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Saturday, April 08, 2017

Cruising Over Tallahassee in A Ford Tri-Motor

Today we flew in this Ford Tri-Motor

We woke up early this morning. Lulu wanted to go and visit some yard sales. I stayed home and read the morning newspaper. As I was reading - although I am hard of hearing - I heard an unmistakable sound outside. In the paper was a story about a Ford Tri-Motor visiting town for the weekend and giving rides. I ran outside just in time to catch a glimpse of this flying piece of history zooming overhead at the leisurely pace of 100 MPH.

When Lulu came home I told her about it. We called the airport and they said rides we $75 and $50 for kids. Lulu told me to take I ride - I insisted she go along. We got dressed - and in minutes we could see the plane on the ground. We went into the hangar - signed on the dotted line - and paid $150 in tens.

The planes was beautiful and there were very few people there - maybe two dozen. After a little safety talk - we hopped in with 9 passengers - 2 crew. The pilot started the 3 Pratt and Whitney 500 HP engines one at a time. They chugged to life and we taxied down to the end of runway 36.. We were going to be taking off due north. It was cool feeling the tail come up first - this is a tail dragging aircraft

The sky was a perfect dark blue dome. There may have been a 10 MPG wind from the north - buffeting the plane just a bit.

The Ford Tri-Motor was build by Henry Ford in Detroit for 1928 to 1933. 199 were made - Ford lost money on it. He copied it from the famous corrugated aluminum Junkers of Nazi fame. When Ford tried to market it in Europe he was sued and he lost to Junker from copyright infringement. The planes cruises at 105 MPH. It was the first plane used for commercial passenger service. Pan Am used this very plane to fly from Key West to Havana Cuba. This plane worked for Cubana Airlines for 20 years. As late as the 1970's the Ford Tri-Motor was used as a "school bus" to haul kids every day from an island in Lake Erie to the shore school.

Our flight took about ½ hour. We circled the town and the big windows and slow speed allowed for great picture taking. When we got back - another group was waiting. We hopped in our car and went to the FSU spring football game. When we got inside the stadium (free VIP parking - free tickets) we asked the fans if they saw the old plane go over. They said yes - and we said "that was us."

Built in 1928 - a piece of flying history
Three 450 HP engines

Rides $75
This turned into Eastern Airlines
cables moving controls on outside of aircraft
9 seats - everyone a window seat
Corrugated aluminum
Airplanes use roster
Doak Campbell Stadium
FSU red roofs
Right before spring football game
The band was there
White Florida Department of Education -
brown civic center arena where we play basketball
Stewart Pond behind our old house
Our house - the two plain black roofs

Our white driveway to Seminole Drive
More FSU pix 
Landing on North-South runway 
Tower at Tallahassee
One of three engines

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