Ford Tri-Motor to offer rides March 5-8
“We’re so excited about this,” said Theresa Condas, an active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association chapter of the Florida Keys. “And it’s so inexpensive to ride. It’s really a great opportunity for people in the Keys.”
The chapter is sponsoring the arrival and subsequent tours of an immaculate 1928 Ford Tri-Motor, the world’s first mass-produced airliner. Passengers will travel back to the early days of what was considered “luxurious” commercial air travel.
The Ford Tri-Motor — or the “Tin Goose” as its known — was first built by the Ford Motor Company in the late 1920s. At the time, commercial airline service was sporadic and most concentrated on ferrying mail for the U.S. Postal Service. In 1925, Ford Motor Company purchased Stout Aircraft Company and became the first successful American airliner.
The particular plane that is coming to the Keys — the “5-AT-B” — has a storied history. It was constructed in 1928 and has seen service as airliner over the Grand Canyon in the 1930s and later in Honduras, to a showpiece as part of the legendary Harrah’s auto and aircraft collection in Nevada. This Ford Tri-Motor, owned by the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, is flown on tour through a lease agreement with EAA,
The Tri-Motor can carry up to 10 passengers at a time, and every seat has a window.
Passengers are encouraged to bring a camera to record and share this experience. Tickets purchased in advance are $70 for adults; walk up tickets are $75 and $50 for children 17 years old and under.
Condas said the Tin Goose is on an extended tour of Florida with stops in Sarasota, Naples, Tamiami and other cities.
“We’re hoping to have a Ford car of the same vintage on display at the same time,” Condas said. Guests will also have the option of upgrading the ticket for a front-row view of the action from the co-pilot’s seat.
Ticket holders will have the chance to fly aboard the Ford Tri-Motor starting Thursday afternoon on March 5 through Sunday, March 8. Multiple trips are scheduled every day. In addition, there will be a pancake breakfast on Saturday, March 7 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the EAA museum at Marathon Airport.
Book your spot on the historic “Tin Goose” through a secure flight-reservation system at www.flytheford.org, EAA’s Tri-Motor tour website and select Marathon. You can also pre-book a flight by calling 1-800-843-3612.
The Southernmost Chapter 1241 of the EAA is one of the largest clubs in Florida with approximately 210 members. Members come from all parts of the U.S. and around the globe. The chapter is based in Marathon. The backgrounds of members vary and include military, commercial and general aviation pilots and enthusiasts. The club members built and operate an Air Museum at the Marathon Airport, complete with lots of aviation history including a Beech 18 and a DC3 from Ozark Airlines available for viewing.