If you’ve ever wondered what a time machine looks like, I’m pretty sure I rode in one yesterday. This magic ride was in a nearly century old airplane called the Ford Tri-Motor.
Ford designed this plane in 1925, producing just 199 of them before suspending production in 1933.
Think about it. Just 199 of these planes were ever made. Many are museum pieces. Some have been lost to time.
Only a handful remain airworthy today and I got to ride in one!!
This plane is a product of a time when air travel was accessible only to the wealthy. You wouldn’t be allowed to board this plane in casual clothes as people were expected to dress up for travel. People wore their Sunday best when traveling and flying was an expensive, special occasion.
The plane is all metal construction with elegant wood paneling inside the cabin. The seats in this plane have been upgraded from the original wicker seats and were comfortable. There are curtains at the windows and each seat has a light and air conditioning. There’s even a lavatory in the back with an incredibly narrow door.
I have read that passengers back in the day were treated to lavish food and drinks even though I can’t imagine where that might have been stored in this cramped, narrow space.
Before taking off, our pilot demonstrated accessing the luggage hold – in the wings! That was a helpful reminder of how little baggage people carried with them back in the day. My typical carry-on bag would barely fit in there and would leave no room for anyone else’s stuff.
I was on the first flight of the day – there were twelve passengers including one who paid extra to sit in the co-pilot’s seat. I found it surprisingly comfortable given the age of the plane and the fact that three large motors are pretty noisy.
From inside this plane, looking out at a largely rural area below felt like I had slipped back a century to view the world in a whole new way.
You do fly relatively low. In this picture from around landing, it looks like the plane and the shadow are racing!
It was an extraordinary ride.
I also want to give my pilot credit for the most gentle landing I have ever experienced in any plane- big or small. It was smooth, like melted butter.
This plane is based at Port Clinton, Ohio. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) pays to travel with it, giving rides at local airports across the region every year. My friend Darlene is involved with the EAA and was key to bringing it to Chillicothe this weekend.
Want to take a ride? You can do it today at the Ross County, Ohio Airport or check the schedule for another upcoming opportunity. Check that out here. You can find information on other EAA events on their website too. And boy, they do some great events.
If you’re on the fence, it’s worth the drive, the money or whatever else you’re worried about. I seriously considered taking a second ride before we even landed. That’s how much I enjoyed the experience. Instead, I settled for watching it take off and land before heading out on the next part of my Saturday adventure.
If given the opportunity, I will absolutely go again and encourage you to go enjoy it as well. After all, how often do you get to fly in a time machine?
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