The Ford Trimotor, built by the Ford Company between 1925 and 1933, was America’s first successful luxury airliner with leather passenger seats, hardwood paneling and window curtains. Nicknamed the “Tin Goose” due to its all-metal construction, it was called by Henry Ford as “the safest airliner around” partially because of it.
The Trimotor was primarily designed to be a passenger plane, but was often converted for cargo transport. Harrison Ford fans will probably recall this plane from the opening scenes of the 1984 “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.
The plane visiting the Long Beach airport this past weekend is owned by the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, OH but is operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) under a lease agreement. It was built in 1928 as one of just 199 Trimotors assembled, and entered commercial air service the following year under the logo of Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT) which after a restoration, is once again visible on its corrugated fuselage.
During the visit you were able to take a trip back to the early days of aviation taking a short flight aboard the Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B around Signal Hill and the Port of Long Beach. Everybody had a window seat! The ticket price was $70 for adults and $50 if under 17.
The second EAA plane visiting Long Beach this weekend was a WWII era bomber, the Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”. The plane was built in the nearby Boeing facility in Burbank but was delivered too late to see any combat. Fortunately, it escaped the fate of many aircraft that were scrapped after the war and, after it was purchased from the military in 1946, the airplane has flown over 1 million miles as a cargo hauler, an aerial mapping platform, and in pest control and forest dusting applications.
The current “Aluminum Overcast” livery commemorates the 398th Bomb Group of World War II, which entered combat in 1944 and operated primarily against strategic objectives in Germany. For a cost of $475 (or $435 if EAA Members) you could become a bombardier, navigator or a waist gunner during approximately 30 minute flight in this iconic plane.
Please note that ticket sales from rides support the EAA, which is dedicated to building, flying, restoring, and preserving historic planes. EAA currently has over 200,000 members in more than 100 countries.
Read more about the Ford Trimotor: Ford Tri-Motor Tour
Read more about the B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”: B-17 Aluminum Overcast Tour