Henry Ford Made Flying Cars. What Happened?

Juan David Campolargo
3 min readSep 5, 2022

In a parallel world, The Ford Motor Company would have been a pioneer in flying cars.

Henry Ford even developed some prototypes.

BUT WHAT happened to the “Model T of the Air”?

A story of death, war, and the challenge to innovate.

This is the Ford Flivver and it was a one-sitter aircraft.

This was going to be the “Model T of the Air.”

This was one of Henry Ford’s dreams.

He wanted to do what the Model T did for cars with planes.

It was going well and everyone was excited.


The death of the talented 25-year-old pilot, Harry J. Brooks brought a halt to all plans and slowed down any possible progress in flying cars or personal airplanes.

After the death happened, Henry Ford felt awful about the incident, and his dream of making aviation affordable died.

But what happened?

Harry Brooks was the only test pilot for the Flivver and he was so good that Charles Lindbergh trusted him to fly Lindbergh’s mother to Mexico city at one point.

In fact, the Flivver was only flown by Brooks and Lindbergh just once.

The Flivver was a small project and never became a priority.

However, Brooks was relentless and wanted to use the Flivver to break the distance record for light airplanes taking off from Detroit and landing in Miami.

Everything seemed to be working normally until Brooks did not show up in Miami.

A search started and seaplanes spotted the Flivver near Melbourne submerged in water.

The reason for the crash? Engineers realized that a wire had snapped which left the Brooks with an inability to give the plane direction.

Henry Ford still wanted to continue in the aviation industry and the company even produced the B-24 Liberator bombers for WWII.

But Henry Ford never really pushed again for flying cars.

This story is an example of the challenges of innovation.

This does not mean we never try again. It means we need to try again at a different time with a different approach.

I’m sure even Henry Ford would be amazed to see things like flying bathtubs.

The world is exciting!



Juan David Campolargo

I do and share “stuff” that makes people more optimistic, ambitious, and curious. Learn more about me and read more (https://www.juandavidcampolargo.com/)