Saturday, September 21, 2013

Flying in a genuine 1929 Ford Tri-Motor

1928 Ford Tri-Motor at the Frederick Municipal Airport
Today my son and I had the opportunity to fly in a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor aircraft. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is performing a tour with two of these beautiful aircraft. The aircraft that came to the Frederick Municipal Airport was from the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.
My son and I went to the airport to look at the aircraft and ended up paying for two seats on the aircraft. The cost for an adult is $75 and for children under 17 it is $50. It is free to fly with a child under 2 years of age. Yes, it is pricy, but how often do you get this opportunity to share this type of experience with your children.

We were the first to enter the aircraft so we sat in front. The aisle is very narrow but passable. We were
Inside of the 1929 Ford Tri-Motor
in the aircraft for a very short time before the engines started and we were on our way. Keep in mind that when they start the engines there is a guy outside of the aircraft with a fire extinguisher. Practical, but not something I generally see with modern aircraft. Alas, it was not needed!

After the short taxi to runway 23 up into the air we went. The total time for taxing, takeoff, flight, landing, and taxing is about 20 minutes. The cruising speed is 90 mph which in modern terms may seem slow but this was fast for 1929. For an added enjoyment it just so happens that the flight path took us over our house. This added just one more fine touch to the experience.  We landed and made it back to the loading / unloading area, deplaned, and took some pictures.
The cockpit of the 1929 Ford Tri-Motor

If you are interested in either seeing the plane and its history or taking a ride please take a look at the website for the upcoming tour locations and dates. If you are looking for possibly a once in a lifetime activity for the family or just yourself then the EAA tour is something it check out. It will be visiting the following cities through the middle of November 2013 (but please check the website in case there are changes):
Manassas, VA
Wichita, KS
Newton, KS
Oklahoma City, OK
Myrtle Beach, SC
Fort Worth, TX
Monroe, NC
Columbia, SC
St. Simons Island, GA
Georgetown, TX
Savannah, GA
Jacksonville, FL

Note to self: As I learned after the flight I had asked my 3 year old son "Do you want to go for a ride?" And of course he said yes. At the age of 3 he has logged a number of hours flying commercial; however, I should have asked if he wanted to go fly. I think he took "ride" to mean driving around the airport. After we landed he said he didn't understand why we left the ground. I laughed to myself and this experience and his comment is one that I won't soon forget.