|BNO/Serial::||BNO 40 / 2446|
|Length:||9 ft 6 inches|
|Width:||4 feet 8 inches|
|Speed:||NVF (Not very fast)|
|Drive Train:||4 x 4|
|Status||Static Display (It does run!)|
|Owner:||Estrella Warbirds Museum|
Hear One Run
Here is a piece of history, a World War II aircraft tug. In the early 1940's, when Ford Motor Company began to retool some of their manufacturing plants to military vehicle production, one vehicle took on a slight change from its civilian use. The classic Ford 9N tractor was quickly converted for use as an airplane tug.
Ford added cast iron plate around front and rear, and more than 1,000 pounds of cast iron weights over the front and rear axles to make it heavy, switched to four 6.50x20 rear tires, hydraulic brakes, an emergency brake, but the motor housing and steering wheel retained the looks of a classic Ford farm tractor. Approximately 10,000 of these converted tractors were placed on aircraft carriers, docks, and at foreign and domestic airports. Today only a handful still exist.
Manufactured by Ford and the Harry Ferguson Tractor Company, Inc., of Dearborn, MI manufactured these tugs from 1942 to 1944. They are commonly known as a "Ford Ferguson 9N" tractor.
In 1950's and 1960's, this particular tug was used on the Kleck Ranch in north Paso Robles, pulling an Oliver hay bailer. The tug was acquired by Jim Kelly in October, 2004, from Mr. Tom Cameron of Creston, who is now deceased. During restoration, it was found that the tug had been painted four or five times; original gray and then it appeared a a complete color of maroon. There was a hint of a name like "Aero America," perhaps an early airline service post was; a shade of tan, another of green and then gray. The rest of the tug was sun burst yellow (a bright florescent orange color) used in the 50's and 60's on Government flight lines. The tug also had a Western Airlines Serial number tag attached to the L/R fender, indicating that it belonged to and was used by them at some point.
This tug has a sheet metal box attached to the running board on the left side of the tractor, which looks like a battery box. It also had 24 volt "headlights" front and rear, indicating that it might have had a 24 volt (two 12 volt) battery at some time, possibly to be used to start airplanes.