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1928 Tri-Motor Available for Tours
updated: Feb 25, 2017, 2:00 PM

By Tony Galvan

A 1928 Ford Tri-Motor, also known as the Tin Goose, is on tour in the western U.S. has been hangared and flying out of the Lompoc Airport. Despite the bad weather I was able to get a flight last Thursday morning ahead of the rain. The aircraft is owned and maintained by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

The aircraft, named the City of Wichita, was delivered to Trans-continental Air Transport (TAT) on January 18, 1929 to begin the first coast-to-coast passenger air/rail service in the U.S.

The 51-hour train/plane trip began with the first leg on the Pennsylvania Railroad overnight from New York City to Columbus, Ohio From there passengers boarded a Ford Trimotor aircraft at Port Columbus International Airport that made fuel stops in Indianapolis, In, St. Louis, MO, Kansas City, MO, Wichita, KS and Waynoka, Ok. In Oklahoma you caught the Santa Fe Railway for an overnight trip to Clovis, NM, where you boarded a second Ford Tri-motor flight to Albuquerque,NM, Winslow, AZ.and finally to Glendale, CA.

One-way fare from New York to Glendale (including a lower berth each night on the train) was $338. On each flight everyone had a window and aisle seat, as you can see from the interior shot.

The Tri-Motor was unusual due to its corregated metal skin and control cables ran outside the fuselage. Instrumentation for the pilots was basic with engine gauges located outside next to each engine. The pilot and co-pilot monitored the engines from inside the cockpit.

The next stop for this Tri-Motor, NC9645, will be Camarillo Airport, February 23-26, 2017. Other stops in California include Long Beach Airport March 2-5, 2017 - Long Beach Airport/Daugherty Field and the Palm Springs Air Museum, March 16-19, 2017. Flights are $70 and worth the price to experience what air travel was like 90 years ago. With a cruising speed of 122 mph, life was just a bit more leisurely back then.

For details go to the EAA website.

Why is it called a Ford Tr-Motor? The aircraft concept and design was the result of an investment made by Henry Ford. The initial design came from the Stout Metal Aircraft Company, started by William Stout. The first models were horrible and Ford made drastic changes to protect his investment and the result was the Tri-Motor. Tri-Motors have flown with floats and skis for water and snow missions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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