The Ford Tri-Motor aircraft is known as the first luxury airliner, it redefined world travel by marking the beginning of commercial flights.
It’s America’s first mass-produced airliner that dates back all the way to the 1920s and at Pitt-Greenville airport people had the opportunity to fly in one.
“You’ll get to see eastern North Carolina from a bird’s eye perspective in a historic airplane… its a tremendous opportunity to kind of go back in time and smell the smells and hear the thunder of the engines and see what the people of 1929 would have seen if they had the opportunity to fly in one of these,” says Brad Durrett, EAA Chapter 960 President.
There is a pilot shortage that could impact the aviation industry in the next few years.
The Experimental Aircraft Association hopes that these tours can spark the interest of those wanting to learn more about flying airplanes.
Pilot John Hartke shares what it’s like to fly the Ford Tri-Motor.
“It’s a window into the past that we don’t get to see very often, this airplane flies different. I call it antique flying qualities compared to the new airplanes and that’s just what they’re used to in those days and it’s not difficult once you’re used to it but it is different than modern airplanes,” he says.
The revenue from the Ford Tri-Motor tours help cover maintenance and operation costs for the aircraft.
A team of volunteers from the EAA help with this process.
Eugene Sherrill is one of the volunteers with EAA Chapter 960 in Farmville, North Carolina.
“I’ve always loved airplanes but was never able to afford or be around airplanes or be a part of it until I joined the EAA chapter,” says Sherrill.
Each engine is a 450 horsepower radio engine and this ninety year old aircraft is still impressing people today.
“I recognized this as a real opportunity to take a ride in an antique aircraft that dates back to the 1920 I’m really excited that I took this chance and it was really an awesome ride I would recommend it to anybody,” says retired Navy Veteran Michael Metcalf.
If you would like more information on how to get involved with aviation you can check out the EAA’s website here.