Ford Trimotor

Few people today realize that the Ford Motor Company dabbled in aviation as well. To compete with Boeing and others, the Ford Tri-motor, also known as “The Tin Goose” was produced from 1928 to 1933. It had a corrugated metal skin, control cables mounted outside the aircraft and 3 Pratt & Whitney R985 engines for power. It was had a crew of 3: pilot, copilot and stewardess.  The stewardess was there for more than just handing out sandwiches and drinks.  In the early days of flight, she also had to be a registered nurse to handle any emergencies inflight.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) flies a 1929 model of the aircraft. They offer 12 minute flights for $70.00. It is a chance to fly in an original aircraft and enjoy 1920’s and 30’s state of the art transportation.

Queen of the skies in 1929, the Ford Trimotor airliner.

Queen of the skies in 1929, the Ford Trimotor airliner.

If not for the modern dress and aircraft in the background, this could be 1929 again.

Ford Trimotor03The true meaning of “fly-by-wire”

Ford Trimotor04Yep, those are the control cables running along the outside of the aircraft. Made for easy inspection for fraying cables.

Ford Trimotor12One of the three Pratt and Whitney R985 engine that powers this proud, old bird.

Ford Trimotor06State-of-the-art, spacious and comfortable seating.  Every seat is a window seat.  Every seat is an aisle seat.  No one gets stuck in the middle seat.

Ford Trimotor05A cockpit with second-to-none avionics and control features.  The nifty, thrifty Cessna 150 has more avionics than this.

Ford Trimotor07Boarding is quick and easy.  No TSA hassles here.

Ford Trimotor08Engine start is a little smoky.

Ford Trimotor09The proud bird takes again to the skies.

Ford Trimotor10Back on terra firma. Taxing back to the parking spot.

Ford Trimotor11Okay 747 jockeys, let’s see you fly your plane with your arm out the window.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this fine old aircraft. A look at this aircraft shows how brave and intrepid not just the pilots, but the passengers were to fly in these planes.  For the day, it was state-of-the-art and the height of chic to travel in.  To see it still flying is wonderful.

Just a note, the EAA has a great museum and hosts one of the largest airshows in Oshkosh, Wi. every summer.  Their website is full of nice pictures of their aircraft and a calendar of when some of their aircraft might be in your area.

Copyright © 2015  John J Campo

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