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Wed, Jul 09, 2003

Upgraded: Edsel Ford II

National Air Tour's Honorary Chairman

The National Air Tour 2003, the historic flight re-creation of the National Air Tours that took place from 1925 through 1931, has just announced that Edsel B. Ford II will act as honorary chair for the 2003 Tour.

"The National Air Tour 2003 is privileged to have Edsel B. Ford II as honorary chair," said Greg Herrick, president of the Aviation Foundation of America, the nonprofit organization that is coordinating the Tour.

"His support mirrors his grandfather’s role in the original Tours and reminds us of the vision that Edsel B. Ford held not only for the automobile, but also for aviation."

In the Air Again

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 (MI), area on September 8, and present the trophies to participants at the completion.

Weather permitting, more than 25 rare, vintage aircraft, including at least three Ford Tri-motors, will fly approximately 4,000 miles during a 17-day period. The Tour is expected to return to Dearborn on September 24.

"My great-grandfather’s and grandfather’s spirits live on through the vision they created for Ford Motor Company," Mr. Ford said. "Now, with the National Air Tour 2003, we are reminded of their significant contributions to aviation as well.

As we reflect on 100 years of powered flight and the 100th anniversary of Ford Motor Company, it is only appropriate that we recall the innovators and innovations through the decades that helped build our nation’s systems of transportation."

"Edsel B. Ford and his father, Henry, held a pioneering vision for aviation," Herrick said.

"Our nation’s aviation transportation system owes them a huge debt of gratitude. They developed, demonstrated and promoted the safety, reliability and necessity of a modern aviation infrastructure across the United States that would support commercial flight."

Officially known in 1927 as the National Air Tour, the Tour was commonly 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.

FMI: www.NationalAirTour.org

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