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Ford Trimotor and B-17 “Aluminum Overcast” rides at the Long Beach airport

by | Mar 9, 2017 | Historic Aircraft | 0 comments

Tin Goose

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.

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Trimotor and Indiana Jones

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”.

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Experimental Aircraft Association

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.

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Window seat for everybody

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.

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

Ford Trimotor 5-AT-B

B-17 Aluminum Overcast

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.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”

Become a bombardier for 30 minutes

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.

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress “Aluminum Overcast”

Keep them flying!

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

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About The Author

Igor K.

I am the founder and editor-in-chief of the AirMuseumGuide.com blog. Together with my son - hopefully a future aerospace engineer - we are trying to visit as many aviation and aerospace museums in the US as possible with the ultimate goal of visiting them all. We have been able to visit approximately 60 so far. We are hoping this site will help preserve aviation history and inspire young people to pursue a career in aerospace.

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