OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – They called her the ‘Tin Goose’.
The Ford Motor Company made fewer than 200 of their Tri-Motor airplanes (three motors made people feel a little safer in the early days of air travel).
A few of them were actually in service long enough for pilot Dave Ross to see them island hopping over Lake Erie.
He recalls, “At Port Clinton, Ohio, Island Airlines, we used to go over there when I was a kid to look at the Tri-Motor. I never dreamed I would get to fly it but I’ve been doing this for a number of years now.”
Ross thinks there are fewer than 20 of these aircraft left, a half-dozen still fly.
This is the only one for which passengers can still buy tickets.
“It’s kind of rattly now,” smiles Ross, “But it was the hot set-up back then. A lot of them had airmail contracts. They hauled mail and people.”
Richard and Connie Moore were among the first in line.
They live a short walk from the Waynoka, Okla., airfield that, for a short time, served as a hub for Transcontinental Air Transport.
These aircraft would fly into Waynoka in daylight.
Passengers would have dinner, then get on a train for a nighttime journey to New Mexico and points west.
Connie Moore said flying in the Tin Goose was, “Kind of a historical re-enactment, in my mind. It was really cool. That’s why I dressed in 1920s fashions today.”
Referring to the restaurant chain that served railroaders and the TAT, Connie jokes, “Now we’re headed to the Harvey House for dinner.”
This Tri-Motor began its service in 1929, flew the East Coast, then Cuba and Central America.
It saw service as a smoke jumper, and for the past 30-plus years, as a time traveler.
“It’s a good, honest airplane,” Ross assures. “It will do anything you ask of it as long as you’re not in a hurry to get results.”
Taking ticket holders back to the first steps of what became the world of air travel we know today.
This old Tri-Motor helped start that takeoff and still flies.
If you’re interested in seeing the aircraft, it’s parked on the tarmac at the Sundance Airfield all weekend.
To purchase tickets for a short flight, go to www.eaa.org/eaa/events-and-experiences/fly-the-ford-eaa-ford-tri-motor-airplane-tour.