sold to a crop-dusting company in Montana. The aircraft ended up beside the a small airfield as someones living quarters.
In 1960, American Airlines required NC9683 and was restored. It was seen flying public relations tours promoting the airline. In November 1962, the NC9683 had made the first regular commercial flight from the new Dulles International Airport, Virginia. The NC9683 was donated to the National Air and Space Museum, hanging in the Air Transportation gallery.