Ride in a vintage Ford Tri-Motor at Ford Airport

Kent County

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A piece of aviation history is flying this weekend at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

The Ford Tri-Motor that will be in metro Grand Rapids this weekend is among about 200 that were built in Dearborn in the late 1920s and early ’30s. Among the first passenger airplanes in the United States, the Tri-Motor was the standard for air travel as it began.

“These Ford Tri-Motors did inaugurate transcontinental air transport service between New York and L.A., coast-to-coast, essentially,” Taylor Oliver, who pilots the plane, said. “In 1929, 1930, a ticket, a single-fare ticket cost $335. And that was really opulent, that was the lap of luxury, that was very expensive back in 1929, 1930.”

The one in Grand Rapids is one of the few still in existence.

“It’s really cool to be able to see what it was like and see where we are today,” Oliver continued. “It’s really efficient compared to what it was like and it also gives people an opportunity to come out and experience aviation for the first time in maybe a way that they haven’t before.”

The Experimental Aircraft Association will have the plane on display at Ford Airport and rides can be purchased through Sunday. You can book a flight online.

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