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Newton fly-in features trip back in time

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at 6:39 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, at 10:43 a.m.

1929 Ford Tri-Motor makes stop in Wichita

A 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, a pioneering commercial airplane, is in Wichita for two days selling rides to anyone wanting to experience the golden age of aviation. (Video by Travis Heying/The Wichita Eagle)

Ford Tri-Motor flights

Flights on the Ford Tri-Motor will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Jabara Airport and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Newton Airport.

The cost to fly is $70 for advance tickets, $75 for walk-ups and $50 for those 17 or younger.

To book a flight, call 800-843-3612.

Braving the cooler weather, aviation enthusiasts turned out for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Local Chapter 88 50th annual fly-in at the Newton City/County Airport on Saturday.

The goal is to bring aviation to the community and raise money for the chapter as it celebrates 50 years, said EAA Chapter 88 president Doug Range.

Ultralights, home-built airplanes, vintage planes and other aircraft were on display along the ramp.

Children could take free airplane rides offered as a way to spark enthusiasm for aviation, and they ran to pick up candy during a parachute candy drop from an airplane.

Pilots also participated in an afternoon spot-landing contest.

Anna and Brandon Walter from Newton brought their children, Rylee, 5, and Elijah, 3, to see all the aircraft on display.

“We enjoy the planes,” said Anna Walter. “It’s something you don’t do every day.”

Her father keeps his Piper Cherokee in a hangar at the Newton airport.

Mike Wolf, a design engineer at Cessna, was there to look over the variety of airplanes on display.

“It’s pretty exciting,” said Wolf, looking over a vintage 1946 Ercoupe. “I just love airplanes.”

The EAA was offering rides in its 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, the “Tin Goose,” the world’s first mass-produced airliner.

The historic plane was built by the Ford Motor Co. and holds up to 10 passengers. It underwent a 12-year restoration after it sustained damage during a thunderstorm in 1973.

The all-metal Tri-Motor in Newton is one of two touring Ford Tri-Motor airplanes, said its pilot Cody Welch before boarding the plane.

“We’re fortunate to get the one that can do co-pilot rides,” Welch said.

Besides taking passengers, pilots can pay to sit up front in the right seat next to Welch.

“It’s been a mad scramble for them” to take a turn, Welch said.

Family members took photos as passengers boarded the Tri-Motor for the trip back in time.

The plane flew the high and mighty of the 1920s. The passenger airliner led to the construction of the first airline terminal, the first hotel for air travelers and the first paved runways.

The EAA is offering rides from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. again on Sunday at the Newton Airport.

The cost to fly in the Ford Tri-Motor is $70 for advance tickets, $75 for walk-ups and $50 for those 17 or younger.

To pre-book a flight, call 800-843-3612.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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