Ford airliner to visit airpark

WINTERSVILLE – An airliner from the past will be making a scheduled arrival at the Jefferson County Airpark in June.

One of the two Ford Tri-Motor airliners that make the summer Experimental Aircraft Association tour, will be staying at the airport June 3-5, with public availability from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all three days.

The Tri-Motor is the first American airliner to go into widespread scheduled service. During its tour stops, the old airliner offers rides to the public and a chance to see what commercial air travel was like in its earliest days.

EAA Chapter 859 is playing host to the old three-engined airliner, and needs to raise $3,000 to help cover costs of the visit. The chapter will be releasing details about fund-raising efforts soon.

The EAA said the plane coming to Wintersville is owned by the Kalamazoo Air Zoo, in Kalamazoo, Mich. The aircraft was built by Ford Motor Co. in 1929 and first was in service for National Air Transport for freight and mail flights. In 1945, it was fully overhauled by Monroe Airways and was used for Grand Canyon Tours and firefighting service. The plane was rebuilt by Kal-Air in 1991 and then was donated to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo.

The Air Zoo is an aviation museum and interactive exhibit center.

The EAA’s Tin Goose, also built in 1929, makes national tours each summer. It made a stop several years ago at New Philadelphia.

Up to nine passengers may fly aboard at any time, all with window seats.

The national EAA said fees for flying a tour on the restored airliner are $70 for advanced tickets for adults. Walk-up tickets during the visit are $75 for adults and $50 for children 17 and under. Limited availability copilot seating tickets may be purchased only on site during the visit for $125.