Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ford Tri-Motor Air Zoo's 1929 5AT

I only accidentally discovered this old plane was visiting, seven minutes from my home.  I kept hearing it fly over the area the last two days and finally snapped a photo of it yesterday.  I tweeted and Facebooked a photo to ask 'what kind of plane is this?' and lo and behold, I got an answer right away! 

700 WLW radio reporter,  Bill Rinehart, one of my best informational guys on Social Media, gave me the answer soon after I posted the photograph online.  He posted links galore and I then read this was at the Butler County aka Hamilton-Fairfield Airport, offering rides at $75 a person.  It was too hot to go out yesterday afternoon, so I waited until this morning.

I had no money for such a flight, nor such a desire on such a hot day.  Nevertheless, I had to see this old plane. In 1929, this was "luxury travel" with a steward bringing you a boxed lunch to eat on your flight.  It held eight passengers and flew 100 mph.  It has three engines and is quite loud I read and was told. Back in the day, the commercial flying kind were lined with balsa wood paneling inside to help insulate the noise a little better.   What I saw today is a stripped down version of the 1929 model.

Yellow wooden step box is under the door, out of view.

View out the left window from a seat.

It took the pilot an hour and 10 minutes to fly it from Columbus, Ohio to Hamilton, Ohio which is a two hour car drive.  Once they got six people to pay, it would go up in the air for a flight.  Folks were waiting in a hangar with fans and it was quite a nice retreat from the sweltering 90 something morning heat, with dewpoints in the swampy 70's.

I took photos of the outside and walked inside the plane (the yellow box is the step up into the door) and imagined what this might be like in the air.  There is a window at every seat, though if you were near one of the side engines, views would not be as panoramic straight out to the side.  Still, it would be a kick.

I loved listening to older guys talk about the plane and had I not been so overcome by the heat (A personal health issue, nothing to do with this plane!) I could've stayed for hours to listen to airplane talk.

It is leaving Hamilton today and heading to Kalamazoo, Michigan for tomorrow's ride dates.

I wish I had learned more in ADVANCE of this as I would've helped promote it online and called a few people that are plane buffs, not on social media.

For more information, see this link.
More history, click here

Want a virtual tour? Bill also supplied me with this link

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