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Western Air Express Fokker F-32 Flying Pullman


Model ID#:





Flying Pullman







P. Matt

Model Scale:




historical significance

First Albuquerque Visit:    1930

SKU: Model-0119 Categories: ,

Additional Information:

The Fokker F-32 was a passenger aircraft built by the Fokker Aircraft Corporation of America in 1929 in their Teterboro, New Jersey factory. It was the first four-engine aircraft designed and built in the United States. Only ten aircraft were manufactured and they saw limited commercial service due to high operational cost and serious problems with the cooling of the aft engines. The F-32 was plagued by the overheating of the rearward facing engines. Fokker also built this aircraft out of laminated plywood and no inspection ports were included in the design. Over time, stress and moisture caused failure of glued joints in the Fokker aircraft. Because of the lack of inspection access, and the crash of an F-10 that killed the famous football coach, Knute Rockne, all Fokker aircraft were eventually condemned. One of the Fokker F-32’s ended up on top of a gas station in Los Angeles.

Western Air Express (WAE) was based in Los Angeles, California and began operations on May 23, 1926 with an initial route from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City carrying U.S. mail and occasional passengers. On May 15, 1929, the carrier began the first scheduled passenger airline service to New Mexico with a route from Los Angeles to Albuquerque that made stops at Kingman and Holbrook, Arizona using a Fokker F-10 tri-motor. Two weeks later on June 1, 1929, the route was extended eastward from Albuquerque to Kansas City with stops at Amarillo and Wichita. WAE operated many other aircraft types during its service within New Mexico including the Fokker F-7, F-14, F-32, F-Super Universal, Douglas M2, Lockheed 5A Vega, and Clark GA-43. Some of these aircraft however were only used to transport mail which was the primary focus for airline operations during that time. A ticket office was opened in downtown Albuquerque at the Hotel Franciscan. The Western Air Express name was changed to Western Air Lines in 1941 and the carrier nearly merged with Continental Airlines in 1978.

Western Air Express purchased two of the F-32 giant passenger liners which they operated out of the Alhambra Airport in Alhambra, California and later at the Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale, California, flying to the Oakland International Airport and other West Coast destinations. WAE began service with F-32, considered an air yacht, in 1930.

One of the Western Air Express Fokker F-32’s is seen landing at Oxnard Field in 1930. The plane was on its way to California to be delivered to WAE for their West Coast service.

A Fokker F-32 is seen being serviced at Oxnard Field in Albuquerque.