A 1929 Ford Tri-Motor airplane, which has been will be touring the country offering passengers a flight experience aboard the world's first mass-produced airliner, came to DeRidder yesterday.
Constructed in 1929, The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Ford Tri-Motor, or “Tin Goose,” had roles ranging from service as Cuban airliner to extensive background fighting forest fires while transporting smoke jumpers.
After a thunderstorm wreaked havoc on the airplane in 1973, EAA Founder Paul Poberezny purchased the aircraft, which then underwent a 12-year restoration and returned it to touring status.
Mike Tout, President of the Leesville Experimental Aircraft Association, Chapter 1356, said an experimental aircraft is defined as being home built or constructed using a kit.
EAA’s Tri-Motor, however, is not considered to be an experimental aircraft due to the fact that it was mass produced by Ford Motor Company.
The aircraft can carry up to nine passengers at a time, and every seat has a window.
Volunteer pilot Cody Welch is in his 26th year flying the “Tin Goose.” He explained the plane’s corrugated outer surface was originally invented by German aircraft engineer Hugo Junkers.
Corrugating the aluminum alloy exterior added stiffness but resulted in drag which resulted its overall performance. “It was cost and labor prohibitive,” Welch said.
EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor has also made a celebrity appearance in two major movies—1960’s “Family Jewels” starring Jerry Lewis and 2009’s “Public Enemies” starring Johnny Depp.
“The EAA Tri-Motor is a living history museum,” Welch said.
The “Tin Goose” will be available through Sunday, May 6 at the Beauregard Parish Airport. Flight reservations can be made at flytheford.org or by calling 800-843-3612.
Tickets purchased in advance are $70 for adults. Walk-up tickets are $75 and $50 for children 17 years old and under.