The plane first flew on 29 January 1927 and was delivered to the customer on March 9th. After an initial testing period, the Navy based A7526 as NSF Anacostia, near Washington DC and started using it as a liaison transport for senior commanders and civilian leaders (there's record that the Assistant Secretary of the Navy flew cross-country in it at least once), often flying between Washington and San Diego, CA.
The XJR-1 didn't last long, as it was badly damaged by a tornado on 18 November 1927, with the empenage crushed and the right wing broken. The plane was disassembled and sent to the Naval Aircraft Factory in August 1929, but it was judged beyond economical repair and scrapped; the plane was officially stricken from the records on 30 April1930. In the eight and a half months of service, it accumulated 971 hours of flight time.
The Navy eventually bought eight more Fords, two 4-AT-E/JR-2 (later RR-2), three 5-AT-Cs as JR-3 and one more 5-AT-C as a RR-4, as well as two 4-AT-Ds as RR-5s (both of which have survived and are at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. The Trimotors served both the Navy and the Marine Corps until 1937.
- This plane also shows up in an earlier Vintage Air post, Four Fords at Ford.
- The Davis-Monthan Register's page on the plane
- Pensacola Museum's page on their Ford