A Beautiful Sunday and A Beautiful Ford

July 20, 2017
A Ford with corrugated aluminum skin, three radial engines, and a tailwheel.

Last Sunday morning while sipping my first cup of coffee I decided to go to Stanton Airfield to fly one of the Cubs. It was going to be a beautiful day for flying and just hanging around at the local airport.

I then remembered there was a Ford Tri-Motor in the area giving rides and today was the last day. I quickly changed plans and jumped in the car for the one-hour drive to Rochester, MN.

The Ford Tri-Motor is one of those iconic airplanes that many people have seen or read about but less get the full experience. I’ve seen them at airshows, been in one on the ground, but never flew in one. That was going to finally change. It was not only going to be a beautiful day for flying but also a special day for flying.

NC9645, a 1928 5-AT-B Ford Tri-Motor owned by The Liberty Aviation Museum of Port Clinton, OH, made a stop at the Rochester airport last weekend on its way to Oshkosh, WI, as part of the EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor Tour.

Dave and Patti Ross were the caretakers of NC9645 that day. Patti kept busy checking-in the passengers and coordinating the rides while Dave was at the controls of the Ford. The Rochester EAA Chapter, Civil Air Patrol group, a local flying club, as well as many others all volunteered their time to brief passengers, talk aviation, show people a few airplanes and a Model A Ford car on display, and primarily have a fun Ford Flying weekend. 

When it was my turn I belted into the cockpit’s right-seat so I could get the full experience; old-style manual switches and controls, the round wooden control yokes, open side-windows, and of course the beautiful sound that comes from the three radial engines. Before we knew it the throttles were advanced, the tail was up, and we were flying. For me the experience was…well let’s just say it was long overdue. 

I was encouraged by the number of non-aviation people that came to see the Ford. Many families with young children spent their Sunday at the local airport taking a ride in the Tri-Motor. 

Thanks Patti and Dave, Liberty Aviation Museum, EAA, and all the volunteers at Rochester who created a very special Sunday for lots of people.

NC9645 will be giving rides July 24th to the 30th at the 2017 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.