Wings of History: Northern Virginia aviation enthusiasts cruise the skies in 1928 Ford Tri-Motor
By Andrew Farewell, For InsideNoVa
Jun 13, 2023
After smoke from Canadian wildfires moved into the area last week, causing a Code Purple air-quality alert, it wasn’t clear if the 1928 Ford Tri-Motor would get to fly the Manassas skies.
“We need about five miles of visibility; right now we’ve got two, maybe. If it’s hard to see the tower across the field … probably shouldn’t fly,” Experimental Aircraft Association pilot John Maxfield told InsideNoVa June 8.
But overnight winds made for a clearer day June 9, and the local air space was prime for takeoffs.
“Yes yes yes, we are flying today!” said Mary Dominiak from local Experimental Aircraft Association, or EAA, Chapter 186.
This meant visitors to Manassas Regional Airport got an opportunity to fly in the museum piece that is a 1928 Ford Tri-Motor. Known as the “Tin Goose,” the aircraft helped launch commercial aviation as part of the first transcontinental airliner fleet.
Local EAA Chapter 186 hosted the Ohio-based Liberty Aviation Museum’s plane all weekend as part of the EAA outreach efforts to bring the “Spirit of Aviation” to the people.
“We’re here to get people flying. It’s our reason for being in the EAA,” said Dominiak.
Sebastian Sund, an 18-year-old pilot from the Fairfax area was among those contributing to the EAA with his ticket purchase, $85 for EAA members, $95 for non-members and $65 for those 17 and under. Sund got the upgraded second-pilot’s seat and a priceless opportunity to feel the controls of nearly century-old aircraft.
After landing, he was ecstatic.
“There is nothing like that,” Sund said.
The aspiring Boeing 777 pilot added, “This will be the coolest entry in my [pilot’s] log book ever … It’s heavy and, yeah, kind of flies a bit like a truck … you have to work it, but it’s got a grace. This thing is class of the air.”
Story credit: InsideNoVa